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Neighborhood Notification is conducted by the San Francisco Planning Department for many discretionary permits within certain zoning districts. See bellow when it's required and what is the procedure.
When are Neighborhood Notifications Required?
Neighborhood notifications are always required whenever you are doing any construction that drastically affects the exterior shell of your building. Typically, it is required in residential districts (RH, RM, and RTO, Districts) for demolition and new construction and when there is an expansion of the building envelope, removal of an unauthorized unit, or a change in use. Removal of more than 75% of interior wall framing or 75% of existing framing will also trigger Neighborhood Notification.
Most new construction or building expansion, as well as some applications to add dwelling units to an existing residential building, require notification to the public before permits can be reviewed and the project can be approved. In some cases, new decks, stairs, or other features on the exterior of your home will also require notification. For some projects, a pre-application meeting is required as well.
Neighborhood Notifications Procedure
When an applicant submits a Building Permit to the Department of Building Inspection (DBI), the Planning Department is the first reviewing agency and will conduct the Neighborhood Notification. Neighborhood Notification is mailed to residents and owners of properties located within 150 feet of the subject property and registered neighborhood groups for a 30-day public review period. During the 30-day notification period, neighbors may contact the Project Sponsor or Planning staff to voice concerns or make comments regarding the proposal. Revisions to the plans made during the notification period may require a new notice.
Within 30-day public review period a neighbor may file for a Discretionary Review, which is a request for the Planning Commission to review the application.
For a Conditional Use application, a hearing before the Planning Commission is required, and all property owners within 300 feet of the property must be notified of the hearing. Any approval or review that requires a hearing also requires notification.
This is just a generic overview. The best way is to start with an analysis to see what you could build on your property and then see if your project would require or not any neighborhood notification.
Important for you is also to include in your timeline the public review period and plan to pay Department's fees.
Regardless of notification requirements, it is always a good idea to reach out to neighbors and neighborhood groups early in your project planning process to inform them about the project and to hear about any concerns they may have. Planning staff can help with neighborhood outreach resources and contacts.