Save our Small Businesses Initiative (Prop H / SBRA 2020)

What is Proposition H and the Small Business Recovery Act?

Approved by voters in the November 2020 election and now in place, the initiative ordinance shifts the approval action for many small business uses from a Conditional Use authorization granted by the Planning Commission at a public hearing to an over-the-counter administrative approval. In addition, the initiative eliminates neighborhood notification for most storefront land use changes and provides existing businesses with greater flexibility to adapt their operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and shifting retail landscape. The initiative also calls upon the City to streamline the review and approval processes for most small business permits to 30-days. This will not only assist with their recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also simplify the process to start a new business in San Francisco.


How Does Prop H / SBRA Help Small Businesses?

If you are opening a new business, or are changing your business operations, you may be able to move forward faster and have expanded flexibility in what you can do. Here are some of the major changes: 

  • Most principally permitted uses no longer require a 30-day neighborhood notice; 
  • Many businesses in Neighborhood Commercial Districts no longer require Conditional Use Authorization; (The  Mission 24th St NCT, Mission St NCT, and SOMA NCT controls have not been amended)
  • Temporary uses are more permissive;
  • Pop-Up Retail (for non-Formula Retail uses) is now allowed in vacant commercial storefronts;
  • Outdoor Activity Areas (e.g. patios behind restaurants) are more widely permitted; and
  • Retail workspaces (e.g. co-working facilities) are now permitted in conjunction with restaurant uses.

What to Expect

The Planning Department will review your permit in accordance with Proposition H and the Small Business Recovery Act’s updated rules.
The City has released a streamlined online 30-day permit review process for applications under Proposition H / SBRA – find out more.

What You Need to Do

In order to qualify for expedited review please submit your permits for a change of use here. You can also submit your permit in-person, over the counter at the Permit Center at 49 South Van Ness Avenue. 

No additional action is necessary to benefit from Proposition H / SBRA’s streamlined review or more flexible controls.

The City will ensure that eligible permits filed through the Proposition H / SBRA website are reviewed appropriately. Eligible permits currently under review that may benefit from Proposition H will also receive streamlined processing and more flexible zoning. Please contact your assigned planner or plan checker for details, or email Bridget Hicks at 

For general information on opening a small business, visit the Office of Small Business. 

Reference Documents