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(a) Purpose. The purpose of this Section 328 is to ensure that all HOME-SF projects under Section 206.3 are reviewed in a timely manner. While most projects in the HOME-SF Program will likely be somewhat larger than their surroundings in order to facilitate higher levels of affordable housing, the Planning Commission and Department shall ensure that each project is consistent with the Affordable Housing Bonus Design Guidelines and any other applicable design guidelines, as adopted and periodically amended by the Planning Commission, so that projects respond to their surrounding context, while still meeting the City’s affordable housing goals.
(c) Planning Commission Design Review. The Planning Commission shall review and evaluate all physical aspects of a HOME-SF Project at a public hearing. The Planning Commission recognizes that most qualifying projects will need to be larger in height and mass than surrounding buildings in order to achieve HOME-SF’s affordable housing goals. However, the Planning Commission may, consistent with the Affordable Housing Bonus Program Design Guidelines, and any other applicable design guidelines, and upon recommendation from the Planning Director, make minor modifications to a project to reduce the impacts of such differences in scale. The Planning Commission, upon recommendation of the Planning Director, may also apply the standards of Section 261.1 to bonus floors for all projects on narrow streets and alleys to ensure that these streets do not become overshadowed, including potential upper story setbacks, and special consideration for the southern side of East-West streets, and Mid-block passages, as long as such setbacks do not result in a smaller number of residential units.
Additionally, as set forth in subsection (d) below, the Planning Commission may grant minor exceptions to the provisions of this Code. However, such exceptions should only be granted to allow building mass to appropriately shift to respond to surrounding context, and only when such modifications do not substantially reduce or increase the overall building envelope permitted by the Program under Section 206.3. All modifications and exceptions should be consistent with the Affordable Housing Bonus Program Design Guidelines and any other applicable design guidelines. In case of a conflict with other applicable design guidelines, the Affordable Housing Bonus Program Design Guidelines shall prevail.
The Planning Commission may require these or other modifications or conditions, or disapprove a project, in order to achieve the objectives and policies of the Affordable Housing Bonus Programs or the purposes of this Code. This review shall limited to design issues including the following:
(1) whether the bulk and massing of the building is consistent with the Affordable Housing Bonus Design Guidelines.
(2) whether building design elements including, but not limited to architectural treatments, facade design, and building materials, are consistent with the Affordable Housing Bonus Program Design Guidelines and any other applicable design guidelines.
(3) whether the design of lower floors, including building setback areas, commercial space, townhouses, entries, utilities, and parking and loading access is consistent with the Affordable Housing Bonus Program Design Guidelines, and any other applicable design guidelines.
(4) whether the required streetscape and other public improvements such as tree planting, street furniture, and lighting are consistent with the Better Streets Plan, and any other applicable design guidelines.
(5) if the project involves the merging of two or more lots resulting in more than 125 feet in lot frontage on any one street, whether the project is consistent with the Affordable Housing Bonus Program Design Guidelines, and any other applicable design guidelines.
(d) Exceptions. As a component of the review process under this Section 328, the Planning Commission may grant minor exceptions to the provisions of this Code as provided for below, in addition to the development bonuses granted to the project in Section 206.3. Such exceptions, however, should only be granted to allow building mass to appropriately shift to respond to surrounding context, and only when the Planning Commission finds that such modifications do not substantially reduce or increase the overall building envelope permitted by the HOME-SF Program under Section 206.3, and also are consistent with the Affordable Housing Bonus Design Guidelines. These exceptions may include:
(1) Exception from residential usable open space requirements per Section 135, or any applicable special use district.
(2) Exception from satisfaction of loading requirements per Section 152.1, or any applicable special use district.
(3) Exception for rear yards, pursuant to the requirements of Section 134, or any applicable special use district.
(4) Exception from dwelling unit exposure requirements of Section 140, or any applicable special use district.
(5) Exception from satisfaction of accessory parking requirements per Section 152.1, or any applicable special use district.
