16727 Appendix D
Production, distribution, and repair (PDR) businesses and workers prepare our food and print our books; produce the sounds and images for our movies; take people to the airport; arrange flowers and set theatrical stages; build houses and offices; pick up our mail and garbage. PDR businesses are responsible for many of the crucial foundations of our City but they tend to be invisible to those not directly involved.
This wide spectrum of PDR activities has been described in previous Planning Department reports based on industrial sector and business classifications. (Community Planning in the Eastern Neighborhoods: Rezoning Options Workbook, February 2003; Industrial Land in San Francisco: Understanding Production, Distribution and Repair, July 2002; Profiles of Community Planning Areas, San Francisco’s Eastern Neighborhoods, January 2002; San Francisco Land Use Survey, 1998). This document provides a more refined definition of PDR activities based on the intensity of use and the compatibility of that use with housing. The goal is to sufficiently define Production/Distribution/Repair as a land use that can be regulated through zoning controls.
PDR activities are organized into core, medium, and light activities based on a number of factors including the following: the total amount of building space for the business; the amount of space needed per worker; the amount of space required for equipment and storage, both inside and outside; the type of loading facilities required; the amount of trucking activity generated; hours of operation, as well as some of the environmental impacts such as noise, odors, lighting, and the treatment of hazardous materials.
This category includes PDR activities that produce goods by hand or via machinery for distribution to retailers or wholesalers, or for resale on or off the premises. Light PDR uses primarily involve the assembly, packaging, repairing or processing of previously prepared materials. Light PDR activities also include a wide range of repair and service businesses that provide direct services to neighborhood residents and businesses. Examples of light PDR businesses include auto repair, small catering services, graphic design, small radio stations, or small messenger operations.
Light PDR activities are generally compatible with residential uses. However, light PDR businesses cannot compete for space as effectively and cannot pay the rent premiums of retail businesses found in some of the City’s more expensive neighborhood commercial districts.
Use Size and Building Type
- Light PDR businesses shall be conducted within an enclosed structure that provides adequate and appropriate lighting, ventilation, plumbing, storage, loading areas, and parking.
- Light PDR uses may include retail or other commercial activities on the ground floor and/or as an accessory use regulated by Section 204 of the Planning Code.
- Light PDR businesses do not have special loading, drop-off, and delivery requirements beyond that of many non-PDR commercial establishments. In many cases, they may locate on any floor provided they have elevator access. They differ, potentially, from non-PDR commercial establishments in their equipment needs, the amount of noise generated, and the waste produced.
- Light PDR uses shall not include any heavy chemical processing of materials. Similarly, equipment shall not occupy more than ¼ of the total gross floor area of the principal use.
Light PDR activities require minimal trucking.
Types of Uses
A Light PDR use is such if at least 50% of the occupied space of the establishment falls within the categories and classifications as defined by the Standard Industrial Classification Code Manual as follows:
§ Small repair services (Using machinery no more than 5 horsepower capacity)
§ auto repair
§ appliance repair
§ furniture repair
§ instruments repair (medical and optical, photographic, watches and clocks)
- Small manufacturing and distribution businesses that indirectly or directly serve adjacent neighborhoods
§ food processing (not including assembly line production of canned or bottled goods) and catering
§ small distribution
§ tradeshops, including metal, glass, leather, woodwork
§ Small graphic design studios and photography labs
§ small graphic design and multi-media studios
§ sign design
§ photography labs
§ instruments manufacturing
§ printing and publishing (books, newspapers)
- Arts activities
§ Space for exhibitions, rehearsals, and schools of any of the following: dance, music, dramatic art, film, video, graphic art, painting, drawing, sculpture, small-scale glass works, ceramics, textiles, woodworking, photography, custom-made jewelry or apparel, and other visual, and sound arts and studios, workshops, archives, theaters, and other similar spaces customarily used principally for arts activities. It shall also include commercial arts and art-related business services including, but not limited to, recording and editing services, small-scale film and video developing and printing; titling; video and film libraries; special effects production; fashion and photo stylists; production, sale and rental of theatrical wardrobes.
Medium PDR businesses focus more on production and distribution than light PDR businesses but do not have the volume of heavy trucking found in Core PDR activities. Types of medium PDR businesses include printers and publishers, showrooms, landscaping and horticultural services, film producers, and catering. These businesses require larger ground floor spaces for storage or processing of larger items. The distinction between medium and core PDR is that the medium PDR buildings are generally smaller, and involve less trucking activity.
These businesses would also handle larger products, such as sofas, large pieces of fabric or wood, large signs, etc. A sound producer can use large sound mixing equipment, multiple large speakers, large acoustic panels, and media storage space. Fabricators engage in the creation of a variety of goods. Most of the activity occurs indoors by way of a combination of tools ranging from a computer to a drill-press, sewing tables to projectors; welding machinery to rehearsal space. The products are then shipped on a daily or weekly basis out of the studio and into a truck to a local or international destination.
