Store Size Cap – San Francisco, CA

Date: 14 May 2009 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

To maintain a diversity of small-scale, neighborhood-serving businesses, San Francisco prohibits stores over 4,000 square feet in several of its neighborhood commercial districts. 

Below is an example of the size restrictions adopted in the North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District.  For more examples, see Article 7 of San Francisco’s Planning Code.  

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[Zoning – North Beach NCD] AMENDlNG PART II, CHAPTER II OF THE SAN FRANClSCO MUNlClPAL CODE (PLANNING CODE) BY AMENDlNG SECTlONS 178 AND 186.1 TO REQUlRE USES THAT EXCEED SPEClFlED USE SlZE PROVlSlONS IN THE NORTH BEACH NElGHBORHOOD COMMERClAL DlSTRlCT TO OBTAlN CONDlTlONAL USE AUTHORlZATlON PRlOR TO A CHANGE IN USE AND 10 REDUCE THE PERlOD OF ABANDONMENT FOR CONDlTlONAL AND NONCONFORMlNG USES IN THlS DlSTRlCT FROM THREE (3) i YEARS TO 18 (EIGHTEEN) MONTHS; BY AMENDlNG SECTlON 121.2 TO REDUCE THE SlZE LlMlT OF NONRESlDENTlAL USES LOCATED IN THlS DlSTRlCT TO TWO THoUsAND (2000) SQUARE FEET FOR CONDlTlONAL USE AUTHORlZATlON AND FOUR THOUSAND (4000) SQUARE FEET FOR THE MAXlMUM SIZE; AND BY AMENDlNG SECTlON 722.21 IN THE NORTH BEACH NElGHBORHOOD COMMERClAL DlSTRlCT ZONlNG CONTROL TABLE TO REFLECT THE USE SlZE MODIFICATIONS.

Note: Additions are underlined; deletions are in ((double parentheses))

Be it ordained by the People of the City and County of San Francisco:

Section l. (a) General Findings.

(l) In response to San Francisco residents’ and merchants’ concerns, including increased traffic congestion, proliferation of food service uses, the loss of neighborhood-oriented businesses and changes in the local neighborhood character, the City and County of San Francisco created Neighborhood Commercial lndividual Area Districts (NCDs) in 1987. These NCDs were established in many San Francisco neighborhoods, including North Beach. Descriptions of these NCDs and the zoning that applies within their boundaries are set forth in Article 7 of the San Francisco Municipal Code, Part II, Chapter II (Planning Code).

(2) The North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District (North Beach NCD), as defined in Planning Code Section 722, is a neighborhood-serving marketplace, citywide specialty shopping, and dining district, as well as a tourist attraction. The intent of zoning controls in the North Beach NCD is to maintain the existing scale of development, promote a balanced mix of retail sales and services and restaurants, preserve the existing equilibrium of neighborhood-serving, citywide specialty shopping, and dining uses.

(3) The North Beach NCD has traditionally fostered small and locally owned business enterprises and entreprenuership providing local employment opportunities and revenue expansion. The North Beach NCD also is identified by numerous one-of-a-kind businesses in small-scale storefronts, which reflect the surrounding neighborhood’s ethnic and lifestyle characteristics, building scale, architectural style, and historical development.

(4) Because of the North Beach NCD’s unique character, this District is renowned throughout the United States and the world, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco, thereby contributing to the economic benefits of the City’s visitor trade.

(5) Since the adoption of the North Beach NCD, the consolidation of many of the traditional small-scale storefronts has detracted from the visual and historic old-world character of the District. Currently, the unique character of this District is further threatened by proposed large scale uses that are incompatible in size and scale with the neighborhood and would irreversibly alter the old-world character of the District. These proposed uses also would adversely impact the existing small-scale businesses located in the District.

(6) Residents, merchants, and neighborhood associations have expressed concern that the current zoning controls in the North Beach NCD are inadequate to: (i) control the size and scale of commercial uses; (ii) prevent further interior use size expansions and storefront consolidations; (iii) encourage the restoration of the original small scale storefronts that previously had been consolidated; and (iv) protect against adverse changes to the unique physical characteristics of the neighborhood, including building and architectural style.

(7) In order to encourage and promote a return to conforming uses and use sizes, and thereby enhance the likelihood that original small-scale storefronts will be restored, the Planning Commission should undertake a conditional use authorization process as set forth in Article 3 when there is a proposed change of use to a use that exceeds the square footage thresholds and limitations proposed for the North Beach NCD. In addition, to fulfill these goals, the period of abandonment for conditional and nonconforming uses requires " a reduction in the circumscribed time period.

