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The provisions and procedures set forth in this Section shall govern the review of project authorization and building and site permit applications for (1) the construction or substantial alteration of structures in C-3 Districts, (2) the granting of exceptions to certain requirements of this Code where the provisions of this Section are invoked, and (3) the approval of open space and streetscape requirements of the Planning Code. When any action authorized by this Section is taken, any determination with respect to the proposed project required or authorized pursuant to CEQA may also be considered. This Section shall not require additional review in connection with a site or building permit application if review hereunder was completed with respect to the same proposed structure or alteration in connection with a project authorization application pursuant to Section 322.
(a) Exceptions. Exceptions to the following provisions of this Code may be granted as provided in the code sections referred to below:
(2) Exceptions to the ground-level wind current requirements as permitted in Section 148;
(3) Exceptions to the sunlight to public sidewalk requirement as permitted in Section 146;
(4) Exceptions to the limitation on curb cuts for parking access as permitted in Section 155(r);
(5) Exceptions to the limitations on above-grade residential accessory parking as permitted in Section 155(s);
(6) Exceptions to the freight loading and service vehicle space requirements as permitted in Section 161(f);
(7) Exceptions to the off-street tour bus loading space requirements as permitted in Section 162;
(8) Exceptions to the use requirements in the C-3-O(SD) Commercial Special Use Subdistrict in Section 248;
(9) Exceptions to the height limits for buildings taller than 550 feet in height in the S-2 Bulk District for allowance of non-occupied architectural, screening, and rooftop elements that meet the criteria of Section 260(b)(1)(M);
(10) Exceptions to the volumetric limitations for roof enclosures and screens as prescribed in Section 260(b)(1)(F). For existing buildings, exceptions to the volumetric limitations for roof enclosures and screens shall be granted only if all rooftop equipment that is unused or permanently out of operation is removed from the building;
(14) Exceptions to the exposure requirements as permitted in Section 140.
(15) Exceptions to the usable open space requirements as permitted in Section 135.
(16) Exceptions to the Micro-Retail requirements as permitted in Section 249.33.
(17) Exceptions to the height and bulk limits for parcels within the Van Ness & Market Residential Special Use District as defined by Section 270(f)(2). In considering such exceptions, the Planning Commission shall consider the extent to which the project achieves the following: (A) sculpts the building massing to achieve an elegant and creative tower form that enhances the skyline; (B) reduces or minimizes potential impacts on winds and shadows; (C) provides ground floor uses that serve a range of income levels and enrich the social landscape of the area such as: Arts Activities, Child Care Facility, Community Facility, Instructional Service, Public Facility, School, Social Service, priority health service or neighborhood-serving retail; and (D) maximizes housing density within the allowed envelope.
(18) Exceptions to the percent lot coverage requirements of Section 270.2(e)(6) for projects within the Van Ness & Market Residential Special Use District. The Planning Commission shall only grant such exceptions if the Planning Commission finds that: (A) the proposed mid-block alley and percent coverage do not negatively affect the use and purpose of the alley as a means of creating a more efficient pedestrian network, as described in subsections 270.2(a)-(b); and (B) the proposed percent coverage does not negatively impact the quality of the mid-block alley as an area of pedestrian and retail activity and public open space. An exception shall not be granted for any mid-block alley that is less than 35 percent open to the sky.
(19) Exceptions to the required minimum dwelling unit mix in Section 207.6 for projects within the Van Ness & Market Residential Special Use District. In considering such exceptions, the Planning Commission shall consider the following criteria:
(A) whether the project demonstrates a need or mission to serve unique populations; or
(20) Exceptions to the permitted obstructions requirements in Section 136 for projects within the Van Ness & Market Special Use District as defined by Section 270(f)(2). The Planning Commission shall only grant such an exception if it finds that the proposed obstructions assist the proposed development to meet the requirements of Section 148, or otherwise reduce wind speeds at the ground-level or at upper level open space.
