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DTNA Land Use Committee

DTNA Land Use Committee is a forum to review and debate building developments and transportation updates that impact our neighborhood's built environment. We discuss topics surrounding housing, city planning & zoning, public-transportation improvements, historic preservation, and neighborhood greening. The Committee takes evidence-based positions on many project proposals in our neighborhood and makes recommendations to the DTNA Board.

The Committee meets on the the third Wednesday of every month, 7:00pm to 8:00pm in the Gazebo, Plaza Level, Davies Campus, Sutter Health CPMC. Please enter and leave on the Plaza Level and not through the hospital. 

Everyone is welcome to join and participate. For additional information, contact Dennis Richards, Land Use Chair. 

Land Use Blog

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  • 12 Jun 2024 10:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As San Francisco moves towards meeting the goals of the Housing Element, the city is re-assessing its zoning plan to ensure that it can meet the state’s requirements. 

    Zoning maps proposed in 2023 focused on high-density corridors along major arteries such as Geary, Van Ness, and Market. Our neighborhood’s excellent Muni connections made Duboce Triangle stand out as an area of particular focus with rezoning to 6-to-8-story buildings, leading us to work closely with SF Planning to ensure that the neighborhood’s voice was heard in the development of updated zoning maps. 

    In April, Mayor Breed requested that the Planning Department rezone much of the city to allow for 6-to-8-story buildings, as those are more likely to be constructed in the current economic environment than the skyscrapers emphasized by the earlier plans.  We are currently waiting for a new set of zoning maps which reflect this new directive.  Once new maps are published, we will work to engage neighbors and provide feedback to SF Planning to chart an equitable path to increased density throughout the city.

    While waiting for the next stage of the rezoning process, the Land Use Committee has turned its attention to other ways of improving the neighborhood’s vibrancy.  To fight blight from empty storefronts, we are launching an initiative to report to the SF Treasurer any storefronts which are not paying the Commercial Vacancy Tax, while we also work with the Castro Merchants and Castro CBD to fill vacancies through their “I’m Available!” program.

    We are also looking for more ways to activate the neighborhood’s public spaces- particularly underutilized bulbout plazas, empty storefronts, and the Noe & Market Commons. We want to hear from you what we can do to help community-building initiatives and new small businesses take advantage of these resources! 

    If you’re interested in sharing your ideas or questions, the Land Use Committee meets at 7-8PM every 3rd Wednesday of the month at the CPMC Davies Gazebo Room (above the Emergency Department entrance).

  • 16 Sep 2023 11:17 PM | Robert Bush (Administrator)

    By Dennis Richards, Chair DTNA Land Use Committee

    This summer the DTNA Land Use committee has been busy crafting input for the San Francisco Planning Department and Supervisor Mandelman’s office in anticipation of the upcoming rezoning of not only Duboce Triangle, but of most of the city west of Twin Peaks. We will vet that input with the wider membership at a special General Meeting on Tuesday September 26. We hope to see everyone who cares about these issues show up for this last chance to provide input that will shape the Triangle for years to come.

    As mentioned in our previous newsletter, committee members have completed a walk-around of part of the Triangle from Church Street to 15th and Noe, to get a sense of what makes our neighborhood so livable and where we hope to steer development in the coming decade.

    We followed up with meetings in June and July and had thoughtful discussions and an exchange of ideas on what we envisioned the rezoning should consider, focusing on what aspects of livability were most important to preserve while encouraging growth. Meeting participants were eloquent and engaged in active listening, appreciating other’s points of view, even when they disagreed. Several of us actually changed some of our opinions as the result of these thoughtful and very cordial discussions.

    The issues we will focus on at the September 26 meeting are imagining how large-scale development can fit in an historic neighborhood, and what that could actually look like, as well as how to upzone with equity in mind, to allow disenfranchised groups access to the high resource areas of the city, including ours. We will also discuss objective design standards for both historic resources as well as for newer buildings that are not historic resources, and what building design should look like in the case of lots that are merged in order to accommodate larger buildings.

