Procedures & Regulations
Last Updated: 07/27/2023

Hearing Procedures Zoning Variance

The Zoning Administrator holds Variance Hearings to provide a public venue for the review of variance applications in accordance with the requirements of the Planning Code. Members of the public who cannot attend a Variance Hearing may submit comments in writing or by telephone to the staff planner listed on the notification.

What to Expect at a Variance Hearing

At a Zoning Variance Hearing, the Project Sponsor (Variance Applicant) will be given 5 minutes to present their case, including relevant testimony and evidence. The hearing room is equipped with a laptop for flash drive and a projector that can display photographs, architectural plans or other drawings and images. Members of the public will be given 3 minutes each to speak on the item. If a member of the public speaks against an item, the Project Sponsor will be given a 3 minute rebuttal.

Please note that some items may appear on the "Consent Calendar." These items are considered routine and may be granted by the Zoning Administrator. There is no separate discussion of consent items unless the Zoning Administrator, member of the public or staff so requests, in which event the matter is removed from the Consent Calendar and will be moved to the Regular Calendar in the Agenda.

After all of the testimony is submitted, the Zoning Administrator will consider the evidence, deliberate, and either make a decision, take the matter under advisement, or continue the matter in order for additional information to be presented.

No decision is final until a Variance Decision Letter is issued. Due to the overwhelming number of Variance cases, decision letters may take up to 2 months to complete from the date of the hearing. The Zoning Administrator's action (to grant or deny) a variance application may be appealed to the Board of Appeals within 10 days of the date of the Decision Letter. For more information on how to file an appeal, please contact the San Francisco Board of Appeals.

Each hearing ends with public comment, at which time members of the public may address the Zoning Administrator for up to 3 minutes on items of interest to the public that are within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Zoning Administrator, except agenda items. With respect to agenda items, your opportunity to address the Zoning Administrator will be afforded when the item is reached during the meeting.

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