Distribution centers range from a jewelry wholesale business to showrooms exhibiting anything from tile to fabrics to imported furniture. Other medium PDR businesses repair appliances or supply plumbing contractors in relatively smaller spaces. Customers may interact directly on site, or through an intermediary such as a contractor or front-end retailer for the repair of products or to receive services provided by these businesses. Due to loading, delivery times, and noise, medium PDR is less compatible with other uses than light PDR.
Use Size and Building Type
- Building types currently used by these businesses include multi-story PDR buildings as well as smaller single story warehouses.
- Types of medium PDR businesses require larger ground floor spaces for storage or processing of larger items. The distinction between medium and core PDR is that the medium PDR activities generally occupy a smaller building footprint.
- Medium PDR uses shall be conducted within an enclosed structure and may include space for storage of goods. These goods or materials should not include junk, recycling, salvaged materials, automobiles, inflammable or highly combustible materials, or wholesale commodities.
- Medium PDR activities require moderate to heavy trucking. Parcels for Medium PDR activities must be freeway accessible and be in close proximity to truck routes. Article 17 of the Traffic Code regulates truck routes.
Compatibility with Housing
- Many Medium PDR activities are compatible with other uses if appropriate isolation from noises and trucking is accommodated.
Type of Uses
A Medium PDR use is such if at least 50% of the business follows within the categories and classifications as defined by the Standard Industrial Classification Code Manual as follows:
- Medium size repair businesses
- Wholesale companies, including food processing
- Manufacturing and distribution, including garment businesses
- Trade Shops and Showrooms
- Transportation businesses, including automotive
- Others such as sound recording/film production
- Arts activities
Medium PDR activities overlap with the Light PDR activities and the Core PDR activities but are distinguished by their size.
This category includes PDR activities that produce objects via individual or special design or handiwork, and that involve the assembly, packaging, repairing or processing of previously prepared materials. Core PDR businesses are often dependent on trucking activity that occurs multiple times per day and that involves any size vehicle from small to 18-wheeler trucks.
Core businesses include activities such as small trucking operations; apparel manufacturing; distribution centers for produce including vegetables, meat, seafood, and flowers; manufacturing of canned food; suppliers of materials used in the construction industry such as lumber, pipes, electrical supplies, and large equipment rentals; paper manufacturing and large publishing operations.
Core and light PDR space attributes might vary according to their location. For example, core businesses in Bayview require more space per employee than in the rest of the City. Given the intense competition for land in Mission and SOMA, some core PDR businesses use land more efficiently in multi-story buildings. Sometimes, the businesses operate morning, swing, and graveyard shifts in order to make the most efficient use of their time and space.
Use Size and Building Type
- Building types currently used by these businesses include or multi-story PDR buildings for activities such as apparel manufacturing, as well as smaller single story warehouses.
- These businesses require single story warehousing and distribution buildings with large open storage yards.
- These businesses require the largest floor plate in the buildings they occupy. Loading areas, heavy trucking, and open storage are significant components of their operations because the equipment they use and the products they handle tend to be larger or processed in greater volumes than those found in light PDR businesses.
- Core PDR activities should occur within an enclosed structure and may include space for storage of goods. These goods or materials should not include junk, recycling, salvaged materials, automobiles, inflammable or highly combustible materials, or wholesale commodities. Some core PDR businesses require larger ground floor spaces for storage or easy transport of larger items.
Noise, Nuisance, and Waste Regulations
- Employees may unload several trucks with forklifts late at night. Core PDR activities are incompatible with most other uses due to noise, heavy truck traffic, and, sometimes, the odors they generate.
- High environmental impact uses such as chemically intensive activities or activities that produce odors or vibrations require permits by respective departments.
- Core PDR activities require heavy trucking. Parcels for Core PDR activities must be freeway accessible and be in close proximity to truck routes. Truck routes are regulated by Article 17 of the Traffic Code.
Compatibility with Housing
- Most Core PDR activities are incompatible with most other uses due to noise, heavy truck traffic, and volatile emissions.
Type of Uses
A Core PDR use is such if at least 50% of the business falls within the categories and classifications as defined by the Standard Industrial Classification Code Manual as follows
- Wholesale Distribution (goods or commodities for resale or business use)
§ food processing (including assembly lines)
§ interior/household & Appliance wholesale
§ wholesale construction
§ wholesale apparel
§ large scale wholesale
§ wholesale printing & publishing
§ wholesale auto-parts
§ wholesale flowers
- Manufacturing and distribution that serve the neighborhoods and the community at large
§ garment manufacturing (where total number of single-head machines could exceed 25)
§ chemical/plastic/leather manufacturing
§ large scale manufacturing
§ large printing & publishing
§ Trade shops and Showrooms
§ Large trading companies
§ Furniture showrooms
§ Storage and Warehousing
§ public warehousing & storage
§ transportation of goods
§ transportation of people
§ Other uses
* Accessory to PDR A company may include a variety of activities within one building. Some of these activities might be categorized as PDR according to the Planning Department's definitions, and some might not. It is understood that when a certain percent of occupied space (50% or more) is set aside for PDR activities, PDR is considered the primary land use, for zoning purposes, and the remaining uses are considered accessory.