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(See Interpretations related to this Section.)
The following requirements for minimum front setback areas shall apply to every building in all RH, RTO, and RM Districts, in order to relate the setbacks provided to the existing front setbacks of adjacent buildings. Buildings in RTO Districts which have more than 75 feet of street frontage are additionally subject to the Ground Floor Residential Design Guidelines, as adopted and periodically amended by the Planning Commission. Planned Unit Developments or PUDs, as defined in Section 304, shall also provide landscaping in required setbacks in accord with Section 132(g).
(a) Basic Requirement. Where one or both of the buildings adjacent to the subject property have front setbacks along a Street or Alley, any building or addition constructed, reconstructed, or relocated on the subject property shall be set back to the average of the two adjacent front setbacks. If only one of the adjacent buildings has a front setback, or if there is only one adjacent building, then the required setback for the subject property shall be equal to one-half the front setback of such adjacent building. In any case in which the lot constituting the subject property is separated from the lot containing the nearest building by an undeveloped lot or lots for a distance of 50 feet or less parallel to the Street or Alley, such nearest building shall be deemed to be an “adjacent building,” but a building on a lot so separated for a greater distance shall not be deemed to be an “adjacent building.”
(b) Alternative Method of Averaging. If, under the rules stated in subsection (a) above, an averaging is required between two adjacent front setbacks, or between one adjacent setback and another adjacent building with no setback, the required setback on the subject property may alternatively be averaged in an irregular manner within the depth between the setbacks of the two adjacent buildings, provided that the area of the resulting setback shall be at least equal to the product of the width of the subject property along the Street or Alley times the setback depth required by subsections (a) and (c) of this Section 132; and provided further, that all portions of the resulting setback area on the subject property shall be directly exposed laterally to the setback area of the adjacent building having the greater setback. In any case in which this alternative method of averaging has been used for the subject property, the extent of the front setback on the subject property for purposes of subsection (c) below relating to subsequent development on an adjacent site shall be considered to be as required by subsection (a) above, in the form of a single line parallel to the Street or Alley.
(c) Method of Measurement. The extent of the front setback of each adjacent building shall be taken as the horizontal distance from the property line along the Street or Alley to the building wall closest to such property line, excluding all projections from such wall, all decks and garage structures and extensions, and all other obstructions.
(d) Applicability to Special Lot Situations.
(1) Corner Lots and Lots at Alley Intersections. On a Corner Lot as defined in Section 102 of this Code, or a lot at the intersection of a Street and an Alley or two Alleys, a front setback area shall be required only along the Street or Alley elected by the owner as the front of the property. Along such Street or Alley, the required setback for the subject lot shall be equal to one-half the front setback of the adjacent building.
(2) Lots Abutting Properties That Front on Another Street or Alley. In the case of any lot that abuts along its side lot line upon a lot that fronts on another Street or Alley, the lot on which it so abuts shall be disregarded, and the required setback for the subject lot shall be equal to the front setback of the adjacent building on its opposite side.
(3) Lots Abutting RC, C, M, and P Districts. In the case of any lot that abuts property in an RC, C, M, or P District, any property in such district shall be disregarded, and the required setback for the subject lot shall be equal to the front setback of the adjacent building in the RH, RTO, or RM District.
(e) Maximum Requirements. The maximum required front setback in any of the cases described in this Section 132 shall be 15 feet from the property line along the Street or Alley, or 15% of the average depth of the lot from such Street or Alley, whichever results in the lesser requirement. Where a lot faces on a Street or Alley less than or equal to 40 feet in width, the maximum required setback shall be ten feet from the property line or 15% of the average depth of the lot from such Street or Alley, whichever results in the lesser requirement. The required setback for lots located within the Bernal Heights Special Use District is set forth in Section 242 of this Code.
(f) Permitted Obstructions. Only those obstructions specified in Section 136 of this Code shall be permitted in a required front setback area, and no other obstruction shall be constructed, placed or maintained within any such area. No motor vehicle, trailer, boat or other vehicle shall be parked or stored within any such area, except as specified in Section 136.
