Eastern Neighborhoods – Change is Coming

May 30, 2008
I ran across the San Francisco Planning Department’s excellent Web site about the Eastern Neighborhoods program a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share this information with you for two reasons. First, it’s a chance to observe over the next 10 years or so how the decisions made now will affect the development of a huge swath of the City. Second, there is still an opportunity to become informed and involved and perhaps made real estate investment decisions based on what you learn. A number of you know I am very bullish on the Mission, and this program supports my enthusiasm.


The Mission, Central Waterfront, East South of Market and Showplace Square/Potrero Hill neighborhoods are home to much of the city’s industrially-zoned land and are the subject of the Eastern Neighborhoods program. As these neighborhoods have changed over the last 10-15 years from industrial use to more residential use, the City has seen a number of land use conflicts and is seeking to improve the situation by doing some of the following:

  • Building Heights: Height limits would be adjusted both up and down in various areas. No heights would be raised above 85 feet.
  • Parking: In mixed-use areas, parking requirements would be changed generally to remove minimum parking requirements and establish maximum requirements instead.
  • Open Space: In many areas, the amount of open space required as part of new development would be increased. Additionally, these spaces will be required to be greener and more usable.
  • Unit Mix: Existing density requirements would be replaced with a bedroom-mix requirement to ensure a diversity of housing units.
  • Zoning Mix:  Transitioning about half of the existing industrial areas in these four neighborhoods to mixed use zones that encourage new housing. The other remaining half would be reserved for “Production, Distribution and Repair” districts, where a wide variety of functions such as Muni vehicle yards, caterers, and performance spaces can continue to exist.

The City is, of course, having public hearings on this important topic.  The next meeting is on June 2 in front of the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee.  For a complete schedule, check here.