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SF Planning: Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Zoning Controls

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Just some of the diverse housing stock in San Francisco

The Planning Department issued its epic Zoning Controls on the Removal of Dwelling Units yesterday, clocking in at thirty pages, and along with the expected restrictions on removing affordable rental units in multi-family dwellings it also outlines the future of demolition in San Francisco. The basic thrust is to preserve the ability of San Franciscans to rent affordable housing in safe, historic and diverse places. Volatile, much? With only one short paragraph on the demon issue of condo/TIC conversions, it's mostly about structures and subtitled Planning Code Implementation Document. Kudos to Planning for making it all comprehensible, even if we had to read some things twice.

Included is a handy step-by-step guide to demolition approval, and Planning takes a stand on sustainability:

Sustainability experts have lent credence to the commonsense tenet that “the Greenest building is the one that already exists.” The environmental benefits of the most sustainable new residential building possible to construct would not offset the negative impacts created by the loss of embedded resources in its demolished predecessor. When the City adopted an amendment to its Building Code to create “The Green Building Ordinance,” Section 13C, it acknowledged this concept by mandating that new buildings subject to its requirements have to meet higher sustainability standards to offset the loss of the existing embedded resources.Greenwashing codified? Maybe. Conversion to non-dwelling units is covered, as are mergers. Apparently putting two or more units together to make a bigger one is frowned upon. Even if you leave the kitchens in and just use a door to connect them. The other nuggets we came away with: you can demolish anything declared hazardous; anything built before 1906 is assumed to have been built with permits; as far as Chinatown is concerned, forget about removing rental housing. Not happening.
· Zoning Controls on the Removal of Dwelling Units (.pdf) [SF Planning]
· San Francisco Planning Department [SF Planning]