Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(a) Purpose. The purpose of this Section 315 is to ensure that any project where the principal use is affordable housing, defined in subsection (b) as an Affordable Housing Project, is reviewed in coordination with relevant priority processing and design guidelines.
(b) Applicability. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Planning Code, this Section 315 shall apply to any project where the principal use is housing comprised solely of housing that is restricted for a minimum of 55 years or the Life of the Project, whichever is longer and consistent with any applicable tax credit regulatory requirements, as affordable for “persons and families of low or moderate income,” as defined in California Health & Safety Code Section 50093 (an “Affordable Housing Project”). The Affordable Housing Project shall be considered a principally permitted use and shall comply with the administrative review procedures set forth in this Section and shall not require conditional use authorization or a Planning Commission hearing that otherwise may be required by the Planning Code, provided that the site is not under the jurisdiction of the Recreation and Park Department, is not located in a zoning district that prohibits residential uses.
(1) If a conditional use authorization or other Planning Commission approval is required for provision of parking, where the amount of parking provided exceeds the base amount permitted as accessory in Planning Code Article 1.5, such requirement shall apply.
(2) If an Affordable Housing Project proposes demolition or change in use of a general grocery store or movie theatre, this Section shall not apply.
(3) If a non-residential use contained in any proposed project would require conditional use authorization, such requirement shall apply unless the non-residential use is accessory to and supportive of the affordable housing on-site.
(c) Review Process.
(1) In lieu of any otherwise required Planning Commission authorization and associated hearing, the Planning Department shall administratively review and evaluate the physical aspects of an Affordable Housing Project and review such projects in coordination with relevant priority processing and expedited design guidelines. The review of an Affordable Housing Project shall be conducted as part of, and incorporated into, a related building permit application or other required project authorizations, and no additional application fee shall be required. An Affordable Housing Project may seek exceptions to Planning Code requirements that are available through the Planning Code. This includes, but is not limited to, those exceptions permitted through Sections 253, 303, 304, 309, and 329. The Planning Department may grant such exceptions if it makes the findings as required in subsection (c)(2). An Affordable Housing Project may seek exceptions from other Code requirements that could otherwise be granted to a Planned Unit Development as set forth in Section 304, irrespective of the zoning district in which the property is located and irrespective of lot size requirements set forth in Section 304, and provided further that conditional use authorization shall not be required.
(2) This administrative review shall be identical in purpose and intent to any Planning Commission review that would otherwise be required by the Planning Code, including but not limited to Sections 253, 303, 304, 309 or 329, but shall not be considered a conditional use authorization. If an Affordable Housing Project would otherwise be subject to such Planning Code provisions, the Planning Department shall consider all the criteria set forth in such Planning Code sections and shall make all required findings in writing when it approves, modifies, conditions, or disapproves an Affordable Housing Project. If the project is seeking exceptions solely as provided in this Section 315, the Department shall only make those required findings set forth in Section 303(c) of this Code.
(3) Decision and Imposition of Conditions. The Planning Department, after making appropriate findings, may approve, disapprove or approve subject to conditions the Affordable Housing Project and any associated requests for exceptions as part of a related building permit application or other required project authorizations. As part of its review and decision, the Planning Department may impose additional conditions, requirements, modifications, and limitations on a proposed Affordable Housing Project in order to achieve the objectives, policies, and intent of the General Plan or the Planning Code. Such determination shall be made in writing and mailed to the project sponsor and individuals or organizations who so request.
(4) Change of Conditions. Once a project is approved, authorization of a change in any condition previously imposed by the Planning Department shall require approval by the Planning Director subject to the procedures set forth in this Section 315.
(5) Discretionary Review. As long as the Planning Commission has delegated its authority to the Planning Department to review applications for an Affordable Housing Project, the Planning Commission shall not hold a public hearing for discretionary review of an Affordable Housing Project that is subject to this Section 315.
(6) Review under this subsection (c) shall be completed as follows:
(A) Within 90 day1 of submittal of a complete development application if the project contains 150 or fewer Residential Units.
(B) Within 180 days of submittal of a complete development application if the project contains more than 150 Residential Units.
(d) Appeals. The Planning Department’s administrative determination regarding an Affordable Housing Project pursuant to this Section 315 shall be considered part of a related building permit. Any appeal of such determination shall be made through the associated building permit.
(e) Streamlined Provisions for Educator Housing Projects. The purpose of this Section 315(e) is to facilitate the construction of Educator Housing Projects, as defined in Section 206.9, and to evaluate the efficacy of streamlined approval for such projects.
(2) The Planning Department may approve up to a total of 500 units of Educator Housing under this Section, after which the Planning Department shall submit a report to the Board of Supervisors that evaluates the efficacy of streamlined approval for Educator Housing as it relates to City policies and goals including, but not limited to Proposition K (November 2014), the Housing Element of the San Francisco General Plan, and the Surplus Land Ordinance, and reviews whether to increase the numerical cap on the number of Educator Housing Project units or otherwise amend the modifications and requirements in Section 206.9. The report shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following information:
(A) Financing details of Educator Housing Projects, including the amount of public subsidy, if any;
(B) Tenant recruitment and leasing outreach plans for non-residential neighborhood-serving uses;
(C) Eligibility and placement plans for Educator Housing Projects constructed in partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District or the San Francisco City College District;
(D) The number of educators/employees who have applied for housing in an Educator Housing Project;
(E) Area Median Incomes for Educator Housing Projects; and
(F) Plans for monitoring and verifying eligibility on an annual basis.
(Former Sec. 315 added by Ord. 37-02, File No. 001262, App. 4/5/2002; amended by Ord. 101-07, File No. 060529, App. 5/4/2007; Ord. 198-07, File No. 070444, App. 8/10/2007; redesignated as Sec. 415 and amended by Ord. 108-10, File No. 091275, App. 5/25/2010)
Divisions (c)(1)-(3) and (c)(5) amended; division (d) added; Ord. 179-18, Eff. 8/27/2018. Section heading amended; divisions (b) and (c)(1) amended; divisions (c)(6)-(c)(6)(B) and (e)-(e)(2)(F) added; Proposition E, Eff. 12/20/2019.
1. So in Proposition E, 11/5/2019.