To view graphic version of this page, refresh this page (F5)

Skip to page body
SFGovAccessibility
Seal of the City and County of San Francisco
City and County of San Francisco

Eastern Neighborhoods Amnesty Program

Eastern Neighborhoods Community Planning
NOTE:
The Eastern Neighborhoods Legitimization ('Amnesty') program was reopened in May 21, 2012 and expired on November 12, 2012.

Download the program fact sheet

About the Amnesty Program

As a result of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, certain land uses that were 10reviously permitted are no longer permitted. The purpose of this Amnesty Program is to establish a limited-time opportunity whereby existing uses that have operated without the benefit of required permits may seek those permits. Only those uses which are in the Eastern Neighborhoods, and could have been permitted before the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, may seek amnesty under this Program. For more information, read the FAQs below.

The Program has been extended to November 12, 2012.

Notification of Program Availability

Per the requirements of Section 179.1(c), letters of notification of the Amnesty Program were mailed out to all property owners within the applicable zoning districts. Click here to view the letters, by district.

How to Apply for Amnesty

To apply, submit the following to the:

Zoning Administrator
San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94103

  1. A cover letter initiating your application under the amnesty program;
  2. Floor plans for the entire property along with a specific identification of the space(s) proposed for amnesty;
  3. Evidence supporting the eligibility criteria described above, which may include but is not necessarily limited to: rental or lease agreements, building or other permits, utility records, business licenses, or tax records; and
  4. Notification materials, including a list of all property owners within 300 feet of the subject property and a list of all current occupants of the property.

In addition, submit a check for the Zoning Administrator Letter of Determination fee ( see page 4; item 6.J. Zoning Administrator Written Determinations to determine fee amount ) written to the Planning Department, to cover staff time associated with the review of your application. An additional fee may also be charged to cover any unforeseen time and materials associated with completing review of your application.

Legitimization Cases & Decisions

Project/Submit Date Notification Period Decision Planner
560 Alabama Street
2/7/2014 5/3/2013 - 6/2013
Public Notice
APPROVED 6/21/13
Letter of Legitimization
Diego Sanchez
(415) 575-9082
       
660-680 Alabama Street
4/29/2009 8/4/2009 - 9/3/2009
Public Notice
APPROVED 9/8/2009
Letter of Legitimization
Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
255-269 Potrero Avenue
3/15/2010 7/2/2010 - 8/2/2010
Public Notice
APPROVED 8/5/2010
Letter of Legitimization
Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
1098 Harrison Street (385 7th Street)
1/13/2011 6/21/2011 - 7/22/2011
Public Notice
APPROVED 8/5/2011
Letter of Legitimization
Diego Sanchez
(415) 575-9082
       
208 Utah Street (aka 201 Potrero Avenue)
1/28/2011 10/17/2011 - 11/16/2011
Public Notice
APPROVED 12/12/2011
Letter of Legitimization
Kimberly Durandet
(415) 575-6816
       
2300 Harrison Street (aka 3103-3149 19th Street)
2/15/2011 8/16/2011 - 9/15/2011
Public Notice
APPROVED 9/22/2011
Letter of Legitimization
Kimberly Durandet
(415) 575-6816
       
555 De Haro Street
3/3/2011 8/5/2011 - 9/7/2011
Public Notice
APPROVED 11/4/2011
Letter of Legitimization
Diego Sanchez
(415) 575-9082
       
375 Alabama Street
8/25/2011 12/5/2011 - 1/4/2011
Public Notice
APPROVED 1/6/2012
Letter of Legitimization
Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
999 Brannan Street
10/18/2011 3/29/13 - 4/29/2013
Public Notice
APPROVED 6/28/2013
Letter of Legitimization
Diego Sanchez
(415) 575-9082
       
100 Potrero Avenue
10/18/2011 1/12/2012 - 2/11/2012
Public Notice
APPROVED 2/21/2012
Letter of Legitimization
Diego Sanchez
(415) 575-9082
       
