25 Replies Latest reply: Jan 26, 2014 10:28 PM by sfvacationhut RSS

    Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?

    sfvacationhut Community All-Star

      I recently heard about someone who has a guest apartment in San Francisco.

      Someone complained about the guest apartment, and this person received a letter from Adrian Koutre (sp?) in the San Francisco Planning Department, assessing a fine of something like $3000 for violation of the Planning Codes.

       

      Has anyone else received a letter like this?

       

      If so, how did you handle it?

       

      What can we do to make sure that our vacation rentals are operating legally in San Francisco?

        • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
          sfvacationhut Community All-Star

          I heard back from the vacation home owner who received the letter from the planning department.

           

          This person has decided to simply ignore the letter.

           

          So far it looks like that's working out just fine.

           

          Does anyone else have any experiences regarding planning code violations?  If so, what were the code violations cited, and how did you handle it?

            • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
              New Member

              I unfortunately got a letter from the Planning Department from Adrian Putra. 

               

              Here are the code violations and details!

               

              It stated that:

               

               

              ENFORCEMENT NOTIFICATION

              Planning Code Section 176

              January 10th 2012

              RH-2, (Two-Family Residential House)

              Code Violation:  209.2(d): Other Housing (Short-Terni Vacation Rental Use for Transient Guests)

              Up to $250 Each Day of Violation

              Adrian C. Putra, (475) 575-9079 ot adrian.putra@sfgov,org

              Samuel D, Siegel (415) 575-9157 or samuel;siegel@sfgov.org

              1650 Mission St.

              Suite 400

              SaB Francisco,

               

              The Planning Department has received a complaint that a Planning Code violation exists on your above

              referenced property that needs to be resolved. As the owner and leaseholder of the subject property, you

              are a responsible party. The purpose of this notice is to inform you about the Planning Code Enforcement

              process so you can take appropdate action to bring your property in compliance with Planning Code.

              The details of violation are discussed below:-

              DESCRIPTION OF VIOLATION

              Our records indicate that the authorized use of  2350 Pine St. (I changed the address) is as a residential dwelling unit. The

              complaint alleges that 2350 Pine Street located on the subject lot is operating as a commercial short

              term vacation rental. Our research identified the properry as advertised on Airbnb.com

              associated with an Airbnb operator. Pursuant to Code Section 209.2 a short term

              vacation rental property providing accommodation for transient overnight guests is not permitted at the

              subiect property without conditional use approval.

              Pursuant to Planning Code Section 174, every conditiory stipulatiory special restrictiory and other

              limitation shall be complied with in the use of land and structures to the effect that the existing lawful use

              or proposed use of a structure or land conforms to the provisions of Planning Code. Failure to comply

              with any of these provisions constitutes a violation of Planning Code and is subject to enforcement

              process under Code Section 176.

              HOW TO CORRECT THE VIOLATION

              The Planning Department requires that you immediately discontinue the operation of an unauthorized

              commercial short term vacation rental at 2350 Pine Street.

              To prevent further enforcement action and avoid atcrual of penalties, the responsible party will need to

              provide adequate evidence to demonstrate that either no violation exists or that the violation has been

              abated.

              TIMELINE TO RESPOND

              The resoonsible oartv has fifteen {15) davs from the date of this notice to contact the staff olanner noted

              at the top of this notice and submit evidence to demonstrate that the subject property is in compliance

              with Planning Code. The abatement action shall be taken as early as possible; Any unreasonable delays

              in abatement of violation may result in further enforcement action by the Planning Department.

              PENALTIES AND APPEAL RIGHTS

              Failure to respond to this notice by correcting the violatlon or demonstrating compliance with the

              Plannins Code within fifteen (15) days from the date of this notice will result in the issuance of Notice of Violation and Penalty by the Zoning Administrator. Adminishative penalties of up to $250 per day

              will also be assessed to the responsible party for each day the violation continues thereafter. The Notice

              of Violation and Penalty provides appeals processes noted below.

              1) Request for Zoning Administrator Hearing. The Zoning Administratoy's decision is aPPealable to

              the Board of Appeals.

              2) Appeal of the Notice of Violation and Penalty to the Board of Appeals. The Board of Appeals may

              not reduce the amount of penalty below $100 per day for each day the violation exists, excluding

              the period of time the matter has been pending either before the Zoning Administrator or before

              the Board of Appeals.

              ENFORCEMENT TIME AND MATERIALS FEE

              Pursuart to Planning Code Section 350(c)(1), the Planning f)ePartment shall charge for 'Time and

              Materials' to recover the cost. of correcting Planning Code violations and violations of Planning

              Commission and Plarming Department's Conditions of Approval. Accoidingly, the responsible party

              will be subject to an amount of $1130 plus any additional accrued time and materials cost for Code

              Enforcement investigation and abatement of violation. This fee is separate fuom the administrative

              penalties as noted above and is not appealable.

               

              OTHER APPLICATIONS UNDER PLANNING DEPARTMENT CONSIDERATION

              The Planning Department requires that any pending violations be resolved prior to the approval and

              ' issuance of any new applications that you may wish to pursue in the future. Therefore, any applications

              not related to the abatement of violation on the subject property will be placed on hold until further

              notice. We want to assist you in ensuring that the subject property is in full compliance with the Planning

              Code. You may contact the enforcement planner as noted above for any questions.

               

               

               

              Does anyone know what to do with that?

              Is it "illegal" to rent a house short term?   What if you pay the hotel tax to the City, does it make it ok?

               

              Thanks,

               

              Paul

                • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                  New Member

                  Hi Paul,

                   

                  First, I very highly suggest paying all applicable taxes.  The revenue stream the city realizes from your tax contributions makes it much harder for the city to ban stuff like this, particularly given the sorry state of the city's coffers.

                   

                  Second, I know you mention that you are in an Rh-2 zone, but what kind of building do you own?  Are they apartments or condos?  Is it a single family house with an inlaw?  How kany units total? This information really helps us help you.

                   

                  As far as i can interpret, the ban largely affects only apartment buildings with more than 4 units.  Do you have any long term renters in your builiding?

                   

                  From the code -

                   

                   

                  Section 41A.5 "(a) Unlawful Actions. It shall be unlawful for any owner to offer an apartment unit for rent for tourist or transient use."

                   

                  Section 41A.4 "(a) Apartment Unit. Room or rooms in any building, or portion thereof, which is designed,   built, rented, leased, let or hired out to be occupied, or which is  occupied as the home or residence of four or more households living  independently of each other in dwelling units as defined in the San  Francisco Housing Code...."

                   

                  Section 41A.4 "(c) Tourist or Transient Use. Use of an apartment unit for occupancy on less than a 30-day term of tenancy."

                    • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                      New Member

                      Hello Russian Hill,

                       

                      Well, the notice was for a single family home.  Nice home in an upscale neighborhood.  A neighbor might have complained

                      However, I have two small apt buildings with 4 and 9 apts that I also use as vacation rentals.  Each has two long term tenants (that I am in great terms with) and the rest is for vacation rentals.  I only got the "Putra" letter for the single family home and hopefully will not for the other two buildings.

                       

                      If I pay the taxes (which I haven't done yet.  I only started this a year ago), will I be legal?

                       

                      What would you do if you were me? 

                      1) Ignore the notice further (I sent Putra a certified letter saying that I am not renting for less than 30 days and that I strongly deny the violation.  No news since and it's been 2 months)

                      2) Pay taxes and be good with one dept (tax collector) of the SF City as insurance in case the other (Planing dept) comes after me.

                       

                      Thanks,

                       

                      Eric

                        • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                          New Member

                          Hi sfrentals,

                           

                          If I were you I would definitely pay your taxes.  That gives a little something to stand on. It would be interesting to see what others like noeplace and sfvacahut have to say ....

                          • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                            sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                            SFRentals, thanks for posting about this.

                             

                            The thing that russianhill is talking about is the San Francisco regulation which makes it "unlawful" to operate vacation rentals in buildings with 4 or more apartments.

