The Case of the Public Pissoir

By: Michael M. Berger
– Daily Journal

“I am going to skip our usual examination of the most recent regulatory takings cases because there is a fascinating land use case that comes to us from San Francisco. The French have added many things to our culture over the years, but this—at least as to its appearance in an appellate opinion—is a new one in this country. It is actually a pretty self-descriptive term that most people could probably figure out without the need for a dictionary: pissoir, i.e., someplace to urinate. Unfortunately, the court declined to order the opinion published. See Chinese Gospel Church v. City & County of San Francisco, A150092 (Cal. App. 1st Dist., Jan. 3, 2019). The complaint described this contrivance as “a three-inch hole in the center of a three-foot diameter concrete base for public urination,” installed in Mission Delores Park.


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