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(a) Purpose. Sections 206.5, 206.6, and 206.7 shall be referred to as the San Francisco State Residential Density Bonus Program or the State Density Bonus Program. First, the Analyzed State Density Bonus Program in Section 206.5 offers an expedited process for projects that seek a density bonus that is consistent with the pre-vetted menu of incentives, concessions and waivers that the Planning Department and its consultants have already determined are feasible, result in actual cost reductions, and do not have specific adverse impacts upon public health and safety of the physical environment. Second the Individually Requested State Density Bonus Program in Section 206.6 details the review, analysis and approval process for any project seeking a density bonus that is consistent with State Law, but is not consistent with the requirements for the Analyzed State Density Bonus Program established in Section 206.5. Third, Section 206.7 describes density bonuses available under the State code for the provision of childcare facilities.
This Section 206.5 implements the Analyzed State Density Bonus Program or “Analyzed State Program.” The Analyzed State Program offers an expedited process for projects that seek a density bonus that is consistent with, among other requirements set forth below, the pre-vetted menu of incentives, waiver and concessions.
(1) A Housing Project that meets all of the requirements of this subsection (b)(1) or is a Senior Housing Project meeting the criteria of (b)(2) shall be an Analyzed State Density Bonus Project or an “Analyzed Project” for purposes of Sections 206 et seq. A Housing Project that does not meet all of the requirements of this subsection (b), but seeks a density bonus under State law may apply for a density bonus under Section 206.6 as an Individually Requested State Density Bonus Project. To qualify for the Analyzed State Density Bonus Program a Housing Project must meet all of the following:
(C) for projects located in Neighborhood Commercial Districts is not seeking to merge lots that result in more than 125 linear feet in lot frontage on any one street;
(D) is located in any zoning district that: (i) is not designated as an RH-1 or RH-2 Zoning District; (ii) establishes a maximum dwelling unit density through a ratio of number of units to lot area, including but not limited to, RH-3, RM, RC, C-2, Neighborhood Commercial, Named Neighborhood Commercial, and SoMa Mixed Use Districts, but only if the SoMa Mixed Use District has a density measured by a maximum number of dwelling units per square foot of lot area; (iii) is not in the North of Market Residential Special Use District, Planning Code Section 249.5 until the Affordable Housing Incentive Study is completed at which time the Board will review whether the North of Market Residential Special Use District should continue to be excluded from this Program. The Study will explore opportunities to support and encourage the provision of housing at the low, moderate, and middle income range in neighborhoods where density controls have been eliminated. The goal of this analysis is to incentivize increased affordable housing production levels at deeper and wider ranges of AMI and larger unit sizes in these areas through 100% affordable housing development as well as below market rate units within market rate developments; (iv) is not located within the boundaries of the Northeastern Waterfront Area Plan south of the centerline of Broadway; and (v) is not located on property under the jurisdiction of the Port of San Francisco;
(E) is providing all Inclusionary Units as On-site Units under Section 415.6;
(F) includes a minimum of nine foot ceilings on all residential floors;
(G) is seeking only Concessions or Incentives set forth in subsection (c)(4);
(H) is seeking height increases only in the form of a waiver as described in subsection (c)(5);
(I) does not demolish, remove, or convert any residential units;
(J) consists only of new construction, and excluding any project that includes an addition to an existing structure;
(K) includes at the ground floor level active uses, as defined in Section 145.1 at the same square footages as any neighborhood commercial uses demolished or removed;
(L) if any retail use is demolished or removed, does not include a Formula Retail use, as defined in Section 303.1, unless the retail use demolished or removed was also a Formula Retail use, or one of the following uses: Gas Stations, Private or Public Parking Lots, Financial Services, Fringe Financial Services, Self Storage, Motel, Automobile Sales or Rental, Automotive Wash, Mortuaries, Adult Business, Massage Establishment, Medical Cannabis Dispensary, and Tobacco Paraphernalia Establishment, as those uses are defined in Planning Code Section 102;
(M) all on-site income-restricted residential units in the Housing Project are no smaller than the minimum unit sizes set forth by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee as of May 16, 2017; and
(N) notwithstanding any other provision of this Code, includes a minimum dwelling unit mix of at least 40% of all units as two or three bedroom units, including at least 10% of units as three bedroom units. Larger units should be distributed on all floors, and prioritized in spaces adjacent to open spaces or play yards. Units with two or three bedrooms should incorporate family friendly amenities, including bathtubs, dedicated cargo bicycle parking, dedicated stroller storage, and open space and yards designed for use by children.