                             

                            This is not the same thing as Building and Planning Codes.

                             

                            SFRENTALS, thank you for providing the full content of the letter so we can better help you.  It seems that the answer is included in the letter itself.  It says:

                             

                            "Pursuant to Code Section 209.2 a short term vacation rental property providing accommodation for transient overnight guests is not permitted at the subiect property without conditional use approval."

                             

                            So ... why not seek the conditional use approval ?

                             

                            First, see how easy it is to get.  Maybe it's just a matter of filling out a simple form?  If that's the case, maybe you can get the conditional approval for your vacation rental operations, before the 15-day limit is up, and then you won't have to change a thing.  

                             

                            If the conditional approval cannot be acquired during the time between now and the end of the 15-day limit, first find out from the Planning Dept, what is the date when you are likely to get it (30 days from now, 2 months from now, etc).   Then, when you've got your date for when you expect to actually RECEIVE the conditional use permit, inform all your future bookings of the situation. For any bookings that are scheduled prior to that date (when you expect to get your conditional use permit approved), I would give these guests a full refund.  This will open up your calendar in the near-term, and you can open up that calendar space for bookings, making it clear that you only take guests who are staying at least 30 days or more. 

                             

                            SFRENTALS, good luck and thanks for sharing this.  I am definitely going to check with the planning department and see whether we need to get a "conditional use permit" for our building or not. 

                             

                            Also please report back on how easy it is (or not) to get the conditional use approval, as this would be very helpful information for all of the rest of us!

                              • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                New Member

                                Hello SFvacationhut,

                                 

                                I don't know if a "conditional use approval" is even possible in my case.  It's a single family home in an upscale neighborhood and I'm sure my neighbors would object if they had a say in the process.

                                In the mean time, I took the house off the market, but still have 6 apts in two other buildings on vacation rentals.  Im afraid I'll get the same notice for them.  If it is just a matter of paying taxes to the City, I'd be happy to get "approved" and keep the business running smoothly.

                                I heard that the vacation rental biz is illegal for one branch of the City and only tolerated by another if you pay taxes.

                                Do you know anything else to help us get peace of mind?

                                  • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                    sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                    I would call the planning dept and ask what the process is for getting

                                    conditional approval. Personally I wouldn't assume it's something

                                    difficult; it might be just a form to fill out.

                                     

                                    Even if it's a permit process with a public hearing, I'm sure you can

                                    gather testimony from your neighbors whose parents or relatives have stayed

                                    with you, as well as testimony from your neighbors who never found your

                                    guests to be any nuisance at all (most probably have no idea the vacation

                                    rental was there, which means there was no nuisance) ... you could gather

                                    written testimonials about all this. Even if there was one complaint from

                                    an unhappy neighbor (unhappy on what grounds? He/she will have to explain),

                                    I think there's a good chance the planning committee will decide in your

                                    favor.

                                    • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                      sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                      Hi SFRentals,

                                       

                                      Here is a thread that should answer your questions about getting the Business License and paying the hotel tax.

                                       

                                      http://community.homeaway.com/thread/1671?tstart=0

                                       

                                      The Business License is a simple form to fill out, and you pay $25.00.  (I can't remember if the fee is per property or maybe just per your business.)  So this is a case when there is no government red tape ... you seriously just pay 25 bucks and fill out the form and Boom!  You've got a business.  No one checks anything, to make sure that your business is operating legally and according to all the permits.  Look at how "Ike's Sandwiches" operated for months, years (?) without the proper permits, before finally getting shut down by the city. 

                                       

                                      So ... just because you have a Business License, doesn't mean you have some sort of blessing from the city.  It just means you filled out the simple form and paid $25.00.  It also means that you can now have a Business Account with the City of SF, and that means you can pay Hotel Taxes. From my reading of the regulations, hotel taxes are required for any stay of 29 days or less, whether it's in a room in a private home or a hotel or a whole apartment or whatever.  ("Except for the exceptions," of course ... such as for airline crews and some other very narrow cases.)

                                       

                                      To summarize, just because we are paying taxes, doesn't mean we are operating legally. or that we have a blessing from the city.  However, if we are paying taxes, I do believe it gives us some clout, and some "leg to stand on" (as russianhill said), in case someone challenges our business.

                                      • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                        sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                        Now as far as planning codes, that's another thing entirely. Is it fair to say something is "illegal" just because it's in violation of planning code?  I guess people do use that word, but my goodness ... what house isn't "illegal" in San Francisco?   When we were house hunting, practically every house had something "illegal" about it ... from the "illegal in-law apartment downstairs" to the remodeling or the new bathroom that that was done without permit, etc. 

                                         

                                        I'm amused at the way that some people throw around this word "illegal" and try to make it sound like a heinous crime to be in violation of the city planning codes (because of vacation rentals), when in reality, it's just part of life in San Francisco.

                                         

                                        I'm not advocating that people operate in violation of the city planning codes ...  I'm just saying that I think it's funny (ha ha - HILARIOUS!) when some people try to get up on their high-horse about it. 

                                        • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                          sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                          Another thing I find strange is ... some people think that vacation rentals are taking away from apartments that could otherwise be low-cost rentals for people in S.F.   From what I have seen, many vacation rentals are starting up in apartments that are occupied part-time by the owners themselves.  Also, some vacation rentals are starting up in apartments that were previously unoccupied for years.   Is it better for the apartment to be totally unoccupied, or for it to rented out as a furnished unit, bringing tax revenue and visitors to the city?

                                           

                                          And ironically ... for the people who want to eliminate vacation rentals that are in violation of planning codes ... if they wanted to be fair about it, they would need to eliminate the rental of "illegal in-law units" which are also in violation of planning codes.  So instead of producing more rentable housing for long-term tenants, a more strict application the planning code would likely REDUCE the amount of rent-able housing in the city.

                                           

                                          When I was a tenant, I thought it was awesome having rent control.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize that my own rent was artifically inflated ... because I was paying market rent, and meanwhile the landlord had all these other tenants, paying less than half, and something less than one quarter, of what I was paying.   Also back then I didn't realize how many EMPTY APARTMENTS there are in San Francisco.  Surely the empty apartments are reducing the supply of apartments available, and that also drives the rents up.

                                           

                                          I'm mentioning all of this because the "scarcity of rental housing in San Francisco" is one of the main arguments put forth, as to why we should not have vacation rentals.  But I think it would be better to first address why it is that we have so many empty apartments, and why it is that landlords don't want to rent to long-term tenants. 

                                          • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                            sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                            Another important thing about vacation rentals.

                                             

                                            We should be proud of the service we provide to the community, not running scared.  Especially we should not be afraid to talk to the planning dept or anyone else about what we are doing, etc. 

                                             

                                            We are providing so much net worth and good for the community ... nicely maintained apartments that are well taken care of and cleaned regularly ... providing jobs for cleaning services, painting crews, landscapers and repair people.  We are bringing people into the community, who are here for visiting relatives (our neighbors), or for business or sightseeing ... all of these people are spending money in the community and further contributing to the economy.  And the people who live in our neighborhood REALLY WANT US HERE ... they desperately NEED a nice place nearby to put the grandparents up for a week or two, because most people's apartments here in S.F. do not have extra space and a "spare guest bedroom," etc.

                                             

                                            Speaking personally ... now that we have a vacation rental, we are contributing WAY MORE to the economy than we were when we simply owned the building and lived in both units.  (Both apartments are small, so we actually lived in and used both apartments for ourselves, before we converted the downstairs one to a vacation rental.)  Before we had the vacation rental, we never hired a maid, we never hired a painter, we never hired a landscaper ... none of that.   Because ... for our standards, we didn't need things to be THAT NICE, you know?  But when you're renting things out to a stranger and trying to fetch a good price for it ... you need some professional help to make things extra super duper clean and up to standards.   If we were renting the apartment downstairs long term, we wouldn't be hiring the maid service and landscapers, etc, either.  We'd just figure the person downstairs is paying the rent, and we don't need to make things extra special and nice to keep that person there.

