Legislation to Overhaul Residential Building & Zoning Standards

  • On June 29th, the San Francisco Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of Mayor Breed’s proposed legislation titled “Housing Production” (BOS File No. 23-0446).  The legislation amends the Planning Code to encourage housing production by focusing on the controls that mainly apply to Residential and Neighborhood-Commercial Districts.  This legislation is proposing significant and far-reaching changes that will greatly change how residential projects are developed, for the better.

First, the legislation proposes to reduce the number and type of projects that require Planning Commission hearings.  The major changes are below:

Eliminate Conditional Use Authorization (“CUA”) / Planning Commission Hearing / Neighbor Notice

The legislation also proposes to modify some of the more basic building standards that apply to most properties in the city: setbacks, open space, and lot area requirements.  If passed, these changes would be the most radical to residential projects in decades.  A summary of the significant changes are below.

Required Rear Yard (Section 134)

Lot Size (Section 121, 121.1)

Front Yard/Setback (Section 132)

Usable Open Space (Section 135)

There are several other changes proposed, but the above are the most far-reaching.  The legislation is currently awaiting a hearing at the Land Use & Transportation Committee, which may happen once the Board of Supervisors returns from their summer recess.  As with any legislation, changes may occur before it is finally passed, but it is expected to pass largely as-is.

Reuben, Junius, & Rose, LLP will continue to monitor this legislation and provide an update once passed.


Authored by Reuben, Junius & Rose, LLP Partner Tara Sullivan.

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.