(3) If located north of the centerline of Post Street and east of the centerline of Van Ness Avenue, all otherwise eligible Analyzed State Law Density Bonus Projects shall only be permitted on:
(A) lots containing no existing buildings; or
(B) lots equal to or greater than 12,500 square feet where existing buildings are developed to less than 20% of the lot’s principally permitted buildable gross floor area as determined by height limits, rear yard requirements and required setbacks.
(c) Development Bonuses. All Analyzed State Law Density Bonus Projects shall receive, at the project sponsor’s written request, any or all of the following:
(1) Priority Processing. Analyzed Projects that provide 30% or more of Units as On-site Inclusionary Housing Units or Restricted Affordable Units that meet all of the requirements for an Inclusionary Housing Unit shall receive Priority Processing.
(2) Density Bonus. Analyzed Projects that provide On-site Inclusionary Housing Units or Restricted Affordable Units that meet all of the requirements for an Inclusionary Housing Unit shall receive a density bonus as described in Table 206.5A as follows:
Restricted Affordable Units or Category
Minimum Percentage of Restricted Affordable Units
Percentage of Density Bonus Granted
Additional Bonus for Each 1% Increase In Restricted Affordable Units
Percentage of Restricted Units Required for Maximum 35% Density Bonus
Very Low Income
Senior Citizen Housing, as defined in § 102, and meeting the requirements of § 202.2(f).
Note: A density bonus may be selected from more than one category, up to a maximum of 35% of the Maximum Allowable Gross Residential Density.
In calculating density bonuses under this subsection 206.5(c)(2) the following shall apply:
(A) When calculating the number of permitted Density Bonus Units or Restricted Affordable Units, any fractions of units shall be rounded to the next highest number. Analyzed Density Bonus Program projects must include the minimum percentage of Restricted Affordable Units identified in Column B of Table 206.5A for at least one income category, but may combine density bonuses from more than one income category, up to a maximum of 35% of the Maximum Allowable Gross Residential Density.
(B) An applicant may elect to receive a Density Bonus that is less than the amount permitted by this Section; however, the City shall not be required to similarly reduce the number of Restricted Affordable Units required to be dedicated pursuant to this Section and Government Code Section 65915(b).
(C) In no case shall a Housing Project be entitled to a Density Bonus of more than 35%, unless it is a Senior Housing Project meeting the requirements of Section 202.2(f).
(D) The Density Bonus Units shall not be included when determining the number of Restricted Affordable Units required to qualify for a Density Bonus. Density bonuses shall be calculated as a percentage of the Maximum Allowable Gross Residential Density.
(E) Any Restricted Affordable Unit provided pursuant to the on-site requirements of the Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program, Section 415 et seq., shall be included when determining the number of Restricted Affordable Units required to qualify for a Development Bonus under this Section 206.5. The payment of the Affordable Housing Fee shall not qualify for a Development Bonus under this Section. The provision of Off-site Units shall not qualify the Principal Project for a Density Bonus under this Section; however an Off-site Unit may qualify as a Restricted Affordable Unit to obtain a density bonus for the Off-site Project.
(F) In accordance with state law, neither the granting of a Concession, Incentive, waiver, or modification, nor the granting of a Density Bonus, shall be interpreted, in and of itself, to require a general plan amendment, zoning change, variance, or other discretionary approval.
(3) Concessions and Incentives. Analyzed Projects shall receive concessions or incentives, in the amounts specified in Table 206.5B:
Notes: 1. Common Interest Development is defined in California Civil Code Section 4100.
