PROPOSITION H: Save our Small Businesses Initiative

What is Proposition H?

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 in Neighborhood Commercial Districts 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 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 in Neighborhood Commercial Districts 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.

See if your business might benefit - interactive map

To see if your business might benefit from Proposition H, enter your address into this interactive map:

View larger map here.

What to Expect

The Planning Department will review your permit in accordance with Proposition H’s updated rules.
Starting January 25th, 2021 the City has released a streamlined on-line 30-day permit review process for applications under Proposition H. Please visit our Proposition H Website for more information. 

What You Need to Do

In order to qualify for expedited review please submit your permits for a change of use here.

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

The City will ensure that eligible permits filed through the Proposition H 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.