Since 2018, Hiten Madhani has been trying to expand his modest Bernal Heights home to make more room for his aging parents and his wife and daughter. But six years in, he’s spent $70,000 on the proposed remodel and still doesn’t have the permits he needs.
In most other cities, his remodel would have been straightforward. His architect came up with plans that met the city’s many requirements. But in San Francisco, the project’s permitting process took so long that it stretched Madhani’s patience and finances past their limits. His story shows how the city’s Byzantine permitting process can turn a simple project into a multi-year, “heartburn”-inducing ordeal.