The Zoning Administrator (ZA) administers and enforces the Planning Code of the City and County of San Francisco. The ZA advises the Director of Planning and Planning Commission on amendments to the Planning Code; monitors and maintains data related to the ongoing implementation of the Planning Code; and appears before the Board of Supervisors, Board of Appeals, Planning Commission and other bodies on Planning Code matters.
The ZA also hears and makes determinations on variance applications and provides written interpretations and clarifications of the Planning Code, such as Letters of Determination. Variance application determinations are presented at the monthly Zoning Variance Hearings.
The Zoning Administrator manages the Zoning and Compliance Teams and project-related activities within the department such as the Transportation Demand Management Program and the Office Allocation Annual Limitation Program.
Public hearings are held 4th Wednesday of every month at 9:30am in the Commission Chambers of City Hall and are open to the public. *
* Excluding legal holidays and announced cancellations. Schedule subject to modification.
An audio archive of hearings is posted after the hearing is completed.
What is a Variance?
A variance is a request for an exception from a Planning Code standard which would cause practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship if applied as written. Most quantitative development standards are eligible for a variance request, but common requests include a variance from rear yard, open space, dwelling unit exposure, or parking requirements. Certain provisions of the Planning Code, such as height, sign and use requirements, are not variable.
The Zoning Administrator hears and makes determinations on variance applications. aIn order to grant a variance, the following findings must be met:
- That there are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances applying to the property involved or to the intended use of the property that do not apply generally to other property or uses in the same class of district;
- That owing to such exceptional or extraordinary circumstances, the literal enforcement of specified provisions of this Code would result in practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship not created by or attributable to the applicant or the owner of the property;
- That such variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right of the subject property, possessed by other property in the same class of district;
- That the granting of such variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or materially injurious to the property or improvements in the vicinity; and
- That the granting of such variance will be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this Code and will not adversely affect the Master Plan.