                                             

                                            I see and feel all the money that is flowing out of us, and into the economy, and it feels good!  I feel like, "wow, I'm a small business, and I'm creating jobs!"  You know?  It's really cool.   I also see and feel the money that is flowing to the city in the form of hotel taxes (typically $400 - $500 per month), and I know that's a good thing, too ... I hope the city is putting the money to good use.  Not only do we pay about $5000 per year in hotel taxes (when operating 12 months out of the year as a vacation rental), we pay $11,000 per year in property taxes ... that's $16,000 per year .. money for the city.  Compare this to our next door neighbor who also has a 2-unit apartment building.  She lives in one and rents the other to a long-term tenant.  She is paying $800 per year in property taxes and no hotel taxes.  So!  $16,000 vs. $800.  Wow.  Yes, I know I am doing a fantastic thing for the city by having this vacation rental and I'm very proud of it.

                                              • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                                New Member

                                                I would add to this discussion another important arguement in favor of vacation rentals - most vacation rentals in SF are locally-owned.  This contrasts with most hotel rooms, which are owned by big corporations located in other cities and countries.  Thus, the profits from vacation rentals in the City stays in the City to a much larger extent than it does with hotel chains.  Moreover, it supports "mom and pop" property owners as compared with big, impersonal corporations.

                                                  • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                                    sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                                    Yes, I totally agree with you, James.

                                                     

                                                    We live above our apartment, and we are very active in the community here in S.F.

                                                     

                                                    We have bought almost all of our garden plants, soil, and supplies from Independent Nature garden store and Cole Hardware, which are both walking distance from our apartment.  My neighbors often see me walking home with more soil and plants in my eco-SUV ... a shopping cart, which I store in our garage.     Over the past few years, we've been building up a beautiful front garden of leafy green plants and flowers ... our neighbor has even let us beautify her front garden (formerly just bare concrete), too.  We are paying for the all the plants, soil, compost, plant food, and watering, etc ourselves, even though the garden is on her property.  All purchased from local stores.  When I'm out in front watering the plants, people often stop by and say how they've walked on that same street for years, and it never had any greenery until now.  I'm not done, however ... I plan to do a lot more greenifying over the next few years.

                                                     

                                                    Anyway ... this is just one example of how people doing vacation rentals are giving back to the city.  Great point, James !

                                    • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                      sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                      Cut and paste of Section 176 from the San Francisco Planning Code.

                                       

                                      In section 176 (a) "Violations Unlawful," it says that anything in violation of this Code is hereby found and declared to be unlawful AND a public nuisance.

                                       

                                      But I wonder, how can they say that, legally?  How can they declare that just becuase something is in violation of the code, it is a public nuisance?  I don't like it, but that's what it says ...

                                       

                                      For those who have received Planning Code violations ... were you charged with fines, even if you corrected the problem within the alotted 2 weeks?  Were you fined $250 per day?

                                       

                                      For those with experience, thank you for sharing whatever information you have. 

                                       

                                      It appears to me that just about all short-term rentals in SF residences are in violation of planning code.   So these letters from the Planning Dept are something that any one of us may have to deal with at some point in the future.

                                       

                                      ============================================================

                                      BookmarkSEC. 176.  ENFORCEMENT AGAINST VIOLATIONS.

                                       

                                       

                                         (a)   Violations Unlawful. Any use, structure, lot, feature or condition in violation of this Code is hereby found and declared to be unlawful and a public nuisance. Should any permit or license have been issued that was not then in conformity with the provisions of this Code, such permit or license shall be null and void.

                                       

                                       

                                         (b)   Methods of Enforcement. The Zoning Administrator shall have authority to enforce this Code against violations thereof by any of the following actions:

                                       

                                       

                                            (1)   Serving notice requiring the cessation, removal or correction of any violation of this Code upon the owner, agent or tenant of the property that is the subject of the violation, or upon the architect, builder, contractor or other person who commits or assists in such violation;

                                       

                                       

                                            (2)   Calling upon the City Attorney to maintain an action for injunction to restrain or abatement to cause the correction or removal of any such violation, and for assessment and recovery of a civil penalty for such violation as well as any attorneys' fees or costs, including but not limited to expert witness fees, incurred in maintaining such an action;

                                       

                                       

                                            (3)   Calling upon the District Attorney to institute criminal proceedings in enforcement of this Code against any such violation; and

                                       

                                       

                                            (4)   Calling upon the Chief of Police and authorized agents to assist in the enforcement of this Code.

                                       

                                       

                                         (c)   Penalties.

                                       

                                       

                                            (1)   Administrative Penalties. In the notice requiring the cessation, removal or correction of any violation of this Code, the Zoning Administrator may assess upon the responsible party an administrative penalty for each violation in an amount up to $250.00 for each day the violation continues unabated. The "responsible party" is the owner(s) of the real property on which the code violation is located, as listed in the records of the San Francisco Assessor, and the current leaseholder if different from the current owner(s) of the real property.

                                       

                                       

                                               The responsible party may request a Zoning Administrator's hearing in order to show cause why the notice requiring the cessation, removal or correction of the violation and any assessment of administrative penalties is in error and should be rescinded. The Zoning Administrator may designate a member of Department staff to act as the hearing officer in his or her place. The Department shall send a notice of the date, hour, and place of the hearing to the responsible party at the address specified in the request for hearing and to any member of the public who has expressed an interest in the matter.

                                       

                                       

                                               The responsible party may also request that the Zoning Administrator terminate abatement proceedings under Section 176 and refer the matter to the Director for enforcement action under the process set forth in Section 176.1 of this Code. If the Zoning Administrator determines that the enforcement case will proceed under Section 176, that determination shall be made as part of the final written decision and is not appealable separately from the decision on the merits.

                                       

                                       

                                               The responsible party may waive the right to a Zoning Administrator's hearing and proceed directly to an appeal to the Board of Appeals under Section 308.2 of this Code. Administrative penalties shall not accrue during the period of time that the matter is pending before the Zoning Administrator on a request for hearing or before the Board of Appeals on appeal. If the responsible party elects to request a Zoning Administrator's hearing, the request for hearing must be in writing and submitted to the Zoning Administrator prior to the expiration date of the Notice of Violation and Penalty. If a request for a Zoning Administrator's hearing is timely filed, any appeal to the Board of Appeals shall be from the decision of the Zoning Administrator rendered after the hearing.

                                       

                                       

                                               The Zoning Administrator or the Zoning Administrator's designee, after a full and fair consideration of the evidence and testimony received at the hearing, shall render within thirty days following the conclusion of the hearing a written decision that either rescinds the notice of violation and dismisses the proceedings, upholds the original decision, or modifies the original decision. In rendering a decision, the Zoning Administrator or the Zoning Administrator's designee shall consider:

                                       

                                       

                                               (A)   whether the responsible party was properly identified;

                                       

                                       

                                               (B)   whether the accrual dates for the administrative penalties are accurate;

                                       

                                       

                                               (C)   the amount of documented staff time spent in order to secure abatement of the violation;

                                       

                                       

                                               (D)   the nature of the violation;

                                       

                                       

                                               (E)   the duration of the violation;

                                       

                                       

                                               (F)   efforts made by the responsible party to correct the violation;

                                       

                                       

                                               (G)   the impact of the violation upon the community;

                                       

                                       

                                               (H)   any instance in which the responsible party has been in violation of the same or similar laws at the same or other locations in the City and County of San Francisco;

                                       

                                       

                                               (I)   the responsible party's good faith efforts to comply;

                                       

                                       

                                               (J)   whether the violation is easy to correct; and

                                       

                                       

                                               (K)   such other factors as the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee may consider relevant.

                                       

                                       

                                               In hearing any appeal of the Zoning Administrator's determination, the Board of Appeals shall consider the above factors. If the Board upholds the Zoning Administrator's decision in whole or in part but reduces the amount of the penalty, it may not reduce the amount of the penalty below $100.00 for each day that the violation exists, excluding the period of time that the matter has been pending either before the Zoning Administrator on a request for hearing or before the Board of Appeals on appeal.

