San Francisco officials want medallion removed from Russian Hill home 

A medallion installed on the front of a Russian Hill home has made a prominent couple the target of city planning police.

The eye-catching emblem, technically called a cartouche, also caught the attention of city officials, who threatened Michael and Marilyn Cabak with a daily $250 fine if they don’t remove it.

“This is heartbreaking, when I work five days a week to make this city a better place and someone wants to come and destroy the whole front of my home,” Marilyn Cabak said during a recent public hearing about The City’s historic planning regulations.

The department sent the couple a violation notice in January, after someone complained. They were cited for altering their home on the 1700 block of Jones Street without completing an environmental and historical review.

“We believe that the department is incorrect and is overreaching,” their attorney, David Silverman, wrote. He said it was an example of “the department’s pursuit of so-called ‘preservation’ at the expense of innocent, tax-paying citizens.”

Marilyn said she devotes her life to The City, and hosts charity events at her  home. “Every time I walk out of our garage I am told how beautiful our home is,” she said at the hearing.  “Tourists stop and take pictures of our home all the time.”

Her husband said he had probably spent $10,000 so far on the dispute. But the battle may soon be over.

Supervisor Scott Wiener has introduced legislation that would let property owners install a cartouche without obtaining a permit.

“For something like that, The City should not be dictating whether people put decorative medallions on the side of their home,” he said.

Relief in sight

Supervisor Scott Wiener has introduced legislation to allow property owners to install cartouches without having to obtain a permit.

Current law: Imposes $250 daily penalty for nonpermitted installation of a cartouche
Proposed law: Exempts “painting, papering, cartouches, and similar finish work” from permit requirements

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