The Central SoMa Plan

Upcoming Planning Commission Informational Hearing

Date and Time: March 1, 2018 after 1:00 p.m.
Location: City Hall, Rm 400, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
Agenda: Please check the Planning Commission agenda page on Monday, February 26 to see where the Central SoMa item is on the agenda.

At the March 1st hearing we will propose that the Planning Commission initiate the Central SoMa legislative package, including General Plan Amendments, Planning Code Amendments, Zoning Map Amendments, and affiliated implementation strategies.

Please click on this link to review legislative package.


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Plan Vision

The vision of the Central SoMa Plan is for the creation of a sustainable neighborhood by 2040, in that the neighborhood meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The Central SoMa Plan seeks to achieve sustainability in each of its aspects – social, economic, and environmental.

Plan Area

The Central SoMa Plan Area consists of the rectangle bounded by Market Street, Townsend Street, 2nd Street, and 6th Street. Most of the changes discussed below are only applicable to the "Eastern Neighborhoods" portion of the Plan Area, although transportation improvements extend to the "Downtown" portion as well.

Central SOMA plan view

Plan Philosophy

Achieving neighborhood sustainability requires keeping what is already sustainable about the neighborhood, and improving what is not.

Neighborhood strengths
  • Diversity of residents
  • Diversity of jobs
  • Diversity of buildings and architecture
  • Culture and nightlife
neighborhood challenges
  • Rents
  • Conditions for people walking and biking
  • Lack of parks and green space
  • Inefficient use of land

Plan Strategy

Utilizing the Plan's philosophy to achieve the Plan's vision will require implementing the following three strategies:

  1. Accommodate growth
  2. Provide public benefits
  3. Respect and enhance neighborhood character

Plan Goals

Implementing the Plan's strategy will require addressing all the facets of a sustainable neighborhood. Doing so can be accomplished by meeting all of the Plan's eight goals to achieve the following results:

  1. Increase the capacity for jobs and housing
  2. Maintain the diversity of residents
  3. Facilitate an economically diversified and lively jobs center
  4. Provide safe and convenient transportation that prioritizes walking, bicycling, and transit
  5. Offer an abundance of parks and recreational opportunities
  6. Create an environmentally sustainable and resilient neighborhood
  7. Preserve and celebrate the neighborhood's cultural heritage
  8. Ensure that new buildings enhance the character of the neighborhood and the city

Expected Results

The Plan would enable the development of up to 50,000 jobs and 7,500 housing units. Such development would result in up to $2 Billion in public benefits to serve the neighborhood, including:

  • Affordable Housing: 33% of total units
  • Transit: $500 Million investment
  • Complete StReets: Safe and comfortable for people walking and biking
  • Open Space and Recreation: Transformative improvement (parks, POPOS, Rec Center, etc.)
  • Environmental Sustainability: Investment towards an Eco-District
  • Production, Distribution, and Repair (including Arts): No net loss of space due to Plan
  • Community Services: Space for services to support expanding population
  • Historic Preservation: Funding towards Old Mint and other historic buildings
  • Schools and Children: Funding to support expanding population

Plan Timing

 2011  February: Plan Began
 2013  April: Draft Plan Released
   April: EIR began
 2016  August: Release of revised Central SoMa Plan
   December: Release of DEIR
 2017-2018  Winter: Initiation of Plan Adoption process (estimated; at discretion of Planning Commission)
   Spring: Plan Adoption process (estimated; at discretion of Board of Supervisors)

Project Context and Existing Conditions

The desire for a Central SoMa Plan (Plan) began during the Eastern Neighborhoods planning process. In 2008 the City adopted the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, including new land use controls and proposed community improvements for the eastern part of the South of Market neighborhood (SoMa), as well as the Central Waterfront, Mission, and Showplace Square/Potrero Hill neighborhoods. At that time, the City determined that the development potential of the surrounding area, coupled with the improved transit provided by the Central Subway, necessitated a separate, focused planning process that took into account the city's growth needs and City and regional environmental goals.

Click here for more on the Project Context and Existing Conditions.

Draft Plan and Plan Refinement

On August 11, 2016, the Planning Department published the revised draft Central SoMa Plan and Implementation Strategy (updated September 26, 2016 to include the Key Development Site Guidelines - Part IIE):

Individual Components

Public Outreach and Engagement

The Central SoMa Plan is the result of six years of intensive public engagement, involving over a thousand people and an untold number of conversations. We appreciate all the input we received and everyone's willingness to share their concerns, insights, and dreams. The goal of this Plan is to reflect the collective wisdom of the community at this time in a way that sustains it far into the future.

Public outreach and engagement strategies undertaken for the Plan are available here.

Environmental Review

Before the Central SoMa Plan can be adopted, it requires an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Central SoMa Draft EIR was released in December 2016. To see more information on the environmental review for the Plan, click here.


Make sure to sign up to be on our project mailing list to get updates on the Central SoMa planning process. Questions, comments, and suggestions on this planning effort should be directed to:

Steve Wertheim
Project Manager
San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission Street
Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 558-6612