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(1) In April 2013, the Planning Commission adopted the Small Business Priority Processing Pilot Program. The stated goal of the pilot program was to accelerate the review of certain small business applications without compromising the review times of other applications.
(2) Building on the success of the pilot program, Planning Department staff in consultation with staff from the Office of Small Business proposed expanding the program to additional types of applications. The expanded program was adopted by the Planning Commission in February 2015 and renamed the Community Business Priority Processing Program. As expressed in the Commission’s adoption Resolution No. 19323, the intent was to support the business community – especially small and mid-sized businesses – and to increase efficiencies in the way the Commission and Department handle related applications.
(3) By enacting this Section 303.2, the Board of Supervisors underscores the importance of small and mid-sized businesses to the economic vitality of San Francisco’s neighborhoods and to the City as a whole, its residents, and visitors. The intent of this Section 303.2 is to expedite the review and hearing process for these vital small and mid-sized businesses without compromising public notice and input or the review times of other applications, and to build upon the success of the Community Business Priority Process Program by expanding the scope of eligible projects and ensuring that all eligible projects are considered accordingly, while preserving critical opportunities for community input and accountability to the legislative branch of government.
(4) The Calle 24 Special Use District is still in its infancy. and due to its unique history and special identity the projects within its boundaries require special consideration in order to retain, enhance, and support its character. It is, therefore, exempted from the priority processing provisions of this Section 303.2.
The City first recognized the area’s unique history and special character in 2014, when in Resolution No. 168-14 it established the Calle 24 (“Veinticuatro”) Latino Cultural District. The Resolution memorialized “a place whose richness of culture, history and entrepreneurship is unrivaled in San Francisco.” A 2014 report by San Francisco Architectural Heritage found that many of the long-standing community-serving businesses within the area were at risk of displacement due to San Francisco’s volatile economic climate despite continued value and a record of success.
The special character of the area was further recognized in 2017 when Ordinance No. 85-17 was enacted to establish the Calle 24 Special Use District. In enacting that ordinance, the Board specifically found, among other things, that “[t]he mix of businesses and uses, including Legacy Businesses, murals, festivals and architectural neighborhood design and character in the Calle 24 Special Use District contribute to a strong sense of neighborhood and a unifying identify.” 1 This area continues to require special consideration in order to retain, enhance, and support its unique history and character, including providing economic and workforce opportunities for local residents, supporting the production and offering of local or Latino artwork, and making sure that the area offers a range of goods and services available and accessible to residents, including immigrant and low-income and moderate-income households.
(b) Priority Processing for Certain Uses. Applications for Conditional Use authorization that comply with the requirements of subsection (c) are eligible for priority processing and a prorated application fee. Eligibility for priority processing shall not require any application separate from a completed application for Conditional Use authorization. Unless modified by this Section 303.2 , the provisions of Section 303 shall apply.
(c) Eligibility for Priority Processing. An application for a Conditional Use authorization qualifies for priority processing (“eligible application”) pursuant to this Section 303.2 if it complies with all of the following requirements:
(1) It pertains exclusively to Non-Residential Uses;
(2) It is limited to changes of use, tenant improvements, or other interior or storefront work;
(3) It does not involve the removal of any Dwelling Units;
(4) It does not involve a Formula Retail use;
(5) It does not propose or require the consolidation of multiple storefronts;
(6) It does not seek to provide off-street parking in a quantity beyond that allowed as of right;
(7) It does not seek to establish, expand, or intensify activities during hours of operation beyond those permitted as of right;
(8) It does not seek to sell alcoholic beverages for either on-site or off-premises consumption, excepting beer and/or wine sold in conjunction with the operation of a Bona Fide Eating Place;
(9) It does not seek to establish or expand any of the following uses:
(A) Adult Entertainment.
(C) Drive-up Facility.
(D) Fringe Financial Service.
(E) Medical Cannabis Dispensary.
(F) Nighttime Entertainment.
(G) Non-Retail Sales and Service that is closed to the general public.
(H) Tobacco Paraphernalia Establishment.
(I) Wireless Communication Facility; and
(10) Is not within the Calle 24 Special Use District, as described and set forth in Section 249.59 of this Code.
If the application qualifies for priority processing, the Department shall notify the applicant of the date of acceptance of the complete application and of the applicant’s eligibility for priority processing. The application fee shall be prorated pursuant to subsection (f).
(d) Expedited Commission Hearing. An eligible application shall be scheduled for a public hearing on the Planning Commission’s consent calendar within 90 days from the date that the application has been deemed complete, unless the hearing date is extended pursuant to subsection (e). An application is deemed complete when the application and filing fee have been accepted by the Department. The Planning Commission shall develop rules and regulations to ensure that eligible applications are heard and determined within 90 days without compromising the review times of other applications.
(e) Extension of Commission Hearing Date. The Planning Commission may at any time adopt a one-time extension of not more than 60 days of the hearing date for an eligible application beyond 90 days if:
(1) the Planning Director or the Director’s designee requests in writing that the item be removed from the Commission’s consent calendar; or
(2) any member of the Planning Commission requests that the item be removed from the Commission’s consent calendar; or
(3) any neighborhood organization maintained on a list by the Planning Department pursuant to subsection 311(d)(4) submits within 60 days of the submission of a complete Conditional Use authorization application, or at any point prior to the Planning Commission’s scheduled hearing, a letter of opposition or written request that the item be removed from the Commission’s consent calendar.
(f) Reduced Application Fee; Fee Refund. The fee for an application that meets the priority processing requirements of subsection (c) shall be 50% of the otherwise applicable fee established by Section 350 of this Code. If the Planning Commission does not hold a hearing on a Conditional Use application that is eligible for priority processing within 90 days of the date the application is deemed complete, or within the additional time allotted if the Commission continues the matter pursuant to subsection (e), the applicant shall be entitled to a full refund of the application fee.
(g) Report to the Board of Supervisors. One year from the effective date of this Section 303.2 and for three years thereafter on an annual basis, the Planning Department shall submit to the Board of Supervisors a report showing the number and percentage of eligible applications that are considered within 90 days of the date the Department has deemed the application complete and the reason or reasons why eligible applications were not heard within 90 days, if any.
(Added by Ord. 139-20, File No. 200214, App. 8/28/2020, Eff. 9/28/2020)