(8) In order to address the concerns stated above, preserve the neighborhood character of the North Beach NCD, and maintain the livability of this District and its adjacent residential areas, the commercial use sizes in the North Beach NCD require additional regulation.

(b) Priority Policy Findings. Pursuant to Section 101.1 of the Planning Code, the Board of Supervisors makes the following findings:

(1) The proposed legislation is consistent with Priority Policy 1 in that it will create greater regulatory control over the size of nonresidential uses within the North Beach NCD, and therefore, preserve and enhance the existing neighborhood-serving uses and enhance future opportunities for resident employment and the ownership of other neighborhood-serving business.

(2) The proposed legislation is consistent with Priority Policy 2 in that it has no adverse effect on existing housing and will help to preserve the character of the neighborhood.

(3) The proposed legislation is consistent with Priority Policy 3 in that it has no effect on the City’s current or future supply of affordable housing.

(4) The proposed legislation is consistent with Priority Policy 4 in that it has no negative impact on commuter traffic or neighborhood parking.

(5) The proposed legislation is consistent with Priority Policy 5 in that it does not involve commercial office development, which may displace any industrial or service sector employment, and will enhance the viability of existing neighborhood-serving establishments, thereby enhancing future opportunities for resident employment and ownership.

(6) The proposed legislation is consistent with Priority Policy 6 in that it E will not adversely affect the City’s ability to achieve earthquake preparedness to protect against injury and loss of life in an earthquake.

(7) The proposed legislation is consistent with Priority Policy 7 in that it will not affect any landmarks or historic buildings.

(8) The proposed legislation is consistent with Priority Policy 8 in that it has no effect on parks and open space and their access to sunlight and vistas.

Section 2. Part II, Chapter II of the San Francisco Municipal Code (Planning Code) is hereby amended by amending Section 178, to read as follows:

SEC. 178. CONDlTlONAL USES. The following provisions shall apply to conditional USES:

(a) Definition. For the purposes of this Section, a permitted conditional use shall refer to:

(1) Any use or feature authorized as a conditional use pursuant to Article 3 of this Code, provided that such use or feature was established within the time limits specified as a condition of authorization or, if no time limit was specified, within a reasonable time from the date of authorization; or

(2) Any use or feature which is classified as a conditional use in the district in which it is located and which lawfully existed either on the effective date of this Code, or on the effective date of any amendment imposing new conditional use requirements upon such use or feature; or

(3) Any use deemed to be a permitted conditional use pursuant to Section 179 of this Code.

(b) Continuation. Except as provided for temporary uses in Section 205 of this Code, and except where time limits are otherwise specified as a condition of authorization, any permitted conditional use may continue in the form in which it was authorized, or in the form in which it lawfully existed either on the effective date of this Code or the effective date o any amendment imposing new conditional use requirements upon such use or feature, unless otherwise provided in this Section or in Article 2 of this Code.

(c) Enlargements or Alteration. A permitted conditional use may not be significantly altered, enlarged, or intensified, except upon approval of a new conditional use application pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code.

(d) Abandonment. A permitted conditional use which is discontinued for a period of three years, or otherwise abandoned, shall not be restored, except upon approval of a new conditional use application pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code. For purposes~ of this Subsection, the ~period of nonuse for a Permitted conditional use to be_deemed discontinued in the North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District shall be eighteen_ (18) months.

(e) Changes in Use. The following provisions shall apply to permitted conditional uses with respect to changes in use:

(1) A permitted conditional use may be changed to another use listed in Articles 2, 7 or 8 of this Code as a principal use for the district in which it is located and the new use may thereafter be continued as a permitted principal use.

(2) A permitted conditional use may be changed to another use listed in Articles 2, 7 or 8 of this Code as a conditional use for the district in which the property is located, subject to the other applicable provisions of this Code, only upon approval of a new conditional use application, pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code.

(3) A permitted conditional use may not be changed to another use not permitted or prohibited by Articles 2, 7 or 8 of this Code. If a permitted conditional use has been wrongfully changed to another use in L~violation of the foregoing provisions and the violation is not immediately corrected when required by the Zoning Administrator, the wrongful . change shall be deemed to be a discontinuance or abandonment of the permitted conditional

(4) Once a permitted conditional use has been changed to a principal use permitted in the district in which the property is located, or brought closer in any other manner to conformity with the use limitations of this Code, the use of the property may not thereafter be returned to its former permitted conditional use status, except upon approval of a new conditional use application pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code.

(5) In the North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District, any use that exceeds_ the use size Provisions of Section 121.2(a) or_121.2(b) may be changed to a new use only upon_n app_approval of a new conditional use application The Commission’s a~approval of such conditional use application shall explicitly address the use size findings~ of Section 303(c).

