What is Zoning?

Zoning is the way governments control the physical development of land. Zoning consists in a set of regulations or codes that defines what one can build on a property. The zoning specifies the lot size,building's setbacks, maximum height, use and a lot more. In order to find out which codes impact a specific property and how they get translated in a built structure, you'd have to do a Zoning or Site Analysis.

What is Zoning Analysis and when do I need it?

A typical Zoning Analysis gives you the type and size of structures that may be allowed to build on the property compared with the existing improvements on the lot. As a home owner, regardless you may want to add only a bedroom to the existing house or to build a new one,you'll have to do a Zoning Analysis. You'll find this Zoning Analysis as part of the CityStructure Report .

The most appropriate time for a Zoning Analysis is before purchasing a property. If not done at the right time, home buyers may find out too late that they cannot to build as much as they'd need. This is why Prospective home buyers, should understand the real potential of a property to avoid losing money and being disappointed by their purchase.

What is the value added to a real estate agent by CityStructure Report?

We've spent a lot of time understanding what a buyer wants to understand before purchasing a home. Regardless the purchase for their own use or for investment, the pivoting point was understanding the potential development of that property which includes Zoning Analysis.Typically, the cost of this type of analysis starts at $1,500 and it's done by architects, designers or land use attorneys. The value of the fees becomes so prohibitive for this initial stage that prospective buyers would rather skip on that property. This is why CityStructure Report packaged all these relevant building and planning information with visuals of the potential new improved structure so no listing would go overlooked. In this stage you, their Realtor just need to provide rough estimates to your client to understand how much it could be built on a property. However, without the guidance of a professional or previous experience, presenting this information to your client might be challenging, costly and have liabilities. CityStructure Report coves you from multiple angles.

What means a historic building category A in San Francisco?

Category A or historic resource properties include buildings listed in or formally determined eligible for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources, or listed in an adopted local historic register. The term “local historic register” or “local register of historical resources” means a list of resources that are officially designated or recognized as historically significant by a local government pursuant to resolution or ordinance.This property will be evaluated as historical resources for purposes of CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act).
The buildings under this category have to follow very strict design guidelines from the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the treatment of historic properties as soon as cominsing any alteration. Owner would have to take into consideration the design limitations of the facade and interiors which may also determine additional costs due to preservation process of it's features.

What means a historic building category B in San Francisco?

Category B or unknown historic status properties include buildings that require further consultation and review. “Not evaluated” or which have a temporary designation NRSC/CHRSC of 7 while waiting for evaluation from the State Office of Historic Preservation will need additional investigation to determine what the underlying information / evidence is regarding its historic status.
An application needs to be filed with Historical Preservation to evaluate the existing structure in order to determine if it’s Category A (historical resource) or Category C (not a historical resource).

What means a historic building category C in San Francisco?

Category C are properties determined not to be historical resources or properties for which the city has no information indicating that the property is an historical resource. Properties that have been affirmatively determined not to be historical resources, properties less than 50 years of age, and properties for which the City has no information indicating that the property qualifies as an historical resource.

What means Mills Act for a property in San Francisco?

The Mills Act is the single most important economic incentive program in California for the restoration and preservation of qualified historic buildings by private property owners.
Property owners who participate in the program adhere to a schedule of maintenance repairs and upkeep on their historic property for the duration of the contract, which spans ten years and self-renews at the end of each year.  In exchange, the property owner is entitled to an alternate evaluation of the property for tax purposes, which usually results in a reduced property tax bill.

San Francisco Planning Regulations:
What means Urban Bird Refuge?

The Mills Act is the single most important economic incentive program in California for the restoration and preservation of qualified historic buildings by private property owners.
Property owners who participate in the program adhere to a schedule of maintenance repairs and upkeep on their historic property for the duration of the contract, which spans ten years and self-renews at the end of each year.  In exchange, the property owner is entitled to an alternate evaluation of the property for tax purposes, which usually results in a reduced property tax bill.

San Francisco Planning Regulations:
What are Urban and Residential Design Guidelines?

Urban Design Guidelines are an implementation document for Urban Design Policy in the General Plan.
Residential Design Guidelines articulate expectations regarding the character of the built environment and are intended to promote design that will protect neighborhood character, enhancing the attractiveness and quality of life in the city.

San Francisco Planning Regulations:
What are Miraloma Park Design Guidelines?

The guidelines were written by Miraloma Park Improvement Club and reviewed by the San Francisco Department of City Planning.” The purpose of these Miraloma Park Residential Design Guidelines is to assist in determining whether a new building, or the expansion of an existing one, is visually compatible with the character of its neighborhood.

San Francisco Planning Regulations:
What are the Standards for Window Replacement?

These standards are meant to provide the design standards that allow new or replacement windows to be approved. Window design may be limited based on the Historical Preservation category. Following these standards may cause higher costs for the windows.

San Francisco Planning Regulations:
What is the Architectural Design Guide for Exterior Treatments of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings during Seismic Retrofit?

This design guide should provide guidance on how to maintain the historical character of a building when conducting seismic retrofit.

San Francisco Planning Regulations:
What is the Design Guide Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings?

These guidelines should be applied to new construction and alterations that require treatment options to meet the Bird-Safe Building Standards. This standard is applicable to properties located within 300’ of a possible urban bird refuge. Planning Commission Resolution 18406 established policies concerning the window treatment, lighting design, and wind generation for certain projects in this area. It requires treatment of the reflective and transparent facade materials (i.e. window glazing). For more information please consult the ‘Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings’.

