Head West Market Seeks 4th Date

permit renewal update

A neighborhood stakeholder meeting was convened to discuss the Head West October (4th) date and future permitting. This meeting was called and led by Marianne Thompson from the Office of Small Business.

ISCOTT has put the Head West October date on hold; the permit was not approved at the April 11th hearing.

Back in February (see our update below) we reported that Head West was granted three Sunday dates in light of having received numerous letters in opposition. Suffice it to say after following and participating in the permit approval process we see there is zero good faith being put forward by SFMTA. We continue to question why this out of county for profit company is getting carte blanche to operate its events in Hayes Valley. This is all becoming increasingly suspect.

Head West is now seeking an approval for its 4th event this year for Saturday October 12th (7am – 7pm). SFMTA indicated that Head West is taking advantage of the street closure and has received “permission” by the closed street permit holder (HVNA/HVMA/C); we perceive the suggested precedent that the permit holder can grant permission to event hosts as an end run to inclusively cooperating with other Hayes Valley community stakeholders/members. As previously outlined, Head West has demonstrated a level of arrogance by not doing any outreach of its intent with HVSafe or the Hayes Valley Small Business Association (HVSBA). Furthermore, we find it troublesome that at the February hearing Head West cited not wanting to do the event on Saturdays “because of the increased financial burden on merchants” – we wholeheartedly agree and are in dismay to find ourselves opposing another effort to increase this event’s frequency. Meanwhile, once again Head West is exhibiting certitude by promoting the October event in advance of receiving permit approval.

Our position and argument remains the same (read our original post). We ask that this permit be denied. We need your support to highlight this rigged permit process. Please take a moment to send an email now.


Deadline for comment submissions directed to ISCOTT/SFMTA: Wednesday April 10 at noon PST

Hearing date and time: April 11th at 9am. This matter is item U on the agenda. We encourage you to attend the meeting if you can.

At the ISCOTT Hearing on February 22 Head West received approval for 3 Sunday dates.

Some takeaways from the hearing and ISCOTT process:

  • Last June we asked ISCOTT/Commissioner Bryant Woo: “We know feedback is allowed via email and public comment at the meeting — we don’t know what weight one has over the other, etc.”  His response: “all feedback (e-mail, verbal at the meeting, etc.) is considered and one form does not have weight over another.” There’s a red flag here since 18 letters in opposition were received and not one letter in support.
  • The ISCOTT committee approving these permits does not have a representative fielding or voicing concerns of our small businesses in Hayes Valley. Another red flag.
  • Lloyd Silverstein is once again misrepresenting his status in the community.
  • Jimmy/Head West stated he did not want to do Saturday instead of Sunday because of the increased financial burden on merchants which is an outright admission that this event is not beneficial for our small business operators.

February 19, 2024

Head West Market Seeks 4 Event Dates in 2024

(previously aka: Urban Air)

RE: Southern California based Head West Market promotes 4 Hayes Valley Dates pre permit approval. The For Profit Event Company continues to demonstrate an inability to be a good neighborhood partner.

Dear Neighbors:

An SFMTA ISCOTT hearing is slated for this Thursday February 22nd at 9 am for a proposed Head West event venue permit approval; if approved this event will occur 4 times this year in Hayes Valley.

Last year we reported issues with the permit process and the event host’s lack of communications and inclusiveness in consulting with HVSafe and the Hayes Valley Small Business Association (HVSBA) on its intent or planning efforts. This year Head West’s attitude and approach on the matter is even more brazen; see recent communications with the owner.

We view the sanctioned promotion of outside retail vendors as a direct threat on our small business operators. This event is run by a for profit business at our neighborhood expense. The appeal of our business corridor is a direct result of long time investments by those that have fostered their business in Hayes Valley. This in our opinion is being trampled on by both the event host and SFMTA/ISCOTT. Each time this event occurs it results in direct financial loss to businesses in Hayes Valley.

We also reached out to Nick Chapman SFMTA’s Special Events Manager for more insight. Nick’s been great and the most insightful in helping us understand the permitting process. Critical questions we posed his way recently include:

We are tiring of having to revisit this matter each year with the same detrimental results. Help us demand answers to why SFMTA stands by and allows this harm to be inflicted on our locally owned and operated businesses!

We encourage you to send a letter of support of our position on this matter.

You can also voice your position via public comment at Thursday’s hearing.

Our Position:

  • Process: considering the repeated opposition to this event year after year – the process being applied for this permit approval is apalling to say the least! We want to know who and what is being considered. Additionally, information being submitted by applicant to ISCOTT/SFMTA is not accurate (see highlighted items).
  • Negative Financial Impact on Small Business: this event programming negatively impacts our small business operators. The $1500.00 permit fee the City is charging the event host pales in comparison to the lost revenue our small business operators are subjected to.
  • Event Frequency: the business community received reassurance in recent years that this event would take place only 2x a year. The event host has broken that commitment. A greater frequency of this event will also impact residential neighbors on several fronts including traffic and parking. We demand this event be limited to 2 dates a year with a condition that Head West be required to be a good partner with HVSafe and HVSBA.
  • Event Schedule: The proposed schedule of four Sunday closures in addition to the ongoing Saturday closure already taking place on Hayes Street represents 25% of our weekends. Weekends generate the greatest volume of business during any given week. The permit holder for the Shared Street Closure is already struggling to maintain activation on the block per the conditions of the permit; we’ve received a lot of input on the idea to have Head West move the event date from Sundays to Saturdays. Considering the ongoing controversy involving an effort to permanently close Hayes Street– the maneuver to close the street on Sundays exclusively for this event is creating a hostile perception in our community. This is neither fair or constructive.
  • Hayes Valley Location: in light of all the meetings, discussions, emails expressing our distaste with Head West we don’t understand why the City isn’t redirecting this type of activity toward venues that are in more dire need of “activation”.

We will continue to monitor and share any activity regarding this matter here.