(f) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this Section 178, a structure occupied by a permitted conditional use that is damaged or destroyed by fire, or other calamity, or by Act of God, or by the public enemy, may be restored to its former condition and use without the approval of a new conditional use application, provided that such restoration is permitted by the Building Code, and is started within one year and diligently pursued to completion. Except as provided in Subsection (g) below, no structure occupied by a permitted conditional use that is voluntarily razed or required by law to be razed by the owner thereof may thereafter be restored except upon approval of a new conditional use application pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code.

(g) None of the provisions of this Section 178 shall be construed to prevent any measures of construction, alteration or demolition necessary to correct the unsafe or dangerous condition of any structure, other feature, or part thereof, where such condition has been declared unsafe or dangerous by the Superintendent of the Bureau of Building inspection or the Chief of the Bureau of Fire Prevention and Public Safety, and where the proposed measures have been declared necessary, by such official, to correct the said condition; provided, however, that only such work as is absolutely necessary to correct the unsafe or dangerous condition may be performed pursuant to this Section.

Section 3. Part II, Chapter II of the San Francisco Municipal Code (Planning Code) is hereby amended by amending Section 186.1, to read as follows:

SEC. 186.1. EXEMPTlON OF NONCONFORMlNG USES IN NElGHBORHOOD COMMERClAL DISTRICTS.

The purpose of this Section is to provide for the further continuance in NC Districts of nonconforming uses created by adoption of Ordinance No. 6987, as herein described, and subsequent ordinances that change the uses allowed in NC Districts, which are beneficial to, or can be accommodated within the neighborhood commercial areas in which they are located.

It is hereby found and declared that certain uses which traditionally have been permitted to locate in neighborhood commercial areas can be beneficial to a neighborhood commercial area in small or limited numbers, but which if allowed to proliferate, can disrupt the balanced mix of neighborhood-serving retail stores and services. It is further found and declared that in order to prevent undesirable overconcentrations of such uses, the establishment of additional such uses shall be prohibited pursuant to controls governing uses in NC Districts. At the same time, however, it is desirable to provide for the further continuance, expansion, enlargement, alteration, changes, discontinuance, and relocation of = such existing uses, which are nonconforming as a result of zoning controls governing uses in ~ NC Districts.

The following provisions shall govern with respect to nonconforming uses and features located in Neighborhood Commercial Districts to the extent that there is a conflict between the~; provisions of this Section and other Sections contained in this Article 1.7. m

(a) Expansion. A nonconforming use may expand in floor area as provided in Subsection (b) below, but may not expand beyond the lot which it occupies, nor may the boundaries of such lot be expanded for purposes of expanding the use; nor may the use expand upward above the story or stories w;which it lawfully occupies, except as provided in Section 186.2 below.

(b) Enlargements or Alteration. A nonconforming use may not be significantly altered, enlarged or intensified, except upon approval of a conditional use application pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code, provided that the use not have or result in a greater height, bulk or floor area ratio, less required rear yard or open space, or less required off-street parking space or loading space than permissible under the limitations set forth in this Code for the district or districts in which such use is located. No existing use or structure which fails to meet the requirements of this Code in any manner as described above in this Subsection (b) shall be constructed, reconstructed, enlarged, altered or relocated so as to increase the discrepancy, or to create a new discrepancy, at any level of the structure, between existing conditions on the lot and the required standards for new construction set forth in this Code.

(c) Changes in Use. A nonconforming use may be changed to another use or feature as described below.

(1) A nonconforming use may be changed to a use listed in Article 7 of this Code as a principal use for the district in which the property is located, and the new use may thereafter be continued as a permitted principal use.

(2) A nonconforming use may be changed to a use listed in Article 7 of this Code as a conditional use for the district in which the use is located, subject to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code, and the new use may thereafter be continued as a permitted conditional use, subject to the provisions of Section 178 of this Code.

(3) A nonconforming use may be changed to a use which is not permitted in that Neighborhood Commercial District as described below, only upon approval of a conditional use application, pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code:

(A) Any use described in zoning categories .41,42,43 or .44, as defined in Sections 790.22, 790.92, 790.90 and 790.91, respectively, may change to another use described in zoning categories .41,42, or.44, even though such other use is not permitted in that Neighborhood Commercial District, unless such other use is located in an Alcohol Restricted Use Subdistrict and is prohibited by the provisions governing that Alcohol Restricted Use Subdistrict.

(B) Any use described in zoning categories .51,52 or.53, as defined in Sections 790.114, 790.116 and 790.108 respectively, may change to another use described in zoning categories .51, .52 or .53, even though such other use is not permitted in that Neighborhood Commercial District.