                                       

                                       

                                               The provision of administrative penalties is not intended to be punitive in nature but is intended to secure compliance with the Planning Code and to compensate the City for its costs of enforcement.

                                       

                                       

                                            (2)   Civil Penalties. Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, company, association, society, group or other person or legal entity that violates any provision of this Code shall be liable for the City's costs of enforcement and a civil penalty, of not less than $200.00 for each day such violation is committed or permitted to continue, which penalty shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the City and County of San Francisco by the City Attorney in any court of competent jurisdiction. The City Attorney may seek recovery of any attorneys' fees and costs, including but not limited to expert witness fees, incurred by the City in bringing such civil action. For civil actions to enforce Municipal Code provisions related to general advertising signs, the penalties, attorneys' fees and costs set forth in this Section 176 shall be in addition to those authorized by Section 610 of this Code.

                                       

                                       

                                            (3)   Criminal Penalties. Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, company, association, society, group or other person or legal entity that violates any provision of this Code shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined in an amount not less than $200.00 or be imprisoned for a period not exceeding six months or be both so fined and imprisoned. Each day such violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as such hereunder.

                                       

                                       

                                            (4)   Planning Code Enforcement Fund. Any fees and penalties collected pursuant to this Section 176 shall be deposited in the Planning Code Enforcement Fund established by Administrative Code Section 10.100-166. The Planning Department, through the Planning Code Enforcement Fund, shall reimburse City departments and agencies, including the City Attorney's Office, for all costs and fees incurred in the enforcement of this Section 176.

                                       

                                       

                                         (d)   Additional Methods of Enforcement and Penalties for Violation of Sign Regulations. Violation of the general advertising sign regulations set forth in Article 6 are subject to the administrative penalties and enforcement procedures set forth in Section 610 of this Code, in addition to those set forth in this Section 176.

                                       

                                       

                                         (e)   Use of Penalties Collected. All penalties collected under this Section 176 shall be deposited in the Planning Code Enforcement Fund established in Administrative Code Section 10.100.166 and shall be used for the purposes specified in that section.

                                       

                                       

                                      (Added by Ord. 443-78, App. 10/6/78; amended by Ord. 71-01, File No. 001391, App. 5/18/2001; Ord. 46-07, File No. 061539, App. 3/9/2007; Ord. 57-08, File No. 071651, App. 4/10/2008; Ord. 56-13 , File No. 130062, App. 3/28/2013, Eff. 4/27/2013)

                                       

                                       

                                      AMENDMENT HISTORY

                                       

                                       

                                      Division (c)(1) amended; Ord. 56-13 , Eff. 4/27/2013.

                                       

                                        • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                          sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                          I looked up the code for Section 209.2 (d), and it says it applies to housing units, NONE OF WHICH have individual cooking facilities.

                                           

                                          Paul, did your short-term rental have individual cooking facilities?  If so, it seems 209.2 (d) would not apply to your place.

                                           

                                           

                                          SEC. 209.2. OTHER HOUSING.




                                          C

                                          C

                                          P

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                                          (a)   Group housing, boarding: Providing lodging or both meals and lodging, without individual cooking facilities, by prearrangement for a week or more at a time and housing six or more persons in a space not defined by this Code as a dwelling unit. Such group housing shall include but not necessarily be limited to a boardinghouse, guesthouse, rooming house, lodging house, residence club, commune, fraternity and sorority house but shall not include group housing for religious orders or group housing for medical and educational institutions, whether on a separate lot or part of an institution, as defined and regulated by this Code. The density limitations for group housing, by district, shall be as set forth in Section208 of this Code.




                                          C

                                          C

                                          P

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                                          (b)   Group housing, religious orders: Providing lodging or both meals and lodging, without individual cooking facilities, by prearrangement for a week or more at a time and housing six or more persons in a space not defined by this Code as a dwelling unit, where such housing is for members of a religious order calling for collective work or worship and is not defined as, or on the same lot as, a religious institution as defined and regulated by Section 209.3(j) of this Code. Such housing shall include but not necessarily be limited to a monastery, nunnery, convent and ashram. The density limitations for group housing, by district, shall be as set forth in Section 208 of this Code.




                                          C

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                                          C

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                                          C

                                          (c)   Group housing, medical and educational institutions: Providing lodging or both meals and lodging, without individual cooking facilities, by prearrangement for a week or more at a time and housing six or more persons in a space not defined by this Code as a dwelling unit, where such facility is affiliated with and operated by a medical or educational institution as defined and regulated by Sections209.3(a), (g), (h) and of this Code but not located on the same lot as such institution and not used for inpatient care. Such housing shall meet the applicable provisions of Section304.5 of this Code concerning institutional master plans. The density limitations for group housing, by district, shall be as set forth in Section208 of this Code.




                                          C

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                                          C

                                          (d)   Hotel, inn or hostel containing no more than five rooms or suites of rooms, none with individual cooking facilities, which are offered for compensation and are primarily for the accommodation of transient overnight guests. A hotel, inn or hostel shall not include a motel as defined and regulated by Section 216(c) of this Code.












                                          C

                                          C

                                          C

                                          C

                                          (e)   Hotel, inn or hostel as specified in Subsection 209.2(d) above but with six or more guestrooms or suites.

                                        • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                          sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                          SEC. 204.2.  ACCESSORY USES FOR USES OTHER THAN DWELLINGS IN RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS.

                                           

                                             No use shall be permitted as an accessory use to a use other than a dwelling in any Residential District which involves or requires any of the following:
                                             (a)   The use of more than one-fourth of the total floor area occupied by such use and the principal or conditional use to which it is accessory, except in the case of accessory off-street parking and loading;

                                           

                                             (b)   The use of show windows or window displays or advertising to attract customers or clients, except for an identifying sign and regulated in Article 6 of this Code; or
                                             (c)   The conduct of any activity of a profit-making or commercial nature, except as an integral part of the permitted principal or conditional use where such activity is expressly permitted by Sections 209.1 through 209.9 of this Code; or

                                           

                                             (d)   A Medical Cannabis Dispensary as defined in Section 209.3(k) and 217(k) of this Code.

                                           

                                          (Amended by Ord. 443-78, App. 10/6/78; Ord. 140-11, File No. 110482, App. 7/5/2011, Eff. 8/4/2011; Ord. 176-12 , File No. 120472, App. 8/7/2012, Eff. 9/6/2012)

                                           

                                           

                                          AMENDMENT HISTORY

                                           

                                           

                                          Division (d) added; Ord. 140-11, Eff. 8/4/2011. Section header and undesignated introductory paragraph amended; Ord. 176-12 , Eff. 9/6/2012.

                                           

                                          • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                            sfvacationhut Community All-Star
                                            BookmarkSEC. 209.1.  DWELLINGS.

                                             

                                             

                                            RH-1 (D)

                                             

                                            RH-1

                                            RH-1 (S)

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                                            SEC. 209.1. DWELLINGS.

                                             

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                                            (a)   One-family dwelling having side yards as required by Section 133 of this Code.


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                                            (b)   Other one-family dwelling.



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                                            (c)   Two-family dwelling with the second dwelling unit limited to 600 square feet of net floor area.




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                                            (d)   Other two-family dwelling.





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                                            (e)   Three-family dwelling.


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                                            (f)   Dwelling at a density ratio up to one dwelling unit for each 3,000 square feet of lot area, but no more than three dwelling units per lot, if authorized as a conditional use by the City Planning Commission.




                                            C

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                                            (g)   Dwelling at a density ratio up to one dwelling unit for each 1,500 square feet of lot area, if authorized as a conditional use by the City Planning Commission.





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                                            (h)   Dwelling at a density ratio up to one dwelling unit for each 1,000 square feet of lot area, if authorized as a conditional use by the City Planning Commission.






                                            P

                                            NA

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                                               Dwelling at a density ratio not exceeding one dwelling unit for each 800 square feet of lot area.







                                            P

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                                            NA

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                                            (j)   Dwelling at a density ratio not exceeding one dwelling unit for each 600 square feet of lot area.








