The Project Review Committee reviews projects according to the set of guidelines outlined below. Project sponsors will present on how their proposed development meets each guideline in a 20 minute presentation to our Committee. Projects with reduced car parking, high bicycle parking ratios, higher-than-required environmental standards and on-site inclusionary housing receive enhanced support. Each project will receive a report card and letter with our endorsement or specific recommendations for improvement.
All SFHAC Business Members are welcome to attend and engage in the Committee.
Project Review Guidelines
Housing should be an appropriate use of the site given the context of the adjacent properties and the surrounding neighborhood and should enhance neighborhood livability.
The project should take full advantage of the maximum unit density and/or building envelope, allowable under the zoning rules.
The need for affordable housing, including middle income (120-150 of median) housing, is a critical problem and SFHAC gives special support to projects that propose creative ways to expand or improve unit affordability beyond the legally mandated requirements.
SFHAC expects the projects it endorses to include creative strategies to reduce the need for parking, such as ample bicycle storage, provision of space for car-share vehicles on-site or nearby, un-bundling parking cost from residential unit cost, and measures to incentivize transit use. Proximity to transit should result in less need for parking.
In districts with an as-of-right maximum and discretionary approval up to an absolute maximum, SFHAC will support parking exceeding the as-of-right maximum only to the extent the Code criteria for doing so are clearly met. In districts where the minimum parking requirement is one parking space per residential unit (1:1), the SFHAC will not, except in extraordinary circumstances, support a project with parking in excess of that amount.
If there are structures of significant historic or cultural merit on the site, their retention and/or incorporation into the project consistent with historic preservation standards is encouraged. If such structures are to be demolished, there should be compelling reasons for doing so.
The project should promote principles of good urban design: Where appropriate, contextual design that is compatible with the adjacent streetscape and existing neighborhood character while at the same time utilizing allowable unit density: pleasant and functional private and/or common open space; pedestrian, bicycle and transit friendly site planning; and design treatments that protect and enhance the pedestrian realm, with curb cuts minimized and active ground floor uses provided.
Projects with a substantial number of multiple bedroom units should consider including features that will make the project friendly to families with children.
SFHAC is particularly supportive of projects that employ substantial and/or innovative measures that will enhance their sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint.
Projects for which the developer has made a good faith effort to communicate to the community and to address legitimate neighborhood concerns, without sacrificing SFHAC’s objectives, will receive more SFHAC support.
Questions and Answers
The Committee is chaired by Christopher Roach of Studio VARA. All SFHAC Business Members are welcome to attend and engage in Project Review meetings.
Contact SFHAC Project Manager Nico Nagle at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a presentation.
Presenting to SFHAC should be part of the community outreach process. You should be able to clearly address our guidelines and present flushed out renderings of the building design.
SFHAC will write a letter explaining how the project meets our guidelines. The letter will be sent to the project sponsor with a copy to the Planning Commission. In our letter, we may include suggestions on how the Committee believes a project might be improved. We do our best to keep ourselves informed about a project’s status until it is approved by the City. If requested, SFHAC staff, Board or Committee members will speak on a project’s behalf at the City’s public hearings.
The SFHAC is a well-respected voice for sensible housing and land-use policies that bring badly-needed housing to San Francisco. Our advocacy is intended to help secure entitlements for good projects that will contribute to the City's housing stock.
Location: Solomon Cordwell Buenz | 255 California St, 3rd Floor
Date: 4th Wednesday of each month
Time: 8:30 - 10:00 AM
Committee Chair: Christopher Roach, Studio VARA