    One key issue that we all felt was important was our desire to preserve most aspects of the current mid-block open spaces which comprise all the backyards in a block in which trees and wildlife thrive. While we felt that rear yards could be reduced on some corners in order to welcome more new residents, we also felt strongly that rear yards were incredibly important to us all for livability, for recreating, and to maintain the city’s tree canopy to help meet our carbon goals.

    The Committee agrees that the biggest opportunity site in the neighborhood is the Safeway building and parking lot. Urban Design lecturer at Stanford University Dehan Glanz recently led his undergraduate class in a series of imagined redesigns of the Safeway site. All the ideas were well received not only by members of the Land Use Committee, but also by members of the Safeway’s corporate development division, which suggests they may come to fruition at some point.

    We look forward to hearing your feedback on the work that we have done at the September 26 meeting at Harvey Milk Rec Center. See you there!

  • 13 Feb 2023 11:35 PM | Robert Bush (Administrator)

    Joshua Switzky from SF Planning discussed the newest SF Housing Element and how the new housing density program will focus on equity and inclusion. You can review his presentation here.

    Please feel free to contact Frank Tizedes, DTNA President, or Dennis Richards, Land Use Chair, if you have any questions.

  • 25 Jan 2023 9:03 AM | Kevin Riley

    Yesterday, the San Francisco board of supervisors unanimously (and without comment) voted to approve the Housing Element plan

    Some of you may remember that we had Shelley Caltagirone from the SF Planning Department present the Housing Element at the August 2021 Land Use meeting. At that time, the plan was in its conception, more of a collection of goals than an actual plan. The plan has grown a lot since then, see the link below to the 2873-page document. There is a lot of stuff in here, new requirements from the State have required this Housing Element to be more specific and aggressive than any previous plan. 

    There has been a lot of dysfunction on the City's part in producing this plan. They dragged their feet, found out late last year that the deadline was 90 days sooner than they expected, rushed, and did not have the full outreach to neighborhood groups like ours that we were expecting. 

    I've heard from two neighbors who have been following the developments and are concerned about the zoning impact on the Triangle. If you go to page 595 you can read about the Rezoning Program. The maps on pages 601, 603, and 604 show some pretty substantial upzoning in our neighborhood. These heat maps are very unspecific/diagrammatical in nature but indicate what could be coming. 

    Some hopeful news is that once approved by the State, the SF Planning Department has a three-year period to evaluate specific areas/neighborhoods in the city and how they can appropriately adopt the goals of the housing element. It should be a top priority for DTNA to engage with Planning soon and create opportunities for neighbors to learn about the plan and weigh in on how they think it should be implemented in their community. 

    The not-so-hopeful news is that this review period is kind of uncharted waters. Speaking with Supervisor Mandleman about this, it's unclear the extent of outreach the Planning Department is required to do, how much feedback they need to incorporate, and how much (or little) they are allowed to deviate from the State-approved plan. Nevertheless, DTNA should be at the forefront and make sure voices from our neighborhood are heard. 

    There is a second vote next Tuesday, which is also the deadline for SF's Housing Element to be approved by the state. "Missing the deadline would risk San Francisco losing control over housing approvals within its borders and would also jeopardize funding for transportation projects and affordable housing."

    I imagine this will be an active talking point for the Land Use committee and DTNA Board for the next few years. 

    Housing Element PDF:


    Insightful Chronicle Article:


  • 16 Nov 2022 1:09 PM | Kevin Riley

    Thanks again to those who made it to yesterday's meeting. 

    For those who couldn't make it - we had two excellent presentations from the 1939 Market affordable-housing developer and 2201 Market market-rate developer. While neighbors had some questions and minor concerns, the general sentiment for each project was for support. I think the main concern is that these projects actually get built and do not continue to sit vacant/empty.  