(g) Landscaping and Permeable Surfaces. The landscaping and Permeable Surface requirements of this subsection (g) and subsection (h) below shall be met by the permittee in the case of construction of a new building; the addition of a new Dwelling Unit, a garage, or additional parking; any addition to a structure that would result in an increase of 20% or more of the existing Gross Floor Area; a Residential Merger, as defined in Section 317; or paving or repaving more than 200 square feet of the front setback. All front setback areas required by this Section 132 shall be appropriately landscaped, meet any applicable water use requirements of Administrative Code Chapter 63, and in every case not less than 20% of the required setback area shall be and remain unpaved and devoted to plant material, including the use of climate appropriate plant material as defined in Public Works Code Section 802.1. For the purposes of this Section 132, permitted obstructions as defined by Section 136(c)(6) chimneys, Section 136(c)(14) steps, and Section 136(c)(26) underground garages, shall be excluded from the front setback area used to calculate the required landscape and Permeable Surface area. If the required setback area is entirely taken up by one or more permitted obstructions, the Zoning Administrator may allow the installation of sidewalk landscaping that is compliant with applicable water use requirements of Chapter 63 of the Administrative Code to satisfy the requirements of this Section 132, subject to permit approval from the Department of Public Works in accordance with Public Works Code Section 810B.
(h) Permeable Surfaces. The front setback area shall be at least 50% permeable so as to increase stormwater infiltration. The Permeable Surface may be inclusive of the area counted towards the landscaping requirement; provided, however, that turf pavers or similar planted hardscapes shall be counted only toward the Permeable Surface requirement and not the landscape requirement.
(1) The Zoning Administrator, after consultation with the Director of Public Works, may waive the Permeable Surface requirement if the site does not qualify as a suitable location pursuant to Department of Public Works rules and regulations.
(2) If the site receives stormwater run-off from outside the lot boundaries, the Zoning Administrator, after consultation with the General Manager of the Public Utilities Commission, may modify the Permeable Surface requirement to include alternative management strategies, such as bio-retention or other strategies, pursuant to Public Utilities Commission rules and regulations.
(i) Planned Unit Developments. In addition to the front yard landscaping requirements in Section 132(g). Planned Unit Developments are required to install the following front yard landscape features.
(1) Where ground floor setbacks are required, landscaping is also required in the setbacks per Section 132(g). All building setback areas not occupied by steps, porches or other permitted obstructions shall be Permeable Surfaces. Setbacks should be designed to provide access to landscaped areas, encouraging active use by residents.
(A) A water source should be provided for each residential setback reachable by a 30-foot hose.
(B) To allow for landscaping and street trees at street grade, below-grade parking shall be located at a depth below any surface of the setback to provide a minimum soil depth of 3 feet 6 inches.
(2) The Zoning Administrator is authorized to modify the additional landscaping requirements for Planned Unit Developments. The Zoning Administrator shall allow modifications only when he or she finds that modifications provide equal or greater ecological benefit than the above requirements, including the use of climate appropriate plant materials as defined in Public Works Code Section 802.1. Acceptable modifications may include alternative landscape treatments such as landscaped berms, detention or retention basins, perimeter plantings, pedestrian lighting, benches and seating areas, or additional landscaping and tree planting elsewhere on the site or on the adjacent public right-of-way itself, subject to permit approval from the Department of Public Works.
(Amended by Ord. 443-78, App. 10/6/78; Ord. 32-91, App. 1/25/91; Ord. 219-02, File No. 020493, App. 11/8/2002; Ord. 72-08, File No. 071157, App. 4/3/2008; Ord. 298-08, File No. 081153, App. 12/19/2008; Ord. 84-10, File No. 091453, App. 4/22/2010; Ord. 310-10, File No. 101194, App. 12/16/2010; Ord. 56-13 , File No. 130062, App. 3/28/2013, Eff. 4/27/2013; Ord. 188-15 , File No. 150871, App. 11/4/2015, Eff. 12/4/2015; Ord. 23-16 , File No. 150494, App. 3/4/2016, Eff. 4/3/2016; Ord. 202-18, File No. 180557, App. 8/10/2018, Eff. 9/10/2018; Ord. 206-19, File No. 190048, App. 9/13/2019, Eff. 10/14/2019; Ord. 63-20, File No. 200077, App. 4/24/2020, Eff. 5/25/2020)
Division (g) amended; former divisions (i)(1)(i) and (ii) redesignated as divisions (i)(1)(A) and (B); Ord. 56-13 , Eff. 4/27/2013. Division (g) amended; Ord. 188-15 , Eff. 12/4/2015. Division (g) amended; Ord. 23-16 , Eff. 4/3/2016. Section header and divisions (g), (h)-(h)(2), and (i)(1) amended; Ord. 202-18, Eff. 9/10/2018. Divisions (a) through (e) amended; Ord. 206-19, Eff. 10/14/2019. Division (d)(1) amended; Ord. 63-20, Eff. 5/25/2020.