San Francisco Planning Regulations:
What is the Guide to the Green Landscaping Ordinance?

It helps San Francisco residents and property owners understand the benefits, requirements, and ways to comply with the ordinance. Generally, this ordinance requires the gardens to be designed. Contact a landscape designer for help.

San Francisco Planning Regulations:
What are the Guidelines for Adding Garages and Curb Cuts?

These guidelines explain the criteria in which new garages and curb cuts are reviewed when installing to an existing or an historic building.

San Francisco Planning Regulations:
What are the Guidelines for Ground Floor Residential Design?

The Ground Floor Residential Design Guidelines (Draft) promote buildings that enhance the pedestrian experience and the livability of dwelling by encouraging the ground floor to contribute to active, safe, and comfortable streets.

San Francisco Planning Regulations:
What is the Better Streets Plan?

The Better Streets Plan contains guidelines that focus on pedestrian comfort, safety, and the usability of streets as public spaces. They contain pedestrian-oriented guidelines for curb lines, crosswalks, and other street design features to enable generous, usable public spaces.

San Francisco Environmental Restrictions:
What is Air Pollutant Exposure Zone and how it impacts the properties under this restriction?

Based on Health Code Article 38, some lots are located in an area with elevated pollutant concentrations. Sensitive use buildings, as defined in the Applicability section of the Ordinance, must comply with Health Code Article 38.
There are restrictions applicable to buildings:
(a) Newly constructed; or
(b) Undergoing a “Major Alteration to Existing Building”; or
(c) The subject of an application for a Planning Department-permitted Change of Use.
Enhanced Ventilation Proposal, prepared by, or under the supervision of, a licensed mechanical engineer or other individual authorized by the California Business to design mechanical ventilation systems. You’d have to budget additional cost for designing and installing this Enhanced Ventilation.

San Francisco Environmental Restrictions:
What means Slope of 25% or greater?

Projects on a parcel with an average slope of at least 25% and include any of the following:
(1) horizontal expansion greater than 500 square feet,
(2) excavation of 50 cubic yards or more of soil, or
(3) new construction may be required to submit a geotechnical report to be reviewed by an environmental planner.
If your project falls under (1), (2)or (3) budget time and money for a geotechnical report performed by a soil engineer.

San Francisco Environmental Restrictions:
What means Slope of 20% or greater?

An Environmental Evaluation Application or CEQA may be required for some types of development. More details about CEQA and project type exceptions read here.

San Francisco Environmental Restrictions:
What means Maher Ordinance?

Projects that are located on sites with known or suspected soil and/or groundwater contamination are subject to the provisions of Health Code Article 22A, which is administered by the Department of Public Health (DPH).
A geotechnical report performed by an engineer may be required. Contact Department of Public Health to receive an up-to-date information for a specific address.
It may cause delay and additional costs to your project.

San Francisco Environmental Restrictions:
How Seismic Hazard - Landslide impacts a project?

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) may require an Environmental Evaluation Application for a project performed on a property that has this restriction. Additionally, any new construction is subject to a mandatory Interdepartmental Project Review.
Also, additional structural enforcement may be required. Contact a structural engineer for specific calculations for your project.
It may cause delay and additional costs to your project.

San Francisco Environmental Restrictions:
How Stormwater Management Ordinance impacts a project?

Projects that disturb 5,000 square feet or more of the ground surface must comply with the Stormwater Design Guidelines and submit a Stormwater Control Plan to the SFPUC for review. May require additional landscape features, use of permeable surfaces,etc.
It may cause delay and additional costs to your project.

San Francisco Environmental Restrictions:
What implications has Cortese List – State Database of Hazardous Sites to a project?

Land designated as hazardous waste property or border zone property. The Hazardous Waste and Substances Sites (Cortese) List is a planning document used by the State, local agencies, and developers to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act CEQA requirements in providing information about the location of hazardous materials release sites. California Environmental Protection Agency to develop at least annually an updated Cortese List. For additional information and listing of sites, please refer to the California Environmental Protection Agency’s web site.

San Francisco Environmental Restrictions:
What implications has Seismic Hazard – Liquefaction to a project?

An Environmental Evaluation Application may be required for some types of development to comply with the California Environmental Protection Agency.
Additionally, any new construction is subject to a mandatory Interdepartmental Project Review.
It may cause delay and additional costs to your project.

San Francisco Environmental Restrictions:
What implications has Seismic Hazard – Liquefaction to a project?

An Environmental Evaluation Application may be required for some types of development to comply with the California Environmental Protection Agency.
Additionally, any new construction is subject to a mandatory Interdepartmental Project Review.
It may cause delay and additional costs to your project.

San Francisco Environmental Restrictions:
What means Serpentine Rock restriction for a project?

Construction activities are subject to the Dust Control Ordinance requirements contained in San Francisco Health Code Article 22B and San Francisco Building Code Section 106.A.3.2.6.
Requirements of the Dust Control Ordinance include, but are not limited to, watering to prevent dust from becoming airborne, sweep or vacuum sidewalks, and cover inactive stockpiles of dirt. These measures ensure that serpentine does not become airborne during construction.
It may cause delay and additional costs to your project.

San Francisco Environmental Restrictions:
What means 100-Year Storm Flood Risk Zone for a project?

This property is within the 100-Year Storm Flood Risk Zone. Properties located within this zone are highly likely to experience flooding from storm water runoff during a 100-year storm (a storm that has a 1% chance of happening in a given year). Owners of these properties are required to disclose this flood risk at point-of-sale and in new leases.
It may cause delay and additional costs to your project.