Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(a) Purpose. In order to convert an under-utilized and outmoded industrial area to a unique residential neighborhood close to downtown which will contribute significantly to the City's housing supply, create tapered residential buildings, provide an appropriate mixture of retail sales and personal services to support new residential development, provide a buffer of office and parking use between the bridge and freeway ramps and the housing sites, and allow the existing industrial, service and office uses to remain, there shall be the Folsom and Main Residential/Commercial Special Use District as designated on Sectional Map No. SU01 of the Zoning Map of the City and County of San Francisco.
(b) Controls. The following zoning controls are applicable in the Residential/Commercial Special Use District.
(1) Reduction of Ground-Level Wind Currents.
(A) Requirement. New buildings and additions to existing buildings shall be shaped, or other wind-baffling measures shall be adopted, so that the developments will not cause ground-level wind currents to exceed, more than 10 percent of the time year-round, between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., the comfort level of 11 m.p.h. equivalent wind speed in areas of substantial pedestrian use and seven m.p.h. equivalent wind speed in public seating areas. The term "equivalent wind speed" shall mean an hourly mean wind speed adjusted to incorporate the effects of gustiness or turbulence on pedestrians.
When preexisting ambient wind speeds exceed the comfort level, or when a proposed building or addition may cause ambient wind speeds to exceed the comfort level, the building shall be designed to reduce the ambient wind speeds to meet the requirements. The provisions of this Section 249.1(b)(3) shall not apply to any buildings or additions to existing buildings for which a draft EIR has been published prior to January 1, 1985.
(B) Exception. The Zoning Administrator may allow the building or addition to add to the amount of time the comfort level is exceeded by the least practical amount if (1) it can be shown that a building or addition cannot be shaped and other wind-baffling measures cannot be adopted to meet the foregoing requirements without creating an unattractive and ungainly building form and without unduly restricting the development potential of the building site in question, and (2) it is concluded that, because of the limited amount by which the comfort level is exceeded, the limited location in which the comfort level is exceeded, or the limited time during which the comfort level is exceeded, the addition is insubstantial.
The Zoning Administrator shall not grant an exception and no building or addition shall be permitted that causes equivalent wind speeds to reach or exceed the hazard level of 26 miles per hour for a single hour of the year.
(C) Procedures. Procedures and methodologies for implementing this Section shall be specified by the Office of Environmental Review of the Planning Department.
(A) Permitted uses are those permitted in an RC-4 District, plus the uses listed in Subsection (e)(1)(B) below; provided that, for newly constructed buildings or additions of 20 percent or more of an existing building's gross floor area, at least six net square feet of residential use is provided for each one net square foot of non-residential use on any lot. Additions of less than 20 percent of a building's gross floor area are exempt from the six to one residential requirements. Once granted, this exemption from the residential development requirement for building additions may not be repeated for any single property. Any addition of more than 20 percent of gross square feet of building area shall be required to provide the housing on a six-to-one basis for all of the additional building area. All areas used for parking for either residential or non-residential uses shall be excluded in the calculation of the residential/non-residential ratio. For the purposes of application of this 6 to 1 ratio, Hotels as defined under Section 102 shall be considered a non-residential rather than a residential use.
(B) The use provisions applicable to an RC-4 District shall be applicable to the "Residential/Commercial" Subdistrict with the following modifications or additions:
(i) all uses defined as Institutional uses under Section 102 shall be permitted as of right as principal uses;
(ii) Utility Installation uses, defined in Section 102, shall be permitted as conditional uses, with such utility uses to include telecommunications and internet communication co-location, web-hosting and other similar facilities, provided such uses are primarily conducted within enclosed buildings;
(iii) Automotive uses, as defined in Section 102 shall be permitted as a principal use for only five (5) years after the construction of the building, after which a Conditional Use authorization shall be required and Private Auto Parking Lots, as defined in Section 102 of this Code shall be a conditional use limited to two years per each conditional use authorization;
(iv) Planned Unit Developments, Arts Activities, and Mortuaries, as defined in Code Section 102, are not permitted.
(v) all Retail Sales and Service uses, as defined in Section 102 of this Code, shall be permitted as of right as principal uses;
(vi) Office Uses shall be permitted as of right above the ground floor or below the ground floor, and require conditional use authorization on the ground floor;
(vii) Trade Shops and Catering uses shall be permitted as of right above or below the ground floor, and shall require Conditional Use authorization at the ground floor;
(viii) Movie Theaters, Nighttime Entertainment and General Entertainment uses shall be permitted as of right as principal uses;
(ix) Animal Hospital shall be permitted as conditional uses;
(x) Wholesale Establishment shall be permitted as of right as principal uses;
(xi) Light Manufacturing shall be permitted as of right as principal uses;
(xii) Internet Service Exchanges shall be permitted as of right as principal uses.