(b) Design Review. In addition to the requirements set forth in this Code, additional design requirements and limitations (hereafter referred to as modifications) may be imposed on the following aspects of a proposed project, through the imposition of conditions, in order to achieve the objectives and policies of the General Plan or the purposes of this Code:
(1) Building siting, orientation, massing and facade treatment, including proportion, scale, setbacks, materials, cornice, parapet and fenestration treatment, and design of building tops;
(2) Aspects of the project affecting views and view corridors, shadowing of sidewalks and open spaces, openness of the street to the sky, ground-level wind current, and maintenance of predominant streetwalls in the immediate vicinity;
(3) Aspects of the project affecting parking, traffic circulation and transit operation and loading points;
(4) Aspects of the project affecting its energy consumption;
(5) Aspects of the project related to pedestrian activity, such as placement of entrances, street scale, visual richness, location of retail uses, and pedestrian circulation, and location and design of open space features;
(6) Aspects of the project affecting public spaces adjacent to the project, such as the location and type of street trees and landscaping, sidewalk paving material, and the design and location of street furniture as required by Section 138.1;
(7) Aspects of the project relating to quality of the living environment of residential units, including housing unit size and the provisions of open space for residents;
(8) Aspects of the design of the project which have significant adverse environmental consequences;
(10) Other aspects of the project for which modifications are justified because of its unique or unusual location, environment, topography or other circumstances.
(c) Application Process for 309 Review. Review subject to this Section will be triggered by submittal of a Section 309 Application or submittal of a building or site permit.
(d) Notice of Proposed Approval for Projects that do not require Public Hearing. If an application does not require a Planning Commission hearing pursuant to Subsection 309(e)(1) below, the application or building or site permit may be reviewed and approved administratively. At the determination of the Planning Director, applications for especially significant scopes of work may be subject to the notification requirements of Section 333 of this Code. If a request for Planning Commission review is made pursuant to subsection 309(f), the application will be subject to the notification and hearing procedures of this Section. If no request for Commission review is made, the Zoning Administrator may approve the project administratively.
(e) Hearing and Determination of Applications for Exceptions.
(1) Hearing. The Planning Commission shall hold a public hearing on a Section 309 application if:
(A) The project would result in a net addition of more than 50,000 square feet of gross floor area of space, or
(B) The project includes the construction of a new building greater than 75 feet in height (excluding any exceptions permitted per Section 260(b)), or includes a vertical addition to an existing building with a height of 75 feet or less resulting in a total building height greater than 75 feet; or
(C) The project would require an exception as provided in Subsection 309(a).
(2) Notice of Hearing. Notice of such hearing shall be conducted pursuant to the provisions of Section 333 of this Code.
(3) Decision and Appeal. The Planning Commission may, after public hearing and after making appropriate findings, approve, disapprove or approve subject to conditions, the application for an exception. The decision of the Planning Commission may be appealed to the Board of Appeals by any person aggrieved within 15 days after the date of the decision by filing a written notice of appeal with that Body, setting forth wherein it is alleged that there was an error in the interpretation of the provisions of this Code or abuse of discretion on the part of the Planning Commission.
(4) Decision on Appeal. Upon the hearing of an appeal, the Board of Appeals may approve, disapprove or modify the decision appealed from. If the determination of the Board differs from that of the Commission it shall, in a written decision, specify the error in interpretation or abuse of discretion on the part of the Commission and shall specify in the findings, as part of the written decision, the facts relied upon in arriving at its determination.
(f) Planning Commission Review Upon Request.
(1) Requests. Within 10 days after notice of the proposed Zoning Administrator approval has been given, as provided in subsection (d), any person may request in writing that the Planning Commission impose additional modifications on the project as provided in subsection (b) or consider the application for compliance with the open space and streetscape requirements of the Planning Code. The written request shall state why additional modifications should be imposed notwithstanding its compliance with the requirements of this Code and shall identify the policies or objectives that would be promoted by the imposition of conditions, or shall state why the open space and streetscape requirements have not been complied with.
