Kim Introduces November Ballot Measure to Protect Existing PDR Space

​One of the significant land use policy shifts underway in San Francisco is regulation of Production, Distribution, and Repair (PDR) uses. PDR includes industrial and agricultural uses, ambulance services, animal hospital, automotive service station and automotive repair, wash and towing, arts activities, business services, cat boarding and kennels, catering service, commercial storage, livery stable, parcel delivery service, public utilities yard, storage yard, trade office, trade shop, and wholesale sales and storage uses. PDR uses can be found in many zoning districts, and are distinguished from PDR Zoning, which is a zoning category applying to a property as a whole that imposes a number of zoning regulations.

PDR regulation has been a major issue in the Mission Action Plan (MAP) 2020 process underway at Planning, which is expected to result in legislation establishing additional zoning controls related to affordable housing and PDR in the Mission in the next few years. Currently, the Mission Interim Controls apply to require project sponsors to provide information regarding elimination of PDR uses, but do not prohibit such elimination.

Despite the continuing policy discussion at the Planning Department and Commission, on June 14, Supervisor Jane Kim introduced a ballot initiative for the November election that would require conditional use approval for conversion of a PDR use. It would also require conditional use approval for conversion of an Institutional Community Use, which includes uses such as child care facilities, community and philanthropic services and religious institutions, and conversion of Arts Activity Use, which includes a range of arts uses. Between these three categories, a broad range of industrial, community and arts uses would be covered. 

The new regulation would require replacement of the displaced use on the same property or in the same plan area. In the SALI, PDR, C-3-G or M zoning districts, 100% replacement of the existing PDR, Institutional Community Use, or Arts Activity Use to be converted or demolished would be required. In the UMU, MUO, MUG and MUR zoning districts, 75% replacement of the existing PDR, Institutional Community Use, or Arts Activity Use to be converted or demolished would be required.  For all other zoning districts where PDR, Institutional Community Use, or Arts Activity Uses are permitted, 25% replacement of such uses to be converted or demolish would be required. 

Parcels zoned C-3-O or R, under the jurisdiction of the Port of San Francisco, or in Special Use Districts and Redevelopment Plan Areas would be exempt. In addition, the amount of replacement space could be reduced by required building entrances, maintenance, mechanical and utilities facilities, on-site open space, and bicycle facilities, but not by space used for non-car-share parking. Finally, as part of the conditional use process, the Planning Commission would have to consider the suitability of the replacement space for the use proposed for conversion. Projects that received final Planning Commission approval by June 14, 2016 would be grandfathered, but all projects in the pipeline would be subject to the requirements.

We will follow the legislative process as it unfolds this summer and fall. In the meantime, there has been increased pressure on developers to include PDR, community and arts space in buildings that historically have housed those uses. Therefore, whatever the specific zoning controls put in place, we are likely to see more projects that include a mix of residential, retail and PDR uses. 

The issues discussed in this update are not intended to be legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is established with the recipient.  Readers should consult with legal counsel before relying on any of the information contained herein.  Reuben, Junius & Rose, LLP is a full service real estate law firm.  We specialize in land use, development and entitlement law. We also provide a wide range of transactional services, including leasing, acquisitions and sales, formation of limited liability companies and other entities, lending/workout assistance, subdivision and condominium work.