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More violations found in Academy of Art buildings

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S.F. Examiner file photo

The process of determining how to bring all 40 buildings in San Francisco owned by the Academy of Art University into code compliance has revealed even more are operating illegally.

The Planning Commission on Thursday is slated to receive an update on the status of enforcement for the academy’s buildings that have flouted San Francisco’s planning and permit laws for years.

The violations, noted for years by city officials, triggered the academy to begin developing an institutional master plan in 2011. The final environmental impact report for that plan is due to go before the Planning Commission in July.

Still, city planners are continuing to uncover various abuses to the planning code.

Previously, nine properties owned by the academy were found to be operating “in a manner not allowed under the planning code”; nine properties required a conditional use authorization; eight properties required a building permit; four properties required a historic preservation review; and 10 were believed to be operating within the law, according to a staff memo dated Oct. 1, 2015.

Under further review, city planners determined only seven buildings were operating legally and need no additional action once the final EIR is certified.

City officials have lamented the purported lack of enforcement at academy buildings for years.

In 2014, City Attorney Dennis Herrera sent a letter to the Planning Department calling for planners to hold the academy accountable for its repeated violations, the San Francisco Examiner previously reported.

And earlier this year, Supervisor Aaron Peskin urged the Planning Department to issue a new round of notices of violation to the university to bring itinto compliance with local laws, the Examiner reported in January.

The Planning Commission is not expected to take any action on the academy Thursday.

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  • Quick Chop

    Academy of Art “University” is nothing but a real estate development corporation disguised as an art school.

    Time to shut this place down!

  • old timer in SF

    non-profit, so the city does not receive any income? AAU pays no property taxes?

  • Randy F.

    Diploma mill….

  • Reviled Preference

    they are a for-profit school, and shouldn’t be receiving any property tax exemptions.

  • e2verne

    I am amazed! San Francisco was chasing AAU for these violations 20 years ago – nothing happened then, nothing will happen now. Yes, the school is an overpriced diploma mill, and absolutely SF should be receiving taxes, but they are also the nexus for hundreds of thousands of students who come with their money to rent apartments, buy food and stuff and generally spread their dollars around the city. Someone needs to check that contract AAU signed with SF way back when we thought AAU was a real college, you will probably find AAU is not liable for any of these “infractions”, that AAU has no tax obligation and is not likely to ever have one, and it will probably cost SF for the code repairs.