(2) Commission Consideration. The Planning Commission shall consider at a public hearing each written request for additional modifications and for consideration of the open space and streetscape requirements of the Planning Code compliance and may, by majority vote, direct that a hearing be conducted to consider such modifications or compliance, which hearing may be conducted at the same meeting that the written request is considered and decided. Notice of such hearing shall be provided pursuant to the requirements of Section 333 of this Code, provided that mailed notice shall also be provided to any person who has requested such notice, and to any person who has submitted a request for additional requirements. In determining whether to conduct such a hearing, the Planning Commission shall determine whether, based upon a review of the project, reasonable grounds exist justifying a public hearing in order to consider the proposed additional modifications and the open space and streetscape requirements of the Planning Code compliance.
(3) Commission Action. If the Planning Commission determines to conduct a hearing to consider the imposition of additional modifications or the open space and streetscape requirements compliance, it may, after such hearing and after making appropriate findings, approve, disapprove, or approve subject to conditions the building or site permit or project authorization application. If the Planning Commission determines not to conduct a hearing, the Zoning Administrator shall approve the application subject to any conditions imposed by the Director of Planning to which the applicant has consented.
(i)1 Imposition of Conditions, General. If, pursuant to the provisions of this Section, the Planning Commission determines that conditions should be imposed on the approval of a building or site permit application, or Section 309 application and the applicant agrees to comply, the Planning Commission may approve the application subject to those conditions, and if the applicant refuses to so agree, the Planning Commission may disapprove the application.
(j) Change of Conditions. Authorization of a change in any condition previously imposed pursuant to this Section shall require an application for a change in conditions, which application shall be subject to the procedures set forth in this Section.
(k) An approval action in accordance with this Section shall constitute the City's decision to approve the project for purposes of Administrative Code Chapter 31.
(Added by Ord. 414-85, App. 9/17/85; amended by Ord. 79-87, App. 3/20/87; Ord. 255-88, App. 6/22/88; Ord. 314-95, App. 10/6/95; Ord. 129-06, File No, 060372, App. 6/22/2006; Ord. 140-11, File No. 110482, App. 7/5/2011, Eff. 8/4/2011; Ord. 182-12 , File No. 120665, App. 8/8/2012, Eff. 9/7/2012; Ord. 56-13 , File No. 130062, App. 3/28/2013, Eff. 4/27/2013; Ord. 232-14 , File No. 120881, App. 11/26/2014, Eff. 12/26/2014; Ord. 102-16 , File No. 160346, App. 6/24/2016, Eff. 7/24/2016; Ord. 179-18, File No. 180423, App. 7/27/2018, Eff. 8/27/2018; Ord. 126-20, File No. 200559, App. 7/31/2020, Eff. 8/31/2020)
Undesignated introductory material and divisions (a)-(i) amended; Ord. 140-11, Eff. 8/4/2011. Division (a)(1) amended; new [now former] divisions (a)(9) and (a)(10) added and former divisions (a)(9)-(a)(11) redesignated as [now former] (a)(11)-(a)(13); division (k) added; Ord. 182-12 , Eff. 9/7/2012. [Former] division (a)(7) and division (b) amended; Ord. 56-13 , Eff. 4/27/2013. Former division (a)(4) deleted and former divisions (a)(5)-(13) redesignated as (a)(4)-(12); [now former] divisions (a)(10) and (11) amended; Ord. 232-14 , Eff. 12/26/2014. Division (a)(6) amended; new division (a)(10) added and former divisions (a)(10)-(12) redesignated as (a)(11)-(13); Ord. 102-16 , Eff. 7/24/2016. Divisions (a)(14)-(15) added; divisions (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), and (e)(4) amended; divisions (e)(1)(A)-(C) added; divisions (f)-(f)(3) deleted and former divisions (g)- (g)(3) redesignated as (f)-(f)(3) and (f)(1)-(2) amended; division (h) deleted; Ord. 179-18, Eff. 8/27/2018. Divisions (a)(16)-(20) added; Ord. 126-20, Eff. 8/31/2020.