COVID-19 and San Francisco Planning

City Info on COVID-19

Overview

Last Updated: May 4, 2020

The Planning Department is open for business. Most of our staff are working from home and we’re available by email. Due to state and local Declarations of Emergency and Public Health Orders, including a requirement to Shelter in Place and Stay Safe at Home, the Planning Department office at 1650 Mission Street and the Planning Information Center at 1660 Mission Street both are closed to the public. Associated adjustments to our services are described on this page and will be updated as we continue to respond to the changing situation.

The Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders require that we minimize all “in-office” tasks. As such, we encourage all applicants to take advantage of the City’s ongoing transition to electronic plan review. Throughout the Local Emergency we are taking additional precautions to ensure everyone’s health; as a result please expect increased delays in the review process.

 

General Information

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General Questions

E-mail pic@sfgov.org
Please note that phones are not currently being staffed at the Planning Information Center.

Questions About a Specific Permit or Project

Contact the assigned staff planner via e-mail.
You can identify the assigned staff planner through the Department’s Property Information Map, and the assigned planner’s contact information through our staff directory.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

Email us at cpc.adu@sfgov.org. We can help answer questions about ADU options, requirements, and review your preliminary plans.

Section updated: April 10, 2020

New Applications

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Building Permit Applications Requiring Planning Department’s Review

New building permit applications are being accepted for all projects and must be submitted electronically at the Department of Building Inspection. Along with your building permit application, please submit any associated Planning Department documents (e.g. Project Applications [PRJs], Coastal Zone Permit Applications, Minor Permits to Alter). Do not submit them through the Planning Department’s Public Portal.

The Department of Building Inspection held a virtual training session for applicants on how to submit plans electronically through Bluebeam. To view the April 21, 2020 Bluebeam Applicant Training recording, please visit DBI's webpage here.

Planning Department Applications

New projects that require a Planning Department application (aka an “entitlement”) can be submitted electronically. Most applications are available for filing via the Department’s Public Portal. To file any other application (e.g. applications for Discretionary Review; applications for Project Review Meetings) you must first create an account (or be an existing registered user) on the Department’s Public Portal. Then, download the application and email the completed PDF document to CPC.Intake@sfgov.org. You will receive follow-up instructions for fee payment via email.

Section updated: April 10, 2020

Commissions & Zoning Variance Hearings

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Planning Commission

The Planning Commission will convene remotely starting on April 9, 2020, continuing until further notice. Members of the public are encouraged to participate remotely. There will not be a physical location for members of the public to attend. Find more information here.

The Historic Preservation Commission

The Historic Preservation Commission will convene remotely starting on April 15, 2020, continuing until further notice. Members of the public are encouraged to participate remotely. There will not be a physical location for members of the public to attend. Find more information here.

Zoning Variance Hearing

The Zoning Administrator will hold a remote Zoning Variance hearing on April 22 and May 27, 2020. Members of the public are encouraged to participate remotely. There will not be a physical location for members of the public to attend. Find more information here.

Section updated: May 11, 2020

Public Notices

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Public Hearing Notices During Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders

(04/28/2020) San Francisco Planning is implementing the on-site posting provisions of the Planning Code by requiring one notice poster of 11" by 17" for every 25 feet of street frontage. Prior to the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders, one on-site poster of 36" by 48" was typically posted at a frequency of one poster per 50 feet of street frontage, regardless of length. This change maintains the intent of our notification provisions while eliminating the need for our staff or members of the public to leave their homes in order to access specialized printing equipment.

Pre-Application Meetings for which Notice is Provided During the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders

(04/28/2020) Project Sponsors should use the standard form, process, and 14-day notice period. However, they must also include a copy of the project plans in the mailing and e-mail applicable registered neighborhood organizations. Many neighborhood organizations use a P.O. Box that will not be checked during the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders. Neighborhood organizations’ email addresses can be accessed on our website (column J of the “Neighborhood Groups List”). If there is no email address provided on the Department’s list, standard mail is acceptable.

No in-person meetings should be conducted during the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders. The Pre-Application Meeting notice should indicate a day and time period during which the Project Sponsor will be available to take phone calls from interested parties and host a video conference. Sponsors are strongly encouraged to provide either a local phone number or a toll-free phone number. Both telephone and video conferencing options should appear on the notice, understanding that many members of the public will not have video conferencing technology.