(4) Menu of Concessions and Incentives: In submitting a request for Concessions or Incentives, an applicant for an Analyzed State Density Bonus Project may request the specific Concessions and Incentives set forth below. The Planning Department, based on Department research and a Residential Density Bonus Study prepared by David Baker Architects, Seifel Consulting, and the San Francisco Planning Department dated August 2015, on file with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors in File No. 150969, has determined that the following Concessions and Incentives are generally consistent with Government Code Section 65915(d) because, in general, they: are required in order to provide for affordable housing costs; will not be deemed by the Department to have a specific adverse impact as defined in Government Code Section 65915(d); and are not contrary to State or Federal law.
(A) Rear yard: the required rear yard per Section 134 or any applicable special use district may be reduced to no less than 20% of the lot depth, or 15 feet, whichever is greater. Corner properties may provide 20% of the lot area at the interior corner of the property to meet the minimum rear yard requirement, provided that each horizontal dimension of the open area is a minimum of 15 feet; and that the open area is wholly or partially contiguous to the existing midblock open space, if any, formed by the rear yards of adjacent properties.
(B) Dwelling Unit Exposure: the dwelling unit exposure requirements of Section 140(a)(2) may be satisfied through qualifying windows facing an unobstructed open area that is no less than 25 feet in every horizontal dimension, and such open area is not required to expand in every horizontal dimension at each subsequent floor.
(C) Off-Street Loading: off-street loading spaces under Section 152 shall not be required.
(D) Parking: up to a 50% reduction in the residential and commercial parking requirement, per Section 151 or any applicable special use district.
(E) Open Space: up to a 5% reduction in required common open space per Section 135, or any applicable special use district.
(F) Additional Open Space: up to an additional 5% reduction in required common open space per Section 135 or any applicable special use district, beyond the 5% provided in subsection (E) above.
(5) Waiver or Modification of Height Limits. Analyzed Projects may request a waiver of the applicable height restrictions if the applicable height limitation will have the effect of physically precluding the construction of a Housing Project at the densities or with the Concessions or Incentives permitted by subsection (c)(4). Analyzed Projects may receive a height bonus as of right of up to twenty feet or two stories, excluding exceptions permitted per Section 260(b), if the applicant demonstrates that it qualifies for a height waiver through the following formula:
Step one: Calculate Base Density and Bonus Density Limits
Calculate Base Density (BD), as defined in Section 206.2.
Bonus Density Limit (BD): ED multiplied by 1.XX where XX is the density bonus requested per Section 206.5 of this Code (e.g. 7%, 23%, 35%), not to exceed 1.35, the maximum density bonus available by this Section.
Step two: Calculate Permitted Envelope (PE). Buildable envelope available under existing height and bulk controls.
PE equals lot area multiplied by permitted lot coverage, where lot coverage equals .75, or .8 if the developer elects to request a rear yard modification under Section 206.5(c)(4)(A), multiplied by existing height limit (measured in number of stories), minus one story for projects in districts where non-residential uses are required on the ground floor, and minus any square footage subject to bulk limitations (for parcels that do not have an X bulk designation).
Step three: Calculate Bonus Envelope (BE). Residential envelope necessary to accommodate additional density (“Bonus envelope” or “BE”).
BE equals Bonus Density multiplied by 1,000 gross square feet.
Step four: Calculate Additional Residential Floors. Determine the number of stories required to accommodate bonus:
(A) If BE is less than or equal to PE, the project is not awarded height under this subsection (c)(5).
(B) If BE is greater than PE, the project is awarded height, as follows:
(i) If BE minus PE is less than the lot area multiplied by 0.75, project is allowed one extra story; total gross square footage of building not to exceed BE; or
(ii) If BE minus PE is greater than the lot area multiplied by 0.75 (i.e. if the difference is greater than one story), project is allowed two extra stories; total gross square footage of building not to exceed BE.