361 Brannan Street
11/14/2011
WITHDRAWN Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
808 Brannan Street
1/27/2012 1/29/2012 - 2/28/2012
Public Notice
APPROVED 2/28/2012
Letter of Legitimization
Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
1040 Mariposa Street
12/9/2011
  WITHDRAWN Diego Sanchez
(415) 575-9082
       
580-590 York Street (aka 2700 18th Street)
1/3/2012 4/25/13 - 5-24/13
Public Notice
APPROVED 1/15/2014
Letter of Legitimization
Danielle Harris
(415) 575-9120
       
398 Kansas Street
1/4/2012 7/16/2012 - 8/16/2012
Public Notice
APPROVED 8/22/2012
Letter of Legitimization
Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
10 Arkansas Street (aka 117 Wisconsin Street)
1/9/2012     Diego Sanchez
(415) 575-9082
       
1 Arkansas Street
1/9/2012
    Diego Sanchez
(415) 575-9082
       
1433 17th Street
1/13/2012   WITHDRAWN Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
1 Enterprise Street (Dwelling Unit)
1/13/2012   APPROVED 5/14/2014
Letter of Legitimization
Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
945 Bryant Street
1/13/2012   WITHDRAWN Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
3130 20th Street
1/13/2012 12/20/2013 - 01/20/2041
Public Notice
APPROVED 2/10/2014
Letter of Legitimization
Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
360 Kansas Street
1/13/2012   WITHDRAWN Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
970 Tennessee Street (aka 901 Minn. Street)
1/17/2012 3/1/2012 - 3/30/2012
Public Notice
APPROVED 4/12/2012
Letter of Legitimization
Diego Sanchez
(415) 575-9082
       
121 Wisconsin Street (Parking Lot)
1/19/2012    
       
665 3rd Street
1/19/2012   WITHDRAWN Brittany Bendix
(415) 575-9114
       
1550 Bryant Street
1/19/2012 7/1/2012 - 7/30/2012
Public Notice
APPROVED 8/2/2012
Letter of Legitimization
Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
2700 19th Street
1/19/2012     Brittany Bendix
(415) 575-9114
       
2545 16th Street
1/19/2012   WITHDRAWN Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
435-437 Potrero Avenue
10/15/2012 4/15/2013 - 5/15/2013
Public Notice
APPROVED 6/4/2013
Letter of Legitimization
Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       
290 Division Street
12/5/2013 11/18/2013 - 12/18/2013
Public Notice
APPROVED 12/24/2013
Letter of Legitimization
Corey Teague
(415) 575-9081
       

Sign up to be notified of pending cases

Per Code Sec. 179.1(e), no less than 30 days prior to making a determination, the Zoning Administrator shall notify interested parties so that parties other than the applicant are afforded the opportunity to present information which may have bearing on the determination.

If you would like to be notified of pending Amnesty Program cases, please send an email stating this request to Corey Teague at corey.teague@sfgov.org

 

Amnesty Program FAQs

Who received the "Notification of Planning Department Amnesty Program" Letter?
This letter was mailed to all property owners within the MUG, MUO, MUR, UMU, South Park, SLI, PDR-1-G, and PDR-1-D Zoning Districts, regardless of the uses or conditions on the property. The letter was specific to each zoning district, so as to be able to specifically state which uses were eligible to apply for amnesty.

What is the intent of the Amnesty Program?
As a result of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, certain land uses that were previously permitted are no longer permitted. The purpose of this Amnesty Program is to establish a time-limited opportunity whereby existing uses that have operated without the benefit of required permits may seek those permits. Only those uses which could have been permitted before the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan may seek amnesty under this Program.

Who is eligible to apply for participation in the Amnesty Program?
The amnesty program only applies to uses that meet all of the following conditions:

  • The use exists as of the date of the application;
  • The use does not have proper permits from the Planning Department and/or Department of Building Inspection;
  • The use would both (1) have been principally permitted or permitted with Conditional Use authorization under provisions of the Planning Code that were effective on April 17, 2008 (prior to the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan) and (2) not be permitted under current provisions of this Code (see below for a list of such uses);
  • The use either:
    • has been regularly operating or functioning on a continuous basis since January 19, 2007; or
    • has been functioning in the space since at least April 17, 2008, and is associated with an organization, entity or enterprise which has been located in this space on a continuous basis since January 19, 2007;
  • The use is not accessory to any other use; and
  • The use is not discontinued and has not been abandoned pursuant to the provisions of Section 183 that would otherwise apply to nonconforming uses.

