Invest in Neighborhoods is an interagency partnership to strengthen and revitalize neighborhood commercial districts around San Francisco.

In collaboration with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), the Planning Department will offer a "planning toolkit" of enhanced services which leverages City programs and resources in order to respond to the specific needs and opportunities in each district. Find out more about the Invest in Neighborhoods program resources, small business support, and neighborhood and community partnerships.


Planning Toolkit

Tool No. 1 - Minor Zoning Modifications

What is Zoning? 
Zoning regulates the use of land and the physical characteristics for new development. It establishes what uses are allowed on a property (e.g. residential, commercial, industrial) as well as density, building heights, access to parking and loading, and required open space, among a variety of other matters. Zoning also addresses the balance of uses in an area by allowing certain uses and prohibiting others. In the neighborhood commercial districts, for example, a broad range of neighborhood-serving uses (e.g. restaurants, cafes, grocery stores ) are allowed and uses that aren't appropriate to a neighborhood (e.g. heavy industrial uses) are prohibited.

What types of changes in Zoning could be proposed through the Invest in Neighborhoods Project?
Minor zoning changes, such as changes in the specific commercial uses allowed or prohibited in a neighborhood or allowing a five-foot building height increase to enhance the sidewalk-level retail environment could be proposed. Any type of proposed change to the code would be developed with the community to determine if there is a desire to make such changes.

Tool No. 2 - Design for Public Realm Improvements

The "public realm" refers to all streets, plazas and parks accessible to the public. The Planning Department works in a number of ways to make improvements to the public realm. One way is coordinating with the Department of Public Works on implementing the improvements passed in the 2011 streetscape bond, which was passed by San Francisco voters. The bond proposes to repave streets; repair deteriorating bridges, overpasses and stairways; and make traffic, pedestrian, and bicycle and safety improvements. The Planning Department will be working to design a number of these improvements, many of which overlap with the Invest in Neighborhoods corridors. The Department can also provide specialized public realm design services, such as concept plans for improvements, including temporary measures (such as parklets or plazas) that help calm traffic and improve public space.

Tool No. 3 - Opportunity Sites Analysis

There are often underutilized pieces of property in neighborhoods that could be developed, re-designed or more intensively used to improve the neighborhood and provide community amenities. The Planning Department can provide technical and design skills to assess these sites and, where appropriate, generate interest in the future development of the site. Are there vacant or underutilized sites, that if developed, would activate and revitalize the neighborhood? Could the community imagine what those sites could become? Planning staff can work with the community to define the objectives and goals relating to the development of these key sites. A few examples from recent plans include design and public space guidelines for development of the former-freeway parcels in the Market and Octavia Neighborhood and for the Phelan Loop site on Ocean Avenue. In Market and Octavia, when the freeway off-ramp was removed, vacant sites were available for development. The sites provided and opportunity for needs in the community to be met and for the community to shape the development.

Completed Work

Applying the above-mentioned tools, below are the corridors where we have already begun work or have upcoming projects.

Irving Street, Taraval Street, Noriega Street (Sunset District)

Sunset Blue Print 
Supervisor Tang has led a comprehensive planning effort to discuss the future of the Sunset District, called the Sunset District Blueprint. The Planning Department in coordination with Supervisor Tang's office has attended and hosted a number of community meetings to inform the Sunset District Blueprint. 

In July 2014, the Sunset Blueprint was released.  One of the Chapters of the Blueprint is dedicated to Land Use. Part of shaping land use in the Sunset is shaping the design of buildings. As residents, merchants and visitors to the Sunset district this survey seeks your input on design features. A survey was developed to seek input on design features and different types of development, and to help the City better understand the needs of residents and visitors in the Sunset. Click here to view the survey results.

Did you know there are potential opportunities for additional housing in the Sunset District, particularly along our transit corridors? Join Supervisor Tang's office along with the Planning Department for a community discussion on land use opportunities in the Sunset District. Learn about underutilized sites in District 4 and give your feedback on long-term planning strategies.

Mission Street south of Chavez

Past community event: The Planning Department staff was part of the Invest in Neighborhoods workshop hosted by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and Supervisor Campos's office, which was held on November 13, 2013 at Fairmount Elementary.

Staff began the work in this neighborhood by presenting a map of all sites that are 5% or 30% developed under the existing zoning. This categorization means that the sites 70% to 95% of the remaining development capacity available. See the map for a look at these sites.

Lombard Street

Past community event: the first public open house on Invest in Neighborhoods for the Lombard Street Corridor. Staff from these city agencies will discuss transportation improvements, upcoming City projects, and opportunities to shape the future of the Corridor.

OEWD Communities and Neighborhoods contact and press inquiries.