The Department may require additional community outreach meetings for development projects of 10 units or more once the City’s Public Health Officer deems it safe for larger in-person gatherings to occur.

Pre-Application Meetings Noticed Prior to the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders

(03/26/2020) If a project’s Pre-Application meeting is scheduled to take place during the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders, the project sponsor must post a notice at the site on the meeting date that says the meeting was cancelled but that anyone who wants to discuss the project can contact the project sponsor, along with accurate contact information during the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders. This will still allow interested parties to stay aware of a project and engage with the project sponsor going forward.

Planning Code Section 311 Notices Mailed During the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders

(04/02/2020) On April 7, 2020, the Department will begin issuing new Building Permit neighborhood notifications (known as “311s”) for essential projects only.

Planning Code Section 311 Notices Mailed Prior to the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders

(04/02/2020) All Building Permit neighborhood notifications (known as “311s”) which had already been issued were placed on hold, and no new notifications were issued, as of March 17, 2020 in response to the inability to file for Discretionary Review. On April 7, 2020, the Department will resume the ‘clock’ for all neighborhood notifications that were previously issued.

(03/26/2020) If a project’s Section 311 notification period began prior to the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders, the Project Sponsor must put a note on the 311 poster(s), or add an additional poster stating that the 311 notice period will be extended by the number of days such notice fell within the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders. For example, if a 311 notice started on March 1 and was set to expire on March 31, that notice would continue for another 15 days once the Shelter in Place Order is to end on April 7. Project Sponsors should also communicate this extension to any parties that contact them regarding information about the project.

Section updated: April 28, 2020

Enforcement

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Planning Code Enforcement Notices Mailed Prior to the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders

(04/07/2020) If a Notice of Violation or Notice of Penalty was issued prior to the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders, any deadlines to respond to the Planning Department will be paused during the period of the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders (i.e. March 17 through May 31). All such enforcement deadlines will be reinstated on June 1 and extended by the number of days that fell within the Order.

Planning Code Enforcement Notices Mailed During the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders

(04/08/2020) A Notice of Violation issued during the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders will not require action to abate the violation until 1) the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders expire, and 2) all relevant City agencies are operating at a level necessary to abate the violation.

Section updated: April 8, 2020

Small Businesses

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General

Email sfosb@sfgov.org or call the Office of Small Business at 415.554.6134 for general questions.

Restaurants

Under the City’s Public Health Order, restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food are considered an essential business and may remain open, but only for delivery or take-out.

During the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders, the elimination of dine-in service to accommodate the Public Health Order is allowed, and restaurants may convert to pick-up/delivery services only. No application or fee is required for such conversion.

Storefronts

During the Shelter in Place and the Stay Safe at Home Orders, the City will not pursue enforcement actions against businesses which opt to board up any storefront windows.

All proprietors, but particularly those with businesses located in historic buildings or with historic facades should be mindful of the methods used to board their storefronts so as to avoid needless damage.

Section updated: March 27, 2020

Appeals

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Planning Commission

The Planning Commission is accepting appeals of Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declarations (“PMNDs”) under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). To file an appeal of a PMND, you must first create an account (or be an existing registered user) on the Department’s Public Portal. Then, email an appeal letter to CPC.EPIntake@sfgov.org. You will receive follow-up instructions for fee payment via email.

Board of Appeals

The Board of Appeals office is physically closed. They have cancelled meetings on April 1, 2020 and April 8, 2020. The April 15, 2020 meeting has been postponed to April 22, 2020.
You may still submit appeals by phone or email. Please email julie.rosenberg@sfgov.org, alec.longaway@sfgov.org, or leave a voice message at 415.575.6881.
For more information please visit the Board of Appeals website.

Board of Supervisors

City Hall is closed to the public, but the Board of Supervisors is accepting appeals of (1) determinations under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) and (2) Conditional Use authorizations by email at bos.legislation@sfgov.org.
For more information visit the Board of Supervisors website.

Section updated: April 30, 2020

Additional Resources

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Applications & Forms

This web page includes commonly used Planning applications and forms that are required for different types of projects.

Property Information Map

This online map allows members of the public to enter an address and identify information for any property in the City, such as zoning district, height limits, historic significance, applications under review, and contact information for any assigned planner.

Planning Code

This is the full set of codified regulations that relate to almost all development projects in the City and and is part of the Municipal Code.

Section updated: March 27, 2020