(C) A nonconforming use may be changed to any equally or more conforming use without providing the 6 to 1 ratio of required residential space.
(D) No use, even though listed as a permitted use or otherwise allowed, shall be permitted in the Residential/Commercial Subdistrict which, by reason of its nature or manner of operation, creates conditions that are hazardous, noxious, or offensive through the emission of odor, fumes, smoke, cinders, dust, gas, vibration, glare, refuse, water-carried waste, or excessive noise.
(B) Non-residential Density. There shall be a density limit for non-residential uses, which shall be measured as a Floor Area Ratio (FAR), as defined by Section 102 of this Code. The maximum nonresidential FAR for newly constructed buildings or additions of 20 percent or more of an existing building shall be 0.75. Otherwise the FAR for the Residential/Commercial Subdistrict shall be five-to-one. The provisions of Section 123, 124, 125 and 127 relating to Floor Area Ratio shall apply.
(C) Area used for parking for Commercial or Residential uses including parking permitted as of right or by conditional use shall not be considered as commercial FAR.
(4) Open Space.
(A) Open space shall be provided at the ratio of thirty-six net square feet of open space for each Dwelling Unit if all private, with a ratio of 1.33 of common usable open space that may be substituted for private; open space shall be provided at the ratio of one square foot of open space per 50 square feet of gross floor area for all other uses.
(B) The open space requirement for Residential use may be met by providing one or more of the following types of open space: private usable open space as set forth below; common open space, including an unenclosed park or plaza at grade or above, or an enclosed or partly enclosed pool or a health club, accessible to residents and guests of residents and not to the general public, and "publicly accessible open space" as set forth in C)(i) below. Where any publicly accessible open space is used to satisfy the open space requirements for both Residential and non-residential use, the open space area must be of an area at least equal to the sum of the separate open space requirements to be satisfied by that open space. Up to 40 percent of the open space requirement for residential uses may be met by providing private open spaces, provided that any such private open space counted toward a portion of the open space requirement has a minimum area of 36 square feet, with a minimum dimension of four feet in any direction.
(C) The open space requirement for non-residential uses shall be met by providing "publicly accessible open space," which is defined as open space situated in such locations and which provides such ingress and egress as will make the area accessible to the general public and which is open to the public daily for at least twelve daylight hours.
(i) Publicly accessible open space. One or more of the following types of open space shall satisfy the definition of publicly accessible open space:
(AA) An unenclosed park or garden at grade or above;
(BB) An unenclosed plaza with seating areas and landscaping and no more than 10 percent of the floor area devoted to food or beverage service;
(CC) An enclosed pedestrian pathway, which extends through the building, which is accessed from a public street at grade, which is landscaped and has access to natural light and ventilation, and in which retail space may face the pedestrian path inside the building provided that no more than 20 percent of the floor area of the required open space may be devoted to seating areas within the pedestrian path;
(DD) A sun terrace or solarium with landscaping;
(EE) Sidewalk widening following a regular pattern of setbacks;
(FF) A recreation facility on the roof of a parking garage;
(GG) An unenclosed pedestrian street that traverses a large block in an east-west direction;
(HH) A publicly-accessible area with a scenic overlook;
(II) A publicly-accessible area within 900 feet of the site;
(JJ) Streetscapes on surrounding streets, as approved by the Planning Department; or
(KK) Other similar open space features as more particularly defined in the Recreation and Open Space Section of the Rincon Hill Plan, a part of the General Plan. If a sidewalk widening is used to meet the open space requirement, the Planning Commission shall require approval of the open space proposal by the Department of Public Works prior to Planning Commission approval of the project.
(ii) The required publicly accessible open space shall, as determined by the Zoning Administrator:
(AA) Be in such locations and provide such ingress and egress as will make the area convenient, safe, secure and easily accessible to the general public;
(BB) Be appropriately landscaped;
(CC) Be accessible to public water and toilet facilities;
(DD) Be protected from uncomfortable winds;
(EE) Incorporate ample seating and, if appropriate, access to limited amounts of food and beverage service, which will enhance public use of the area;
(FF) Be well signed and accessible to the public during daylight hours;
(GG) Have adequate access to sunlight if sunlight access is appropriate to the type of area;
(HH) Be well lighted if the area is of the type requiring artificial illumination;
(II) Be designed to enhance user safety and security;
(JJ) Be of sufficient size to be attractive and practical for its intended use; and
(KK) The owner of the property on which the open space is located shall maintain it by keeping the area clean and free of litter and keeping in a healthy state any plant material that is provided. The Zoning Administrator shall have authority to require a property owner to hold harmless the City and County of San Francisco, its officers, agents and employees, from any damage or injury caused by the design, construction or maintenance of open space, and to require the owner or owners or subsequent owner or owners of the property to be solely liable for any damage or loss occasioned by an act or neglect in respect to the design, construction or maintenance of the open space.