How do I know if my use is properly permitted?
Property owners are responsible for ensuring that all uses on their property have the proper permits. Should you desire additional information regarding permit history, call the Planning Department's Planning Information Counter (PIC) at 415-588-6377, or visit the PIC at 1660 Mission Street, San Francisco, on the ground floor. Staff at the PIC may direct you to the Department of Building Inspection (DBI), which maintains records of all issued permits. DBI can be reached directly at 415-558-6088. If the records are not clear, you may be required to apply for a Letter of Determination from the City's Zoning Administrator.

What are the ramifications of not having properly permitted uses?
Uses that are not properly permitted by the Planning Department are subject to enforcement, including fines and City action to terminate the use.

Can the use applying for amnesty be located any where in the City?
No, the use applying for amnesty must be located in one of the following zoning districts: Mixed Use – General (MUG), Mixed Use – Office (MUO), Mixed Use – Residential (MUR), Urban Mixed Use (UMU), South Park, Service/Light Industrial (SLI), PDR-1-General (PDR-1-G), or PDR-1-Design (PDR-1-D).

How do I know if my use would have been permissible under provisions of the Planning Code that were effective on April 17, 2008, but is no longer permissible?
The list of such uses was included in the letters sent to property owners, (available by clicking on each of the links below). By district, this list includes:

  • Mixed Use – General: offices of design professionals, automobile parking lots, and self-storage facilities, and spaces that are now used for a given use (such as an office) but which were previously permitted as another use (such as a business service or a video production facility).
  • Mixed Use – Office: automobile parking lots, self-storage facilities, and spaces that are now used for a given use (such as an office) but which were previously permitted as another use (such as a business service or a video production facility).
  • Mixed Use – Residential: automobile parking lots, self-storage facilities, and spaces that are now used for a given use (such as an office) but which were previously permitted as another use (such as a business service or a video production facility).
  • Urban Mixed Use: offices, hospitals, medical centers, parking lots, vehicle storage, self-storage facilities, hotels, massage parlors, mortuary establishments, life science laboratories, and internet service exchange facilities, and spaces that are now used for a given use (such as an office) but which were previously permitted as another use (such as a business service or a video production facility).
  • South Park: automobile parking lots, automobile parking garages, self-storage facilities, and spaces that are now used for a given use (such as an office) but which were previously permitted as another use (such as a business service or a video production facility).
  • Service/Light Industrial: spaces that are now used for a given use (such as an office) but which were previously permitted as another use (such as a business service or a video production facility).
  • PDR-1-General: offices, dwelling units, hotels, hospitals, medical centers, residential care facilities, child care facilities, schools, large churches, retail uses over 2,500 square feet per parcel, self-storage facilities, life science laboratories, internet service exchange facilities, and various heavy manufacturing, distribution, storage uses, and spaces that are now used for a given use (such as an office) but which were previously permitted as another use (such as a business service or a video production facility).
  • PDR-1-Design: offices, dwelling units, hotels, hospitals, medical centers, residential care facilities, child care facilities, large schools, large social service operations, large churches, retail uses over 5,000 square feet per parcel, self-storage facilities, automobile parking lots, automobile sales, mortuaries, life science laboratories, commercial wireless transmitting facilities, internet service exchange facilities, various heavy manufacturing, distribution, and storage uses, and spaces that are now used for a given use (such as an office) but which were previously permitted as another use (such as a business service or a video production facility).

What if my use was permissible under provisions of the Planning Code that were effective on April 17, 2008 and is still permissible?
Such uses do not need to apply to participate in the Amnesty Program. However, these uses are nontheless operating illegally and should come to the Planning Department at any time to seek the required permits. However, until proper permits are received, such uses are subject to enforcement actions by the Planning Department.

How do you apply for participation in the Amnesty Program?
To apply, submit the following to the Zoning Administrator at 1650 Mission St., 4 th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103.