(d) Application. An application for an Analyzed State Density Bonus Project under this Section 206.5 shall be submitted with the first application for approval of a Housing Project and shall be processed concurrently with all other applications required for the Housing Project. The application shall be on a form prescribed by the City and, in addition to any information required for other applications, shall include the following information:
(1) A description of the proposed Housing Project, including the total number of dwelling units, Restricted Affordable Units, and Density Bonus Units proposed;
(2) Any zoning district designation, Base Density, assessor’s parcel number(s) of the project site, and a description of any Density Bonus, Concession or Incentive, or waiver requested;
(3) A list of the requested Concessions and Incentives from Section 206.5(c)(4);
(4) If a waiver or modification of height is requested under Section 206.5(c)(5), a calculation demonstrating how the project qualifies for such waiver under the formula;
(5) A full plan set including site plan, elevations, sections, and floor plans, number of market-rate units, Restricted Affordable Units, and Density Bonus units within the proposed Housing Project. The location of all units must be approved by the Planning Department before the issuance of the building permit;
(6) Level of affordability of the Restricted Affordable Units and a draft Regulatory Agreement; and
(7) Documentation that the applicant has provided written notification to all existing commercial tenants that the applicant intends to develop the property pursuant to this section. Any affected commercial tenants shall be given priority processing similar to the Department’s Community Business Priority Processing Program, as adopted by the Planning Commission on February 12, 2015 under Resolution Number 19323 to support relocation of such business in concert with access to relevant local business support programs. In no case may a project receive a site permit or any demolition permit prior to 18 months from the date of written notification required by this Section 206.5(d)(7).
(e) Review Procedures. An application for an Analyzed State Density Bonus Project, shall be acted upon concurrently with the application for other permits related to the Housing Project.
(1) Before approving an application for an Analyzed Project, the Planning Department or Commission shall make written findings that the Housing Project is qualified as an Analyzed State Density Bonus Project.
(2) Analyzed Projects shall be governed by the conditional use procedures of Section 303. All notices shall specify that the Housing Project is seeking a Development Bonus and shall provide a description of the Development Bonuses requested. Analyzed Projects shall also be reviewed for consistency with the Affordable Housing Bonus Program Design Guidelines.
(f) Regulatory Agreements. Recipients of a Density Bonus, Incentive, Concession, waiver, or modification shall enter into a Regulatory Agreement with the City, as follows.
(1) The terms of the agreement shall be acceptable in form and content to the Planning Director, the Director of MOHCD, and the City Attorney. The Planning Director shall have the authority to execute such agreements.
(2) Following execution of the agreement by all parties, the completed Density Bonus Regulatory Agreement, or memorandum thereof, shall be recorded and the conditions filed and recorded on the Housing Project.
(3) The approval and recordation of the Regulatory Agreement shall take place prior to the issuance of the First Construction Document. The Regulatory Agreement shall be binding to all future owners and successors in interest.
(4) The Regulatory Agreement shall be consistent with the guidelines of the City’s Inclusionary Housing Program and shall include at a minimum the following:
(A) The total number of dwelling units approved for the Housing Project, including the number of Restricted Affordable Units, Inclusionary Units, HOME-SF Units or other restricted units;
(B) A description of the household income group to be accommodated by the Restricted Affordable Units, and the standards for determining the corresponding Affordable Rent or Affordable Sales Price;
(C) The location, dwelling unit sizes (in square feet), and number of bedrooms of the Restricted Affordable Units;
(D) Term of use restrictions for Restricted Affordable Units of at least 55 years for Moderate Income units and at least 55 years for Low and Very Low units;
(E) A schedule for completion and occupancy of Restricted Affordable Units;
(F) A description of any Concession, Incentive, waiver, or modification, if any, being provided by the City;
(G) A description of remedies for breach of the agreement (the City may identify tenants or qualified purchasers as third party beneficiaries under the agreement);
(H) A list of all on-site family friendly amenities. Family friendly amenities shall include, but are not limited to, dedicated cargo bicycle parking, dedicated stroller storage, and open space and yards designed for use by children; and
(I) Other provisions to ensure implementation and compliance with this Section.
(Former Sec. 206.5 added by Ord. 298-08, File No. 081153, App. 12/19/2008; repealed by Ord. 22-15, File No. 141253, App. 2/20/2015, Eff. 3/22/2015)