Cars to Casas Nearing Adoption


Approximately a year ago we reported on Mayor London Breed’s introduction of the “Cars to Casas” legislation which proposed to make it easier to build housing on existing parking lots, gas stations and properties improved with certain other automotive uses.  The legislation has now been rebranded as “Automotive Uses to Housing Uses” and made significant progress in the last two weeks with a positive recommendation from the Land Use and Transportation Committee on Monday, December 5th, and unanimous votes at the full Board of Supervisors on first reading on Tuesday, December 6th and on second and final reading on Tuesday, December 13th.  The legislation will be forwarded next to the Mayor for her signature, and if signed, will become effective 30 days thereafter.

The legislation has been pending since October 2021, in part due to the Land Use and Transportation Committee’s request for an economic analysis.  If adopted, the legislation will eliminate a conditional use authorization requirement that currently applies to conversion of existing gas station uses, and would create an exception to the permitted residential density at eligible sites.  Sites that are eligible under the legislation are those that are currently used for auto-oriented uses, allow residential uses as a principally permitted use but do not currently contain any residential uses, and have not had a Legacy Business on the site within four years prior to the application submittal date.

As proposed, including amendments by the Land Use and Transportation Committee, the legislation will not apply to any properties that are zoned for the RM (Residential-Mixed) or RC (Residential-Commercial) district, or to properties that are located in a historic district.

The permitted residential density for RH (Residential-House) districts is up to four units per lot, and for all other eligible sites density is unlimited provided the project complies with applicable height, bulk, setback and other Planning Code requirements.  That said, eligible sites can also utilize the state density bonus program, which can allow waivers and concessions from otherwise applicable Planning Code requirements.

The legislation is one example of efforts by Mayor Breed and the City to make it easier to build more housing and to get entitlements and permits for development proposals, and as such, a welcome proposal.  If the legislation is signed by the Mayor in the next 10 days, it will become effective in approximately mid-January 2023.


Authored by Reuben, Junius & Rose, LLP Attorney Tuija Catalano.

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.