(6) Where not specified elsewhere in this subsection (d), modification of other Code requirements that could otherwise be modified as a Planned Unit Development (as set forth in Section 304), irrespective of the zoning district in which the property is located.
(e) Required Findings. In its review of any project pursuant to this Section 328, the Planning Commission shall make the following findings:
(1) the use as proposed will comply with the applicable provisions of this Code and is consistent with the General Plan; and
(2) the use as proposed will provide development that is in conformity with the stated purpose of the applicable Use District.
(f) Additional Criteria. The Planning Commission shall consider the extent to which the following criteria are met:
(1) whether the project would require the demolition of an existing building;
(2) whether the project would remove existing commercial or retail uses;
(3) If the project would remove existing commercial or retail uses, how recently the commercial or retail uses were occupied by a tenant or tenants;
(4) whether the project includes commercial or retail uses;
(5) whether there is an adverse impact on the public health, safety, and general welfare due to the loss of commercial or retail uses in the district where the project is located; and
(6) whether any existing commercial or retail use has been designated, or is eligible to be designated, as a Legacy Business under Administrative Code Section 2A.242; or is a formula retail business.
(g) Other Required Findings. Pursuant to Section 206.3(e)(4), a HOME-SF Project shall be exempt from any other discretionary approval process by the Planning Commission, including but not limited to a conditional use authorization, unless that conditional use authorization requirement or other discretionary approval process was adopted by the voters of San Francisco. If a HOME-SF Project would otherwise require a conditional use authorization due to the type of use or use size, then the Planning Commission shall make any findings or comply with any criteria required by such conditional use requirement. If a HOME-SF Project would otherwise require a conditional use authorization to provide parking in excess of what is principally permitted, the Planning Commission shall make the findings required by Section 151.1(f) as part of the Section 328 HOME-SF Project Authorization.
(h) Hearing and Decision.
(1) Hearing. The Planning Commission shall hold a public hearing for all projects that are subject to this Section 328 within 180 days of submittal of a complete project application, unless the Environmental Review Officer determines that an environmental impact report is required for the project under Administrative Code Section 31.09.
(3) Director’s Recommendations on Modifications and Exceptions. At the hearing, the Planning Director shall review for the Commission key issues related to the project based on the review of the project pursuant to subsection (c) and recommend to the Commission modifications, if any, to the project and conditions for approval as necessary. The Director shall also make recommendations to the Commission on any proposed exceptions pursuant to subsection (d).
(4) Decision and Imposition of Conditions. The Commission, after public hearing and, after making appropriate findings, may approve, disapprove, or approve subject to conditions, the project and any associated requests for exceptions. As part of its review and decision, the Planning Commission may impose additional conditions, requirements, modifications, and limitations on a proposed project in order to achieve the objectives, policies, and intent of the General Plan or of this Code.
(5) Appeal. 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 the Board of Appeals, setting forth wherein it is alleged that there was an error in the interpretation of the provisions of this Section 328 or abuse of discretion on the part of the Planning Commission. The procedures and requirements for appeals in Section 309(e)(3) and (4) shall apply to appeals to the Board of Appeals under this Section 328.
(6) Discretionary Review. No requests for discretionary review shall be accepted by the Planning Department or heard by the Planning Commission for projects subject to this Section 328.
(7) Change of Conditions. Once a project is approved, authorization of a change in any condition previously imposed by the Planning Commission shall require approval by the Planning Commission subject to the procedures set forth in this Section 328.
(9) Expiration of Planning Commission approval. Authorization of a HOME-SF Project under this Section 328 shall expire if the project sponsor has not procured a building permit or site permit for construction of the project within 36 months of the date of Planning Commission approval. Such deadline shall be extended in the event of any appeal of such authorization for the duration of the appeal, and in the event of litigation seeking to invalidate the approval for the duration of the litigation.
(Former Sec. 328 added by Ord. 298-08, File No. 081153, App. 12/19/2008; redesignated as Sec. 428A by Ord. 270-10, File No. 100917, App. 11/5/2010)
Division (g) amended; Ord. 15-19, Eff. 3/11/2019.