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                                            C

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                                            NA

                                            (k)   Dwelling at a density ratio not exceeding one dwelling unit for each 400 square feet of lot area.









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                                            (l)   Dwelling at a density ratio not exceeding one dwelling unit for each 200 square feet of lot area; provided, that for purposes of this calculation a dwelling unit in these districts containing no more than 500 square feet of net floor area and consisting of not more than one habitable room in addition to a kitchen and a bathroom may be counted as equal to ¾ of a dwelling unit.

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                                            (m)   Dwelling specifically designed for and occupied by senior citizens, as defined in Section 102.6.1 and meeting all of the requirements of that Section, at a density ratio or number of dwelling units not exceeding twice the number of dwelling units otherwise permitted above as a principal use in the district.










                                            C

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                                            (n)   Dwelling at a density not limited by lot area, but by the applicable requirements and limitations elsewhere in this Code, including but not limited to height, bulk, setbacks, open space, exposure, and unit mix, as well as by the Residential Design Guidelines and other applicable design guidelines, applicable elements and area plans of the General Plan, and design review by the Planning Department. In lieu of the conditions of Section 303, the Planning Commission shall affirmatively find all of the following: (1) the proposed project has a physical design and articulation compatible with the character of surrounding structures, (2) that the proposed accessory parking does not exceed that amount principally permitted under Section151.1 without Conditional Use, and (3) the project meets all the minimum Code requirements without variance for usable open space, exposure, rear yards and setbacks.

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                                            (o)   Dwelling specifically designed for and occupied by senior citizens, as defined in Section 102.6.1 and meeting all of the requirements of that Section except for 102.6.1(b)(4) related to location, at a density ratio or number of dwelling units not exceeding twice the number of dwelling units otherwise permitted above as a principal use in the district.

                                            • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                              sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                              BookmarkSEC. 209.8.  COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENTS IN R DISTRICTS.

                                               

                                              RH-1 (D)

                                               

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                                              SEC. 209.8.  COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENTS.

                                               












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                                                 (a)   Except for massage establishments as noted in Section 218.1, retail, personal service or other commercial establishment is permitted as a principal use on the ground floor or below of a building if permitted as a principal use on the ground floor in an NC-3 District, unless otherwise specified in this Code.












                                              C

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                                                 (b)   Except for massage establishments as noted in Section 218.1, retail, personal service or other commercial establishment is permitted as a conditional use on the ground floor or below of a building if permitted as a conditional use on the ground floor in an NC-3 District, unless otherwise specified in this Code.












                                              C

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                                                 (c)   Except for massage establishments as noted in Section 218.1, retail, personal service or other commercial establishment is permitted as a conditional use above the ground floor of a building if permitted as a principal or conditional use on the ground floor in an NC-3 District, unless otherwise specified in this Code.












                                              C

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                                                 (d)   Formula Retail Use, as defined in Section703.3(b) of this Code.








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                                                 (e)   Any use meeting the standards and limitations set forth in Section 231: Limited Corner Commercial Uses in RTO Districts.












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                                                 (f)   Non-residential use exceeding 6,000 gross square feet.












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                                                 (g)   Liquor Store on the ground floor, as defined in Section 790.55 of this Code, unless otherwise specified in this Code.














                                                 (h)   Drive-up Facility, as defined in Section 790.30of this Code.












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                                                    Walk-up Facility, as defined in Section 790.140of this Code, is permitted as a principle use on the ground floor if recessed 3 feet; requires a conditional use if not recessed.












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                                                 (j)   Outdoor Activity Area, as defined in Section790.70 of this Code, if in front; requires a conditional use if elsewhere.

                                              • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                                sfvacationhut Community All-Star
                                                SEC. 209.9.  OTHER USES.

                                                 

                                                RH-1 (D)

                                                 

                                                RH-1

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                                                SEC. 209.9.  OTHER USES.

                                                 

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                                                   (a)   Sale or lease sign, as defined and regulated byArticle 6 of this Code.

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                                                   (b)   Planned Unit Development, as defined and regulated by Section 304 and other applicable provisions of this Code.

                                                SEE SECTIONS 205 THROUGH 205.2

                                                   (c)   Temporary uses, as specified in and regulated by Sections 205 through 205.2 of this Code.












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                                                   (d)   Any use as specified in, and regulated by, Sections 209.3(d), (f), (g), (h), (j); 209.4(a), (b); or209.5(c) of this Code, when located in or below the ground story of a building and not above the ground story.

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                                                   (e)   Any use listed as a principal or conditional use permitted on the ground floor in an NC-1 District, when located in a structure on a landmark site designated pursuant to Article 10 of this Code, provided that no Conditional Use shall be authorized under this provision unless (1) such authorization conforms to the applicable provisions of Section 303 of this Code and (2) the specific use so authorized is essential to the feasibility of retaining and preserving the landmark.












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                                                   (g)   Arts activities except those uses subject to Sections 209.3(d) or (h).

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                                                   (h)   Mortuary and columbarium uses located on a landmark site, and where the site is within a Height and Bulk District of 40 feet or less, and where a columbarium use has lawfully and continuously operated since the time of designation. "Columbarium use" shall be defined as a use which provides for the storage of cremated remains in niches.

                                                • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                                  sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                                  BookmarkSEC. 102.7.  DWELLING UNIT.

                                                   

                                                     A room or suite of two or more rooms that is designed for, or is occupied by, one family doing its own cooking therein and having only one kitchen. A housekeeping room as defined in the Housing Code shall be a dwelling unit for purposes of this Code. For the purposes of this Code, a live/work unit, as defined in Section 102.13 of this Code, shall not be considered a dwelling unit.

                                                   

                                                  (Amended Ord. 443-78, App. 10/6/78; Ord. 412-88, App. 9/10/88)

                                                   

                                                  • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                                    sfvacationhut Community All-Star
                                                    BookmarkSEC. 102.13.  LIVE/WORK UNIT.

                                                     

                                                       A live/work unit is a structure or portion of a structure combining a residential living space for a group of persons including not more than four adults in the same unit with an integrated work space principally used by one or more of the residents of that unit; provided, however, that no otherwise qualifying portion of a structure which contains a Group A occupancy under the San Francisco Building Code shall be considered a live/work unit.

                                                     

                                                    (Added by Ord. 412-88, App. 9/10/88; amended by Ord. 56-02, File No. 012127, App. 4/29/2002)

                                                     

                                                    • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                                      sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                                      Earlier I posted Section 176.  Enforcement Against Violations.

                                                       

                                                      Right after that comes Sec. 176.1 Administrative Enforcement Procedures, which seems much "kinder and gentler." From what I see below, under Administration Procedures, a short-term rental operator (or "host") would have 30 days to respond and correct the planning code violation ... and it looks to me like one could completely avoid the fees / penalties by adequately responding within the 30 days. 

                                                       

                                                      At least, I hope so!  Short-term rentals provide huge benefits to our neighbors and the community, and the owners work so hard to provide this service.  It's bad enough that the Planning Dept. is issuing these "cease and desist" letters but even worse if they are making the neighborhood hosts pay massive fines on top of that.  

                                                       

                                                      It's similarly destructive and pointless when such letters are issued to demolish "illegal" in-law apartments, which provide much needed housing options in the city.  Some illegal in-law units are rented short-term; some are rented long-term, and some are left vacant .. either way, at least the kitchen must be demolished and possibly the bathroom, too ... if a complaint is filed.

                                                       

                                                      In such cases, I don't understand what good deed is being done here, in terms of "ensuring the quality of life in San Francisco's neighborhoods and in the City as a whole."

                                                       

                                                      BookmarkSEC. 176.1.  ADMINISTRATIVE ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES.

                                                       

                                                         (a)   Purpose and Intent.