(C) Any use described in zoning categories .57,.58 or .59, as defined in Sections 790.14, 790.17 and 790.15 respectively, may be demolished and reconstructed as the same use or may change to another use described in zoning categories .57,58 or .59, even though such other use is not permitted in that Neighborhood Commercial District.

The new use shall still be classified as a nonconforming use.

The changes in use described in this Paragraph 3 shall include remodeling activities involving the demolition and replacement of structures which result in a change of use.

(4) In the North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District, any use that exceeds the use_size provisions of Section 121.2(a) or 121.fb) may be changed to a new use only upon the approval of a new conditional use application The Commission’s approval of such t conditional use application~ shall explicitly address the use size findings of Section 303(c).

(d) Discontinuance. A nonconforming use which is discontinued for a period ( of three years, or otherwise abandoned or changed to another use which is listed in Article 7 of this Code as a principal or conditional use for the district in which the use is located shall not be reestablished. For: purposes of this Subsection, the period of nonuse for a nonconforming use to be deemed discontinue_ed in the North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District shall be_eighteen (18) months.

(e) Relocation. A nonconforming use in a Neighborhood Commercial District may be reestablished at another location within that Neighborhood Commercial District only upon approval of a new conditional use application pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code, provided that the following conditions are met:

(1) The original premises shall not be occupied by an establishment of ; the same type of use as the relocating use unless by another establishment that is relocating r from within the district; and 1

(2) No final permits to operate the relocated use at the new premises are granted prior to the issuance of a certificate of final completion of any work to the original premises which is required as conditions attached to the approval of the conditional use application; and

(3) Deed restrictions are recorded for the original premises in the Official Records of the City and County of San Francisco, which restrictions prohibit for the duration of the Code sections prohibiting the use for the district in which the use is located, the~, establishment and operation of a new use of the same type of use as the relocated use, unless such new use is relocating from within the district.

Section 4. Part II, Chapter II of the San Francisco Municipal Code (Planning Code) is hereby amended by amending Section 121.2, to read as follows:

SEC. 121.2. USE SlZE LlMlTS (NONRESIDENTIAL), NEIGHBORHOOD~ COMMERClAL DISTRICTS. (a) In order to protect and maintain a scale of development s appropriate to each district, nonresidential uses of the same size or larger than the square ~ footage stated in the table below may be permitted only as conditional uses subject to the ~ provisions set forth in Sections 316 through 316.8 of this Code. The use area shall be o~ measured as the gross floor area for each individual nonresidential use.

District Use Size Limits
   
North Beach 2,000 sq. ft.
   
Castro Street 2,500 sq. ft.
Inner Clement Street  
Upper Filmore Street  
Haight Street  
((North beach))  
Sacramento Street  
Union Street  
24th Street-Mission  
24th Street-Noe Valley  
West Portal Avenue  
   
NC-1 3,000 sq. ft.
Broadway  
Hayes-Gough  
Upper Market Street  
Polk Street  
Valencia Street  
   
NC-2 4,000 sq. ft.
NC-3 6,000 sq. ft.
NC-S  
   

In addition to the criteria of Section 303(c) of this Code, the Commission shall consider the extent to which the following criteria are met:

(1) The intensity of activity in the district is not such that allowing the larger use will be likely to foreclose the location of.other needed neighborhood-serving uses in the area.

(2) The proposed use will serve the neighborhood, in whole or in significant i part, and the nature of the use requires a larger size in order to function.

(3) The building in which the use is to be located is designed in discrete ~ elements which respect the scale of development in the district.

(b) In order to protect and maintain a scale of development appropriate to each district, nonresidential uses which exceed the square footage stated in the table below shall not be permitted. except that in the North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District this Subsection 121.2(b) shall not apply to a Movie Theater use as defined in Section 790.64 or Other Entertainment use as defined in Section 790.38 in a building existing Prior to November1, 1999 that was originally constructed as a multi-story, single-tenant commercial occupancy.

The use area shall be measured as the gross floor area for each individual nonresidential use.

District Use Size Limits
   
West Portal Avenue 4,000 sq. feet
North Beach 4000 sq. feet

Section 5. Part II, Chapter II of the San Francisco Municipal Code (Planning Code) is hereby amended by amending Section 722.21,to read as follows:

North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District

Zoning Control Table

No. Zoning Category References North Beach Controls
722.21 Use Size (Non residential) 790.130 P up to ((2,499))
1,999 sq. ft.;
C ((2,500)) 2,000 sq.ft. to 3,999 sq. ft.
NP 4,000 sq. ft. and above
121.2

APPROVED AS TO FORM

LOUISE H. RENNE, City Attorney

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Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which partners with a wide range of allies to implement policies that counter concentrated power and strengthen local economies.