    We also briefly discussed the election results and ballot measures. Prop L (endorsed by DTNA) looks likely to pass, with ~87% of our neighborhood voting in favor. The other proposition DNTA endorsed, Prop D, does not look like it will pass, but a majority of our neighbors (~54%) voted YES. The third ballot measure we discussed but did not take a position on, Prop M, looks to pass with ~65% of our neighborhood in favor. Another notable takeaway is the success of Prop J over Prop I, indicating that most of the city supports pedestrian-prioritized spaces. 

    Finally, as I mentioned at the end of the meeting, I will likely not be continuing next year as the Land Use Chair or on the DTNA Board because I am taking on other responsibilities (getting more involved with AIASF and might be teaching an architecture studio class). It would be great to pass the baton to someone in the Land Use Committee who can lead next year. Please let me know if you are interested or have questions. Without a Chair, the committee may go dormant. 

    The December General Public Meeting will be more social to celebrate our accomplishments this year. I hope to see you all there (check the website and newsletter for more details)! 

  • 22 Sep 2022 5:07 PM | Kevin Riley

    Prop D&E Comparison Chart

    Prop D

    Affordable Homes Now (Initiative Petition)

    Prop E

    Affordable Housing Production Act (BOS)

    Approval Times

    0-150 units: 3 months 

    150+ units: 6 months 

    • No BOS approval 

    • No CEQA (environmental) or discretionary (neighborhoods)

    6 months 

    • BOS approval required for projects using City property or financing

    • BOS can request additional time for any reason 

    • No CEQA (environmental) or discretionary (neighborhoods)

    Path 1: 

    100% Affordable Building 

    140% AMI max for individual units

    • $135,800

    120% AMI max for building average

    • $116,400 

    Approval Streamlining:

    Review and approval with objective standards and ministerial actions only

    120% AMI max for individual units

    • $116,400

    80% AMI max for building average 

    • $77,600

    Approval Streamlining:

    Review and approval with objective standards and ministerial actions only

    Path 2:

     Mixed-income building (10+ units)

    Number of Affordable Units:

    City Inclusionary Rate (currently 22%) + 15% of the inclusionary units. 

    • Example: 22% of 100 unit building = 22 affordable units, + 15% of 22 units = 25 affordable units total

    +15% Affordable Units Requirements:


    Planning Approval Expiration:

    Yes, after 36-months 

    Number of Affordable Units:

    City Inclusionary Rate (currently 22%) + 8% of the Building's total units. 

    • Example: 22% of 100 unit building = 22 affordable units, + 8% of total units = 30 affordable units total

    +8% Affordable Units Requirements:

    Yes, 30% 2BR and 30% 3BR min

    Planning Approval Expiration:

    Yes, after 24-months 

    Path 3:

    Teacher Housing 

    San Francisco Unified School District or City College employee

    Approval Streamlining:

    Review and approval with objective standards and ministerial actions only

    San Francisco Unified School District or City College employee

    Approval Streamlining:

    Review and approval with objective standards and ministerial actions only

    Affordable Housing Reports


    Requires the Mayor to provide annual affordable housing reports in the budget

    Streamlining Expansion 

    BOS can amend City law to apply streamlining to additional housing types.



    10+ units, prevailing wage required

    40+ units, provide health care benefits and offer apprenticeship opportunities 

    10+ units, prevailing wage require

    25+ units, use a % of workers who graduated from apprenticeship (unions)

    Prop D (Affordable Homes Now)

    • Pros

      • Will likely result in a significant amount of new housing 

      • Expands who can access inclusionary housing, creates a path for “missing middle” housing (housing as a human right) 

      • De-politicizes affordable housing approval (objective compliance, not discretionary)

      • Requirements for healthcare and apprenticeship benefits 

    • Cons

      • Less leverage to demand community amenities 

      • Does not require union labor 

    Prop E (Affordable Housing Production Act)

    • Pros

      • Rewards projects with a significant number of affordable units with streamlining 

      • Maintains inclusionary housing access for only low income residents 

      • Demands family-sized units in inclusionary housing 

      • Maintains a percentage union labor

      • Provides a path for Supervisors to leverage community benefits 

    • Cons

      • More regulations to comply with, less projects will quality for streamlining 

      • Maintains the option for discretionary reviews, extended approval times 

      • Cannot be expanded to other housing typologies 


    • Neither ballot measure seems to have a specific or unique impact on Duboce Triangle. 