                                                       

                                                            (1)   The Board of Supervisors finds that enforcement of the Planning Code is vital to ensuring the quality of life in San Francisco's neighborhoods and in the City as a whole. A comprehensive code enforcement program using a combination of judicial and administrative remedies is likely to be the most successful approach to secure compliance with Planning Code requirements. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the City and its citizens to provide an alternative method of administrative enforcement that is designed to induce compliance with the Planning Code through action by the Director to issue and record orders of abatement and assess administrative penalties.

                                                       

                                                            (2)   The alternative methods of administrative enforcement established by this Section do not replace but rather are intended to supplement the enforcement remedies established in Section 176 and other penalties or methods of enforcement, both civil and criminal, that are authorized by law. The provision for administrative penalties is not intended to be punitive in nature but is intended to secure compliance with the Planning Code and to compensate the City for its costs of enforcement.

                                                       

                                                            (3)   By establishing multiple enforcement mechanisms, it is intended that the Department will elect to use the mechanism most likely to achieve an expeditious and effective resolution of the violation in a particular case with the best use of the City's resources. In exercising this discretion, the Department should usually elect to use the Director's authority under this Section 176.1 in those cases where the legal or factual issues are not complex and where an interpretation of the Planning Code is not at issue, and reserve the enforcement mechanisms in Section 176 for those cases that are more complex or where interpretations of the Planning Code are at issue.

                                                       

                                                         (b)   Authority of the Director. The Director may enforce against violations of the Planning Code through the alternative administrative remedies of this Section 176.1. The Director may designate a member of Department staff to act under his or her authority with respect to any action the Director is authorized to take in this Section 176.1.

                                                       

                                                            If the Department elects to use the administrative remedies of this Section, the Department must use the abatement process set forth in this Section. However, as provided in Section (d)(3) below, the Department is not precluded from pursing the alternative remedies of Section 176 if abatement of the violation has not been achieved under this Section 176.1. In addition, the Department's election of this process shall not affect the City Attorney's Charter authority to pursue a civil action. If the City Attorney filed a civil action against the property prior to the Director's issuance of the notice of violation under this Section 176.1, at the City Attorney's election the process under this Section 176.1 shall be terminated and abatement of the alleged violations shall be pursued by the City Attorney in the ongoing civil action.
                                                         (c)   Notice of Violation.
                                                            (1)   Issuance. After the Department has determined that a violation of this Code exists, the Director shall give written notice of the violation to the responsible party. For purposes of this Section 176.1, "responsible party" means the owners(s) of the real property on which the code violation is located, as listed in the records of the San Francisco Assessor, and the current leaseholder if different from the current owner(s) of the real property.

                                                       

                                                            (2)   Contents of Notice. The notice shall cite to this Section 176.1 and describe the violation(s) with specificity, including: the date and location of the violations and the approximate time the violations were observed; citation to applicable Code sections; and a description of how what was observed violated the Code sections. The notice of violation shall state that the responsible party has thirty days from the date of service to correct all violations or (ii) file an application for a building permit or other authorization necessary to abate the violations and proceed diligently to obtain all approvals and complete the work, as specified by the Director's order and within the time periods required.

                                                       

                                                               The notice of violation shall inform the responsible party that if the action required in the notice of violation is not taken by the stipulated deadline, the Director will will issue an order of abatement, (ii) cause the order of abatement to be recorded against the property's records in the Office of the Recorder of the City and County of San Francisco, and (iii) assess administrative penalties under Section 176.1(e). The notice of violation shall also inform the responsible party of the right to request a Director's hearing under Subsection (d)(3) below prior to issuance of an order of abatement and assessment of administrative penalties. Service of the notice of violation shall be as specified in Section (g) below.

                                                       

                                                         (d)   Order of Abatement.

                                                       

                                                            (1)   Issuance; Administrative Penalties; Request for Hearing. If a property remains in violation after the deadlines established in the notice of violation, the Director shall issue an order of abatement and assess administrative penalties against the responsible party by following the procedure set forth in Section 176.1(e). The order of abatement shall state the amount of penalty imposed, explain how and when the penalty shall be paid, and describe the consequences of failure to pay the penalty. The order of abatement shall inform the responsible party of the right to appeal the order of abatement and assessment of administrative penalties to an administrative law judge under Subsection (f) below. The Department shall not proceed to enforce the order of abatement or collect the administrative penalties until the time for appeal has passed or the order and penalties have been upheld on appeal.

                                                       

                                                            (2)   Recording. The Director shall record the order of abatement against the property's records in the Office of the Recorder of the City and County of San Francisco. The Department shall not record the order of abatement until the time for appeal has passed or the Director's decision has been upheld on appeal. Within fourteen business days after the violation has been finally abated and all fees and penalties have been paid, the Director shall record a notice of compliance that cancels the order of abatement.

                                                       

                                                            (3)   Request for Hearing. Prior to expiration of the compliance deadlines set forth in the notice of violation, the responsible party may request a Director's hearing in order to show cause why the order of abatement should not issue and administrative penalties should not be assessed. The responsible party may also request that the Department not proceed with abatement proceedings under this Section 176.1 but instead proceed under Section 176. The Director's decision to continue proceeding under Section 176.1 is final and not appealable.

                                                       

                                                               The Director may designate a member of Department staff to may act in his or her place as the hearing officer. The hearing officer shall have the same authority as the Director to hear and decide the case and to make any order provided for in this section. The responsible party may waive the right to a Director's hearing and proceed directly to an appeal under Subsection (f) below after the order of abatement is issued and administrative penalties have been assessed. If the responsible party requests a Director's hearing, the following procedure shall apply:

                                                       

                                                               (A)   Request for hearing; notice. The responsible party shall submit a written request for a Director's hearing prior to expiration of the compliance deadlines set forth in the notice of violation on a form or in the manner required by the Director. The Director shall send a notice of the date, hour, and place of the hearing to the responsible party at the address specified in the request for hearing and to any member of the public who has expressed an interest in the matter.

                                                       

                                                               (B)   Decision. The Director or the Director's designee, after a full and fair consideration of the evidence and testimony received at the hearing, shall render within thirty days following the conclusion of the hearing a written decision which either dismisses the proceedings or orders issuance of the order of abatement and assessment of the administrative penalties. In rendering a decision, the Director or the Director's designee shall consider the following:

                                                       

                                                                     whether the responsible party was properly identified;

                                                       

                                                                  (ii)   whether the accrual dates for the administrative penalties are accurate;

                                                       

                                                                  (iii)   the amount of documented staff time spent in order to secure abatement of the violation;

                                                       

                                                                  (iv)   the nature of the violation;

                                                       

                                                                  (v)   the duration of the violation;

                                                       

                                                                  (vi)   efforts made by the responsible party to correct the violation;

                                                       

                                                                  (vii)   the impact of the violation upon the community;

                                                       

                                                                  (viii)   any instance in which the responsible party has been in violation of the same or similar laws at the same or other locations in the City and County of San Francisco;

                                                       

                                                                  (ix)   the responsible party's good faith efforts to comply;

                                                       

                                                                  (x)   whether the violation is easy to correct; and

                                                                  (xi)   such other factors as the Director or the Director's designee may consider relevant.

                                                       

                                                       

                                                         (e)   Administrative Penalties.

                                                       

                                                            (1)   Assessment. In an order of abatement issued under Subsection (d) above, the Director shall assess administrative penalties for violation of the Planning Code. A penalty shall be assessed for each violation observed. Payment of the penalty shall not excuse failure to correct the violations nor shall it bar further enforcement action by the City.

                                                       

                                                            (2)   Amount of Penalty. The penalty assessed for each violation shall be $100.00 if the violation has not been corrected within thirty days from the date of service of the notice of violation. $250.00 if the violation has not been corrected within sixty days from the date of service of the notice of violation, and $500.00 if the violation has not been corrected within ninety days from the date of service of the notice of violation. If at the end of the 90-day period the violation has not been corrected and the matter has not been appealed, the Zoning Administrator may exercise his or her discretion to initiate abatement proceedings under Section 176 of this Code or to refer the matter to the City Attorney or District Attorney for prosecution.

