City of San Francisco Upset Over Harmless Sidewalk Garden

Apparently a “hater” that is down on flowers and spraypaint koi fish complained about the sidewalk garden at Sanchez and 16th and now the city is demanding the house remove the flowers:

The garden, which is also home to everyone's favorite wish list to Santa, isn't blocking sidewalk access to wheelchairs, so I'm not quite sure what the city's real motivation here is (other than appeasing a random hater).  Worst of all, a neighbor claims that the potted plants six doors up (seen in the first picture) received no such warning.

If you're interested in fighting floral injustice, there is a petition hanging on the garage door at 262 Sanchez or you can email/call Alex Hong, the building inspector who issued the warning, at 415-554-5856 /

Comments (17)

I wrote a nice polite email to Alex in support of the garden! I hope everyone else does too.

What about the house on 16th, between Market & Castro? There are a legion of people trying to beautify bland sidewalks.

I recently found out that in SF it’s the home owners responsibility to maintain the tree wells on the sidewalk outside your property, including trimming, replacement, etc. Seems like you could use that to your advantage. Definitely talk to FuF. They are great.

I would wager the thing just got too cluttered and took up too much space. The city notices things like that. Unless its a cluttered mad man taking up too much space while crapping on your street garden.

Weak. Unless it’s causing some kind of hazard that isn’t mentioned, the city needs to lighten up.

It does look a bit tatty in the pic, though the coi fish are very cute. Is these people could somehow get permission to build a permanent little garden by digging up part of the sidewalk it could be really lovely. Anyway, whoever complained about some potted plants clearly not a hazard or blocking anything is just an a-hole. Why is the city catering to such jerks?

It looks like a plant dump site. This is probably why there is a complaint. Make it look nicer and the hater probably wouldn’t complain.

I’m on the “it’s ugly” side (though I wouldn’t have gone to the city over it). It just looks like a jumble and nobody should be surprised it wound up a NIMBY-magnet. Beyond that, saying the city is going to “put a lien on my home” seems a bit hysterical.

But come on people, this is the Castro. They can “lovely garden” better than that.

Yes, I am on the “it’s ugly” camp. It looks cluttered and messy. What if everyone dumped their old potted plants on the sidewalk? We’d have a mess. Yes, homeowners are responsible for maintianing the sidewalks and trees. The sidewalks must be clean and free of cracks, and the tress must be well maintained. Sorry not to be a wet blanket! But this is all pretty standard for cities across the country.

So what if you think it’s ugly? It’s not up to you to make that call.

I’m curious what the full story is. I’ve vigorously protested this or that a few times over the years only to find out that I wasn’t given all the information and I felt like a chump. Until I know all the facts about this situation, I can’t protest.

just emailed alex, too.

plants are well kept and attractive. let them know it contributes positively to quality of life in neighborhood and sf!

Probably pissed-off a car-parker who wanted to use the curbside doors. Or a garbage collector.

I think this is the same asswipe city employee who tagged my house on Linda Street some years back with a notice for essentially the same thing. God forbid anyone should go the extra mile to make the sidewalks beautiful in the city the talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. I fought back right up to the Mayor’s office, Gavin even sending me a personal letter giving me the same shit about ADA access, you know, the usual bureacratic rant that cowardly politicians hide behind.