(D) The provisions of Section 135 concerning usable open space shall not apply.
(5) Parking Requirements. Parking requirements in the Special Use District shall be those of a Downtown Residential (DTR) District, as defined in Section 151.1 of this Code.
(6) Street-Facing Use Requirements.
(A) Ground floor retail space (including personal service and restaurants) and space devoted to building and pedestrian circulation is required along the street frontage for a minimum of 50 percent of the street frontage; exceptions to this standard may be granted administratively by the Zoning Administrator if (s)he deems the exception to provide a more attractive, usable and visually interesting pedestrian streetscape.
(B) Uses along a street frontage at grade level shall be visually interesting and attractive to pedestrians. Curb cuts shall be minimized. No parking ingress or egress shall be permitted that would disrupt or delay transit service.
(7) Site Coverage. There shall be no limit on site coverage. One hundred percent site coverage shall be permitted.
(8) Dwelling Unit Exposure. In light of the high-density nature of the Residential/Commercial Subdistrict, the dwelling unit exposure requirements of Section 140 shall not apply.
(9) Height and Tower Separation Standards.
(A) There shall be an 85-foot maximum height for the podium/base of a building.
(B) There shall be an overall height limit of 400 feet in the Residential/Commercial Subdistrict.
(C) There shall be a 50 foot minimum tower height differential between towers on the same development site.
(D) In the Residential/Commercial Subdistrict, there shall be a minimum 82 1/2 foot separation between towers.
(E) All space above the 200-foot height level shall be devoted to residential use.
(10) Bulk Standards. The Residential/Commercial Subdistrict shall be subject to "W" Bulk District controls, as follows:
(A) Base (0 - 85 feet): Unlimited. The site coverage limitations of Section 249.1(b)(1) shall not apply.
(B) (i) Buildings over 85 in height, but less than 300 feet in height, shall be limited to a maximum plan length of 100 feet and a maximum diagonal length of 125 feet.
(ii) Buildings over 300 feet in height shall not exceed a maximum plan length of 115 feet and a maximum diagonal length of 145 feet.
(iii) Minor increases in Plan length for the purposes of improved design may be approved pursuant to Section 271.
(C) A 10 percent volume reduction is required for the upper tower of any building that is 300 feet in height or taller. The upper tower is defined as the top one-third portion of a free standing tower; for a tower that sits atop a podium or base, the upper tower is defined as the top one-third of the height of the tower as measured from the top of the podium or base.
(D) Folsom Street Setback: Above the 85 foot base, at least 50 percent of the entire Folsom Street frontage shall be set back a minimum of 12½ feet. No setback will be required for any portion of the frontage occupied by a tower with a height in excess of 85 feet, unless that tower or towers occupies more than 50 percent of the total Folsom Street frontage.
(E) The floor plates on either tower shall not exceed an average of 11,000 gross square feet over the entire tower.
(Amended by Ord. 532-85, App. 12/4/85; Ord. 389-95, App. 12/14/95; Ord. 20-04, File No. 031772, App. 2/12/2004; Ord. 217-05, File No. 050865, App. 8/19/2005; Ord. 310-10, File No. 101194, App. 12/16/2010; Ord. 109-11, File No. 101350, App. 6/29/2011, Eff. 7/29/2011; Ord. 22-15, File No. 141253, App. 2/20/2015, Eff. 3/22/2015; Ord. 166-16 , File No. 160477, App. 8/11/2016, Eff. 9/10/2016; Ord. 63-20, File No. 200077, App. 4/24/2020, Eff. 5/25/2020)
Divisions (b)(1)(C) and (b)(4)(D) amended; former divisions (b)(10)(B)(1)-(3) redesignated as divisions (b)(10)(B)(i)-(iii); Ord. 109-11, Eff. 7/29/2011. Divisions (a), (b)(2)(A), and (b)(2)(B)(i) amended; former division (b)(2)(B)(ii) deleted and former divisions (b)(2)(B)(iii)-(xiv) redesignated as (b)(2)(B)(ii)-(xiii) and amended; division (b)(3)(B) amended; Ord. 22-15, Eff. 3/22/2015. Former division (b)(2)(B)(xii) deleted; former division (b)(2)(B)(xiii) redesignated as (b)(2)(B)(xii); Ord. 166-16 , Eff. 9/10/2016. Division (b)(3)(A) amended; Ord. 63-20, Eff. 5/25/2020.