                                                       

                                                            (3)   Failure to Pay the Administrative Penalties. If the responsible party fails to pay the administrative penalties to the Department within thirty days of service of the order of abatement, or within thirty days of the date the penalties have been upheld on appeal, the Director may take such action to collect the fees as he or she deems appropriate, including referral of the matter to the Bureau of Delinquent Revenue Collection under Article V, Section 10.39 of the San Francisco Administrative Code, initiation of lien proceedings under Article XX, Section 10.230 et seq. of the San Francisco Administrative Code, and/or a requesting that the City Attorney pursue collection of the penalties imposed against the Responsible Party in a civil action. The City Attorney may request its attorneys' fees in any action that he or she pursues to collect the administrative penalties or to enforce collection of the penalties.

                                                       

                                                         (f)   Appeal of Order of Abatement and Administrative Penalties.

                                                       

                                                            (1)   Method of Appeal; Fee. The responsible party may appeal the issuance of an order of abatement and any the administrative penalties assessed in the order by filing a written request in the form required by the Department within fifteen days of the service of the order. The appeal shall describe in detail why the appellant believes that the order of abatement was issued in error or why the administrative penalty was assessed in error or should be modified.

                                                       

                                                               The appeal shall be filed on a form or in the manner required by the Director and be accompanied by the payment of a fee of $400.00. The Department shall increase this fee on an annual basis at a rate equal to that of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In addition to the appeal fee and administrative penalties assessed in the order of abatement, the Director shall assess upon the responsible party the Department's cost of preparation for and appearance at the hearing and all prior and subsequent attendant costs of the enforcement action. These fees shall be waived if the responsible party would qualify for a waiver of court fees and costs under California Government Code Section 68511.3.
                                                            (2)   Scheduling of Hearing. Upon timely filing of the appeal and payment of the appeal fee, the Director shall schedule a hearing before an administrative law judge, who shall serve as the hearing officer. The hearing shall be scheduled for a date no later than thirty days after the request. The Director shall notify the responsible party and the appellant, if different from the responsible party, of the hearing date, hour, and place of the hearing as soon as the hearing is scheduled and in no event later than ten days prior to the hearing. Notice of the hearing shall also be given to any member of the public who has expressed interest in the matter. Notice shall be given in the manner specified in Subsection (g) below.

                                                       

                                                            (3)   Documentation to be Provided to the Administrative Law Judge. The Director shall provide to the administrative law judge no later than ten days prior to the hearing a copy of the Department's case file, which shall include at a minimum the notice of violation, the order of abatement, other written communications between the Department and the responsible party, and communications submitted by interested members of the public concerning the case. The Director may also submit, but is not required to do so, written arguments on why the Director's order should be upheld. Anything submitted to the administrative law judge by either party to the appeal shall be served upon the other party at the same time and in the same manner as it is submitted to the administrative law judge.

                                                            (4)   Hearing and Decision. The administrative law judge shall hold a public hearing to hear the appeal of the Director's order of abatement and/or assessment of administrative penalties. In considering the appeal, the administrative law judge shall consider the following:

                                                       

                                                               (A)   whether the responsible party was properly identified;

                                                       

                                                               (B)   whether the accrual dates for the administrative penalties are accurate;

                                                       

                                                               (C)   the amount of documented staff time spent in order to secure abatement of the violation;

                                                       

                                                               (D)   the nature of the violation;

                                                       

                                                               (E)   the duration of the violation;

                                                       

                                                               (F)   efforts made by the responsible party to correct the violation;

                                                       

                                                               (G)   the impact of the violation upon the community;

                                                       

                                                               (H)   any instance in which the responsible party has been in violation of the same or similar laws at the same or other locations in the City and County of San Francisco;
                                                               (I)   the responsible party's good faith efforts to comply; and

                                                       

                                                               (J)   whether the violation is easy to correct; and

                                                       

                                                               (K)   such other factors as the administrative law judge may consider relevant.

                                                       

                                                               The decision of the administrative law judge shall be based upon, but not limited to, provisions of the San Francisco Planning Code, any final Zoning Administrator interpretations, the San Francisco Building Code, building permits issued by the City, and any final decisions of the San Francisco Board of Appeals concerning the subject building or property.

                                                       

                                                               The administrative law judge shall issue a written decision on the appeal within thirty days of the conclusion of the hearing. The decision shall be served on the responsible party by certified mail by deposit in the United States mail in a sealed envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the responsible party at the address provided to the administrative law judge by the responsible party. Service shall be considered to have been completed at the time of deposit in the United States mail. A copy of the decision shall also be mailed to the Director of Planning at the offices of the Planning Department.

                                                       

                                                            (5)   Continuance of Hearing. The parties may by mutual agreement continue the hearing date. If the parties do not mutually agree on another hearing date, the party wanting a continuance may request the administrative law judge to grant the continuance by submitting a written request for a continuance and demonstrating good cause with supporting documentation. A written request for a continuance shall be made at the earliest possible date but in no event less than five days before the hearing unless unforeseen circumstances prevent such notification. The party requesting the continuance shall notify any other parties of the request in the most expeditious manner and provide them with copies of the complete request and the supporting documentation. A request for continuance made at the time of the hearing may be granted only in those exceptional cases where the requesting party demonstrates both good cause and that the party was unable through no fault of their own to make the request at an earlier time. The administrative law judge may grant more than one continuance, but the combination of all continuances granted shall be for no longer than forty-five days.

                                                       

                                                               For purposes of this section, "good cause" may include:

                                                       

                                                               (A)   the illness of a party, an attorney or other authorized representative of a party, or a material witness of a party;

                                                       

                                                               (B)   verified travel of a party, attorney, or material witness outside of San Francisco scheduled before receipt of the notice of hearing;
                                                               (C)   failure to receive timely notice of the hearing date; or

                                                       

                                                               (D)   any other reason which makes it impossible or infeasible to appear on the scheduled date due to unforeseen circumstances or verified pre-arranged plans that cannot be changed. Mere inconvenience in appearing shall not be considered sufficient good cause.

                                                       

                                                               In deciding whether to grant the request for continuance, the administrative law judge shall also take into consideration the nature of the alleged violation and its impact on neighboring properties and the general public if the alleged violations are allowed to continue for an additional period of time.

                                                       

                                                            (6)   Finality and Effect of the Decision. The decision of the administrative law judge shall be the City's final administrative action on the matter and there shall be no further administrative appeals.

                                                       

                                                            (7)   Compliance with Decision. If the administrative law judge upholds the Director's order of abatement in whole or in part, the responsible party shall comply with the decision and pay to the Department any administrative penalties that were upheld within thirty days of the date the decision was served. If the responsible party is proceeding diligently to obtain required permits and to complete the abatement work, the Director may grant additional time to comply with the decision. If the responsible party fails to comply with the decision and/or to pay the administrative penalties within the time period required, the Director may take such action to collect the fees and enforce the decision as he or she deems appropriate, including referral of the matter to the Bureau of Delinquent Revenue Collection under Article V, Section 10.39 of the San Francisco Administrative Code, initiation of lien proceedings under Article XX, Section 10.230 et seq. of the San Francisco Administrative Code, and/or a requesting that the City Attorney pursue enforcement of the decision and collection of the penalties imposed against the responsible party in a civil action.

                                                       

                                                               If the administrative law judge overrules the Director and determines that the order of abatement was issued in error, the Department shall consider the case abated and all administrative penalties rescinded.

                                                       

                                                            (8)   Rescission of Order of Abatement or Withdrawal of Appeal Prior to the Hearing. If the Director rescinds the order of abatement in its entirety prior to the hearing, the case shall be considered abated and the appeal withdrawn, and any assessed administrative penalties shall be considered rescinded. The Department shall refund to the responsible party in a timely manner any appeal fees that he or she has paid.

                                                       

                                                               If the responsible party elects to withdraw the appeal and comply with the order of abatement, the Department shall refund in a timely manner any appeal fees that he or she has paid. Any administrative penalties already assessed must be paid in full before the Department will consider the case abated. If the responsible party withdraws the appeal within ten days of the date the appeal was filed, he or she may apply to the Director in writing for a reduction in the amount of any assessed administrative penalties based upon the number of days between the filing of the appeal and its withdrawal. Any decision by the Director to grant or deny the request shall be at the Director's sole discretion and is not appealable.