  1. A cover letter initiating your application under the amnesty program;
  2. Floor plans for the entire property along with a specific identification of the space(s) proposed for amnesty;
  3. Evidence supporting the eligibility criteria described above, which may include but is not necessarily limited to: rental or lease agreements, building or other permits, utility records, business licenses, or tax records; and
  4. Notification materials, including a list of all property owners within 300 feet of the subject property and a list of all current occupants of the property.
  5. Submit a check for the Zoning Administrator Letter of Determination fee ( see page 4; item 6.J. Zoning Administrator Written Determinations to determine fee amount ) written to the Planning Department, to cover staff time associated with the review of your application. An additional fee may also be charged to cover any unforeseen time and materials associated with completing review of your application.

How long is the Amnesty Program in effect for?
The Amnesty Program ended on January 19, 2012, but the program will reopen in May 21, 2012 and will expire on November 12, 2012.

How many times can a property owner apply to participate in the Amnesty Program?
Only one application may be made per parcel for the duration of the program.

How is amnesty granted?
The Zoning Administrator will determine whether a use qualifies for participation in the Amnesty Program, using the criteria described above (under "Who is eligible to apply for participation in the Amnesty Program?). If the Zoning Administrator determines that a use qualifies for the Amnesty Program, then the use will be required to receive required permits in the following fashion:

  • Uses that were principally permitted (with the exception of offices over 25,000 square feet) before April 17, 2008 may seek the necessary permits and/or entitlements in order to legally establish the use.
  • Office uses that would have required an office allocation of 25,000 or more gross square feet may seek such authorization pursuant to the requirements of Section 321.

What fees must be paid by uses that are granted amnesty?
Uses that are granted amnesty shall pay all current application fees and other applicable impact fees pursuant to Planning Code Section 179.1(g).

What Section of the Planning Code discusses the Amnesty Program?
The Amnesty Program is detailed in Section 179.1 of the Code, entitled "Legitimization."

How do I find out more about the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan?
Visit the Eastern Neighborhoods website at http://easternneighborhoods.sfplanning.org.

What is the definition of office?
The Planning Code's definition of an office (Section 890.70) is below. As part of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, this definition was broadened to include uses that may previously have been permitted as "business service," video production, or other similar uses.

Office Use
(a) "Office use" shall mean space within a structure or portion thereof intended or primarily suitable for occupancy by persons or entities which perform, provide for their own benefit, or provide to others at that location services including, but not limited to, the following: Professional; banking; insurance; management; consulting; technical; sales; and design; and the non-accessory office functions of manufacturing and warehousing businesses; all uses encompassed within the definition of "office" in Section 219 of this Code; multimedia, software development, web design, electronic commerce, and information technology; all uses encompassed within the definition of "administrative services" in Section 890.106 of this Code; and all "professional services" as proscribed in Section 890.108 of this Code excepting only those uses which are limited to the Chinatown Mixed Use District.

(b) "Office use" shall exclude: retail uses; repair; any business characterized by the physical transfer of tangible goods to customers on the premises; wholesale shipping, receiving and storage; and design showrooms or any other space intended and primarily suitable for display of goods.

What's a design professional?
As defined in the Planning Code (Section 890.28), a design professional is:
“An office use which provides professional design services to the general public or to other businesses and includes architectural, landscape architectural, engineering, interior design and industrial design services. It does not include (1) the design services of graphic artists or other visual artists which are included in the definition of arts activities described in Section 102.2 of this Code; (2) the services of advertising agencies or other services which are included in the definition of professional service activities described in Section 890.108 of this Code or administrative services, financial services or medical service activities as identified in Sections 890.106, 890.110 or 890.114 of this Code.”

Is my home office legal?
The Planning Department typically does not review building permits for home offices, which are offices for people who work by themselves from their own homes. However, a home office may not employ anyone who does not also reside in the dwelling. Offices with workers who reside outside the dwelling require permits from the Planning Department and Department of Building Inspection, and may or may not be permissible, depending upon the Zoning District.

 
Last updated: 7/9/2014 8:04:46 AM