About the San Francisco Planning Department
Great Planning for a Great City
The San Francisco Planning Department plays a central role in guiding the growth and development in our City. The Department works with other City agencies and the community to help achieve great planning for a great city.
The mission of the San Francisco Planning Department, under the direction of the Planning Commission, shapes the future of San Francisco and the region by: generating an extraordinary vision for the General Plan and in neighborhood plans; fostering exemplary design through planning controls; improving our surroundings through environmental analysis; preserving our unique heritage; encouraging a broad range of housing and a diverse job base; and enforcing the Planning Code.
In order to execute its mission, the San Francisco Planning Department is made up of the following divisions:
Current Planning Division
Planners help shape the physical development of the City. They are responsible for reviewing building permit and land use entitlement applications for compliance with the San Francisco Planning Code, San Francisco's General Plan, zoning regulations, and relevant design guidelines.
Planners in the Current Planning Division are responsible for reviewing project applications, implementing the historic preservation work program and operating the Planning Information Center. Also, staff processes all Neighborhood Notifications for changes of use and residential expansions. View contact information here.
Citywide Planning Division
Planners in the Citywide Planning Division develop policy, maintain and oversee compliance with the City's General Plan, prepare and implement community plans, and act as the urban design resource for the city. This division also gathers and analyzes data in support of land-use policy.
Within Citywide Planning are the City Design Group (CDG), which provides leadership on urban design and public improvement projects and the Information and Analysis Group (IAG), which provides regular reports and data analysis to the Commission, Board, and public.
Environmental Planning Division
Staff in the Environmental Planning Division review projects for potential environmental impacts on the City of San Francisco and its residents, a process known as environmental review. Reviews are conducted pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) as well as Chapter 31 of the San Francisco Administrative Code, which provides guidelines for implementing the CEQA process.
Zoning Administration and Compliance Division
Planners in the Zoning Administration and Compliance Division maintain and improve the quality of San Francisco's neighborhoods by ensuring compliance with the San Francisco Planning Code. The Code Enforcement Team under this division responds to complaints of alleged Planning Code violations and initiates fair and unbiased enforcement action to correct violations and maintain neighborhood livability. View contact information here.
Staff in the Administration Division provides support and resources to realize the departmental mission and goals. This division includes legislative affairs, finance, communications, information technology, operations, human resources and special projects.
Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission
Members of the Planning Commission provide an invaluable service to the City: they advise the Mayor, Board of Supervisors and City departments on San Francisco's long-range goals, policies and programs on a broad array of issues related to land use, transportation, and current planning – with specific responsibility for the stewardship and maintenance of San Francisco's General Plan. The Commission holds a public hearing each week.
The Historic Preservation Commission is responsible for identifying and designating San Francisco landmarks and buildings in the City's historic districts and meets twice monthly.
Details on the commissions, their agendas and duties can be found via the links below:
Community Outreach and Awareness
With the release of the City's first Public Outreach and Engagement Effectiveness Report, the San Francisco Planning Department developed a community outreach program to increase the awareness of the department's work and programs, and improve public engagement with its constituents.
Initiatives include participating in neighborhood and community festivals, developing engaging neighborhood workshops, and disseminating department information through social media channels and electronic notifications. Examples include:
- Planning Department Facebook Page (login required)
- Planning Department Twitter Page
- Sunday Streets
- Annual Reports
Other City Agencies and Departments
The Planning Department works closely with other San Francisco City and County agencies in their efforts to improve the quality of the City. These departments, among others, include:
- Department of Building Inspection
- San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority
- Department of Public Works
- San Francisco Recreation and Parks
- San Francisco Department of the Environment
- Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development
- SF Department of Public Health
To learn about career opportunities with Planning Department, visit the City’s Employment Opportunities page.
The City and County of San Francisco is committed to equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants. Employees are selected and promoted based on merit and without discrimination. The City encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to apply. Applicants will be considered regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, age, sexual orientation, medical condition or pregnancy.