    • Vote for Prop D if: you want it to be easier to develop housing with at least some affordable units and are okay with less BOS oversight & leverage.  

    • Vote for Prop E if: you are only interested in streamlining housing with a high number of affordable units, and are okay with maintaining BOS oversight & leverage. 


  • 22 Sep 2022 5:06 PM | Kevin Riley

    In August, the Land Use Committee met to discuss the upcoming November ballot measures we felt would have a direct impact on Duboce Triangle, consistent with land use topics discussed in the past – public transportation funding and affordable housing production. The committee tends to ‘nerd out’ on these types of policies and used this meeting to get into the weeds on these initiatives. The discussion centered on reviewing the pros and cons of each measure and giving everyone an opportunity to share their perspective. The ballot measures the committee discussed were: Props D & E - the competing affordable housing streamlining measures, Prop L - a renewal of an existing sales tax for transportation funding, and Prop M - the proposed residential vacancy tax.

    Prop L - Sales Tax for Transportation Projects 

    The committee started the discussion with Prop L, as it seemed the least contested measure on our docket to discuss. A YES vote on this proposition would maintain an existing sales tax used to fund a wide variety of transportation projects - such as public transportation and pedestrian improvements. The committee has long been in support of investments in our roads, sidewalks, and transit lines. As an extension of a tax already in place and generating important revenue, everyone in the meeting expressed support for Prop L.  

    Prop M - Tax on Keeping Residential Units Vacant

    This residential vacancy tax is similar in spirit to the retail vacancy tax (Prop D, approved by voters in 2020), but in this case would apply to vacant residential units. If passed, Prop M would introduce a new tax on landlords/homeowners who have a unit vacant for more than half the year. The tax would only apply to buildings with three or more units (including condos). There are several exemptions from the new tax, including units being renovated. The tax varies depending on the size of the unit, would increase over time, and the revenue would help fund affordable housing.

    Overall, neighbors agreed with the concept of incentivizing landlords to fill vacant units but felt this new tax would not have a significant impact. While supporters liked that revenue would go towards affordable housing, they acknowledged it would likely not be a large amount. Some neighbors who opposed the new tax felt it would be another bureaucratic hoop for landlords to jump through but acknowledged that most small-scale landlords would not be affected (single-family and duplexes being exempt). Other opponents felt the tax did not go far enough and were concerned with the money and personnel that would be needed to enforce the tax. Sentiments in the meeting were split, with about half expressing support and the other half not in favor of the residential vacancy tax - no side particularly passionate either way. 

    Props D & E - Affordable Housing Streamlining 

    The majority of the meeting was spent comparing and discussing Prop D (Affordable Housing – Initiative Petition) and Prop M (Affordable Housing – Board of Supervisors). The discussion was guided by a comparison chart of the two measures. Essentially, Prop D was created by a coalition of housing advocates & developers to allow projects with 25% or more affordable units to skip discretionary reviews (Board of Supervisors and CEQA) and would only have to undergo objective reviews (Planning, Building, and Fire departments). Prop E was created by the Board of Supervisors in reaction to Prop D and would allow projects with 30% or more affordable units to skip discretionary reviews while maintaining the option for the Board of Supervisors to review & approve. 

    There was a general skepticism over the intent of both propositions. Several neighbors felt that the Board of Supervisors has voted down housing for political reasons (not based on the merits of the projects), and CEQA has been used to kill housing. Those folks felt that Prop E was performative in nature - laudable goals but wouldn't really produce more housing while maintaining the Supervisor’s ability to kill housing. Those in favor of Prop E felt that some oversight by the Board of Supervisors should be maintained (allowing neighborhood associations like DTNA to play a role in housing approvals) and that additional streamlining could happen in other areas of the planning process. On the flip side, even the neighbors who expressed skepticism of a developer-funded initiative expressed support for Prop D. Those felt that it was a financially sensible simplification of the planning process that would actually generate desperately needed new housing. Some supporters of Prop D went as far as to say that they would support any measure that limits the Board of Supervisors power to veto housing (in reference to 469 Stevenson St). By the end of the discussion, most neighbors were in support of Prop D (Affordable Homes Now). 

