Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy (JCHESS)
JCHESS Adopted! - Between September 18 and October 1, 2013, resolutions in support of the JCHESS were unanimously adopted by the Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Commission, and Board of Supervisors. The JCHESS is now complete.
The Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy (JCHESS) is about developing the vision for this neighborhood, focusing on economic development, preserving and enhancing the historic and cultural uses and buildings, and making physical improvements within the project area (see map below). It represents a collaborative effort between the Planning Department, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and the Japantown community.
An initial Draft of the JCHESS was released on February 12th. Download it here.
In addition to the community meeting held on February 26th, 2013, we've met with over 25 stakeholder groups within Japantown about the JCHESS. Click here to see the comments we received, both at the community meeting and the stakeholder meetings, and our responses, including how we’ve edited the JCHESS based on the input received.
An informational hearing was held on the JCHESS on July 17, 2013 at the Historic Preservation Commission and July 18, 2013 at the Planning Commission. The hearings are available for viewing via the SFGTV website, http://www.sfgov.org/sfgtv.
Public hearings on the JCHESS were held on September 18, 2013 at the Historic Preservation Commission, September 19, 2013 at the Planning Commission, and October 1, 2013 at the Board of Supervisors. The hearings are available for viewing via the SFGTV website, http://www.sfgov.org/sfgtv.
To download a copy of the map of the project area, click here.
The Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy builds off several previous efforts to enhance Japantown’s economy and social heritage, including:
- California Senate Bill 307, passed in September of 2001, allowed for the creation of a California Japantown Preservation Pilot Project, which provided grants to Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco to promote the preservation of their Japantown neighborhoods.
- A San Francisco Japantown Special Use District was established in 2006 that required commercial uses to be compatible with Japantown’s cultural and historic integrity, neighborhood character, development pattern, and design aesthetic.
- Between 2006 and 2009 the San Francisco Planning Department help to guide an extensive series of studies and planning workshops en route to the creation of the Draft Japantown Better Neighborhood Plan (2009).
Components of the Strategy
The Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy will contain in one place a range of tools to support Japantown. These include the following:
- A written document containing the context for the strategy and its recommendations. This document will have the same goals as Japantown’s draft Better Neighborhood Plan:
- Secure the Japantown future as the historical and cultural heart of Japanese and Japanese American Community.
- Secure the Japantown future as a thriving commercial and retail district.
- Secure the Japantown future as a home to residents and community-based institutions.
- Secure the Japantown future as a physically attractive and vibrant environment.
- The identification and documentation of Japantown’s important social heritage resources, including buildings and monuments, businesses, institutions and organizations, events, and traditional arts, crafts, and practices.
- The identification of the economic and regulatory tools that may be applied to support Japantown the various kinds of social heritage resources, and to enhance the community’s economic wellbeing.
- Recommendations for which tools to move forward towards implementation, in coordination with the City's Invest in Neighborhoods program.
- The creation of a new Japantown Neighborhood Commercial District with controls tailored to the needs and desires of the community.
- Guidelines to help new buildings and additions support the community’s architectural heritage.
The Japantown community and Planning Department are interested in moving seamlessly from the endorsement of the JCHESS to its implementation.
The first step was the introduction of legislation to create a Japantown Neighborhood Commercial District.This legislation was initiated by the Planning Commission on September 19, 2013. Click here to see the proposed legislation.
Documents and Links
The JCHESS was built from many years of collaboration between the Japantown community and the City. To see some of the background materials, links to affiliated projects, and links to relevant documents, click here.
Make sure to sign up to be on our project mailing list to get updates on the Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy. Questions, comments, and suggestions on this planning effort should be directed to:
Senior Planner, Preservation - Cultural Heritage Specialist