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SF issues violation notice for ‘millennial commune’ near Alamo Square

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A group home dubbed a “millennial commune” at 860 Fell St. has been issued a notice of enforcement by the Planning Department for operating without a proper permit. (Courtesy Chateau Ubuntu)

A community home that caters to millennials and keeps a tally of weekly hugs was told Tuesday by the Planning Department that it is operating illegally and must obtain the proper permit, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The self-named Chateau Ubuntu, dubbed a “millennial commune” in previous news reports, is located at 860 Fell St. and is considered a three-family dwelling by the Planning Department.

The three units — two dwellings on the Fell Street side, and one in the rear — must be occupied by families with no more than three roomers or boarders, or a group of no more than five unrelated people, according to the Planning Department. But Chateau Ubuntu apparently houses many more residents than that.

In July 2016, Curbed SF reported the home was occupied by 38 people, some of whom shared a room with up to five others.

“We’re a community of folks from all walks of life, who believe in a lifestyle grounded in sharing and common values,” Chateau Ubuntu’s website reads. “We host food and music gatherings, explore the vast and beautiful terrain of the Bay Area and beyond, and work together on all sorts of community projects. And we do it all from a French Victorian Mansion in the heart of San Francisco.”

The website defines its name, Ubuntu, as “a quality that includes the essential human virtues: compassion and humanity.”

City planners visited the site on Oct. 11, 2016, after receiving a complaint of a possible Planning Code violation. In its notice of enforcement issued Tuesday, the department wrote the home is located in a zoning district that allows group housing but such a change needs to be filed with The City.

“The Planning Department requires that you immediately proceed to abate the violation by restoring the subject property to its authorized use as three dwelling units, each occupied by an individual family,” the enforcement notice reads. “If you wish to legalize the use of the subject property as a Group Housing site, a Building Permit Application must be filed for the change of use.”

In addition to the weekly tally of hugs, the home’s website also keeps track of how many eggs are eaten each week and how many chandeliers hang in the house.

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