    For more details on measures discussed, visit the Land Use page on dtna.org. To partake in future meetings like the one described, email landuse@dtna.org to join the Land Use email list! 

    By Kevin Riley, Land Use Committee Chair

  • 22 Sep 2022 5:05 PM | Kevin Riley

    Prop D - SUPPORT

    DTNA wants to do whatever we can to support the development and maintenance of affordable housing. While seeing merits in both propositions D & E, the DTNA Board voted to endorse Prop D (Affordable Homes Now).

    Prop L - SUPPORT

    DTNA has long been in support of public transportation and pedestrian improvements. The DTNA Board voted unanimously to endorse Prop L (Sales Tax for Transportation Projects).

    See the “Land Use Committee Discussion of November Ballot Measures” for additional information on the ballot measures discussed.

  • 2 Sep 2022 7:17 AM | Kevin Riley

    From SFMTA:

    New traffic signal changes for Laguna/Hermann/Guerrero, with final paving in early fall 

    On August 22nd the project team turned on the new signals and signal phasing for the Hermann/Laguna/Guerrero intersection. Changes include a new traffic signal for Hermann Street and dedicated left-turn phases off of Market Street. Additional No Right on Red signage, signal timing adjustments, and final markings will be installed in the early fall (September/October) along with the decorative paving for the Hermann/Laguna intersection just north of Market Street. 

    Traffic changes for 16th/Noe intersection planned for September 8

    The newly-installed traffic signal layout for the 16th/Noe/Market intersection will 'go live' on September 8, 2022. As part of these changes, westbound 16th Street will gain a new dedicated left-turn phase onto Market Street; and left-turns onto Market and Noe Street will be restricted from southbound 16th Street. As requested by nearby residents, the southernmost traffic barrier for the Noe Slow Street also will be removed to improve overall access to the 200 block of Noe Street.

    Uplighting wiring and cobblestone repair to begin in mid-September

    After extensive supply chain delays, the wiring for the uplighting is finally set to arrive this week (for real we've been told). The contractor will be seeking a Muni permit to start the wiring along with center median cobblestone and targeted roadway base repair near the Muni track lanes. Work is expected to begin at the 16th- Castro block and work eastward toward Buchanan Street. Temporary travel and turn lane restrictions should be expected during construction hours (generally 9am to 3:30pm).

    We will certainly keep everyone aware when the uplighting wiring is complete and we are close to turning on this much-anticipated feature. 

    Construction activities to pick up in the Market/Octavia/Central Freeway area

    Supply chain issues that have been holding up work at Octavia are also expected to be resolved soon. The contractor will begin reconstruction of the McCoppin/Market crosswalk in the coming days before moving to the Central Freeway and Octavia intersection to modify medians, curb ramps, and the location of the existing red light camera. Construction-related impacts to Market Street and Central Freeway travel lanes should be expected starting in October, with construction lasting approximately two months.

    Decorative Muni railings to be fully installed by the end of September

    The contractor will be installing railings at the final few locations in the coming weeks, with the Jane Warner Plaza location to be completed in time for the Castro Street Fair. Clear Channel has been requested to begin re-installing bus shelters as quickly as they can where the new railings are in place.

    Sanchez/15th traffic signal, decorative crosswalk coming in early fall

    Sidewalk work at this location is substantially complete but no firm date yet has been scheduled for a traffic signal switchover or completion of the decorative crosswalk and final striping.

  • 1 Aug 2022 7:21 PM | Kevin Riley

    As usual, there will be several measures on the ballot this November election. A couple measures focus on on housing and relate to the conversations we have at the DTNA Land Use committee. The committee has been specifically focused on the two competing housing streamlining measures and the residential vacancy tax. Below are some links we have found to articles and research about these measures. 

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