                                                       

                                                         (g)   Service of Notices and Orders; Proof of Service. Service of a notice of violation, order of abatement, or other notice or order required by this Section 176.1 shall be given to the owner of the property or other person to be notified by depositing the notice or order in the United States mail in a sealed envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the person to be notified at that person's last known business or residence address as shown in the Assessor's records. Service by mail shall be considered to have been completed at the time of deposit in the United States mail.

                                                       

                                                            If the identity of the person or business entity owning the property in question is unknown, the notice of violation shall be posted in a conspicuous location on, or if access to the property is not available in a conspicuous location as close as practicable to, the building or property. The notice shall also be hand delivered to the person, if any, in real or apparent charge and control of the subject premises or property. Once the identity of the person or business entity is known, the notice of violation shall be mailed to such person or business entity without the delay affecting the time limits, fees, or administrative penalties imposed by this Section 176.1.

                                                       

                                                            Proof of giving any notice may be made by the certificate of any officer or employee of the City and County of San Francisco or by affidavit of any person over the age of 18 years, which shows service in conformity with the San Francisco Municipal Code or any other applicable provisions of law.
                                                         (h)   Failure of the City to Comply with Timelines. The failure of the Director, the Department, or the administrative law judge to comply with any of the timelines set forth in this Section 176.1 shall not render the code violations unenforceable.

                                                       

                                                            Use of Fees and Penalties Collected. All fees and penalties collected under this Section 176.1 shall be deposited in the Planning Code Enforcement Fund established in Administrative Code Section 10.100.166 and shall be used for the purposes specified in that section.

                                                       

                                                      (Added by Ord. 57-08, File No. 071651, App. 4/10/2008)

                                                       

                                                      • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                                        sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                                        BookmarkSEC. 178.  CONDITIONAL USES.

                                                         

                                                           The following provisions shall apply to conditional uses:

                                                         

                                                           (a)   Definition. For the purposes of this Section, a permitted conditional use shall refer to:

                                                         

                                                              (1)   Any use or feature authorized as a conditional use pursuant to Article 3 of this Code, provided that such use or feature was established within the time limits specified as a condition of authorization or, if no time limit was specified, within a reasonable time from the date of authorization; or

                                                         

                                                              (2)   Any use or feature which is classified as a conditional use in the district in which it is located and which lawfully existed either on the effective date of this Code, or on the effective date of any amendment imposing new conditional use requirements upon such use or feature; or

                                                         

                                                              (3)   Any use deemed to be a permitted conditional use pursuant to Section 179 of this Code.

                                                         

                                                           (b)   Continuation. Except as provided for temporary uses in Section 205 of this Code, and except where time limits are otherwise specified as a condition of authorization, any permitted conditional use may continue in the form in which it was authorized, or in the form in which it lawfully existed either on the effective date of this Code or the effective date of any amendment imposing new conditional use requirements upon such use or feature, unless otherwise provided in this Section or in Article 2 of this Code.

                                                         

                                                           (c)   Enlargements or Alteration. A permitted conditional use may not be significantly altered, enlarged, or intensified, except upon approval of a new conditional use application pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code. With regard to an Internet Services Exchange as defined in Section209.6(c), any physical alteration which will enlarge or expand the building for the purpose of intensifying the use shall be deemed to be significant under this section, and any increase in the size of electrical service to the building which will require a permit from the Department of Building Inspection shall be deemed to be significant under this section.

                                                         

                                                           (d)   Abandonment. A permitted conditional use which is discontinued for a period of three years, or otherwise abandoned, shall not be restored, except upon approval of a new conditional use application pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code. For purposes of this Subsection, the period of nonuse for a permitted conditional use to be deemed discontinued in the North Beach, Castro Street Neighborhood Commercial Districts, and the Jackson Square Special Use District shall be eighteen (18) months, except that in the North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District, the period of non use for a Restaurant use, as defined in Section 790.91, to be deemed discontinued shall be three years.

                                                         

                                                           (e)   Changes in Use. The following provisions shall apply to permitted conditional uses with respect to changes in use:

                                                         

                                                              (1)   A permitted conditional use may be changed to another use listed in Articles 2, 7 or 8 of this Code as a principal use for the district in which it is located and the new use may thereafter be continued as a permitted principal use.

                                                         

                                                              (2)   A permitted conditional use may be changed to another use listed in Articles 2, 7 or 8 of this Code as a conditional use for the district in which the property is located, subject to the other applicable provisions of this Code, only upon approval of a new conditional use application, pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code.

                                                         

                                                              (3)   A permitted conditional use may not be changed to another use not permitted or prohibited by Articles 2, 7 or 8 of this Code. If a permitted conditional use has been wrongfully changed to another use in violation of the foregoing provisions and the violation is not immediately corrected when required by the Zoning Administrator, the wrongful change shall be deemed to be a discontinuance or abandonment of the permitted conditional use.

                                                         

                                                              (4)   Once a permitted conditional use has been changed to a principal use permitted in the district in which the property is located, or brought closer in any other manner to conformity with the use limitations of this Code, the use of the property may not thereafter be returned to its former permitted conditional use status, except upon approval of a new conditional use application pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of this Code.

                                                         

                                                              (5)   In the North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District, any use that exceeds the use size provisions of Section 121.2(a) or 121.2(b) may be changed to a new use only upon approval of a new conditional use application. The Commission's approval of such conditional use application shall explicitly address the use size findings of Section 303(c).

                                                         

                                                              (6)   In the Castro Street Neighborhood Commercial District, any use that exceeds the use size provisions of Section 121.2(a), but is smaller than the maximum use size limit of Section 121.2(b), may be changed to a new use only upon approval of a new conditional use application. The Commission's approval of such conditional use application shall explicitly address the use size findings of Section 303(c).

                                                         

                                                           (f)   Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this Section 178, a structure occupied by a permitted conditional use that is damaged or destroyed by fire, or other calamity, or by Act of God, or by the public enemy, may be restored to its former condition and use without the approval of a new conditional use application, provided that such restoration is permitted by the Building Code, and is started within 18 months and diligently pursued to completion. Except as provided in Subsection (g) below, no structure occupied by a permitted conditional use that is voluntarily razed or required by law to be razed by the owner thereof may thereafter be restored except upon approval of a new conditional use application pursuant to the provisions ofArticle 3 of this Code.

                                                         

                                                           (g)   None of the provisions of this Section 178 shall be construed to prevent any measures of construction, alteration or demolition necessary to correct the unsafe or dangerous condition of any structure, other feature, or part thereof, where such condition has been declared unsafe or dangerous by the Superintendent of the Bureau of Building Inspection or the Chief of the Bureau of Fire Prevention and Public Safety, and where the proposed measures have been declared necessary, by such official, to correct the said condition; provided, however, that only such work as is absolutely necessary to correct the unsafe or dangerous condition may be performed pursuant to this Section.

                                                        (Added by Ord. 69-87, App. 3/13/87; amended by Ord. 131-87, App. 4/24/87; Ord. 115-90, App. 4/6/90; Ord. 312-99, File No. 991586, App. 12/3/99; Ord. 198-00, File No. 993231, App. 8/18/2000; Ord. 77-02, File No. 011448, App. 5/24/2002; Ord. 245-08, File No. 080696; Ord. 75-12 , File No. 120084, App. 4/23/2012, Eff. 5/23/2012; Ord. 56-13 , File No. 130062, App. 3/28/2013, Eff. 4/27/2013)

                                                         

                                                        AMENDMENT HISTORY

                                                         

                                                        Division (d) amended; Ord. 75-12 , Eff. 5/23/2012. Division (f) amended; Ord. 56-13 , Eff. 4/27/2013.

                                                        • Re: Have you received a violation letter from the Planning Dept?
                                                          sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                                          The below applies to "other housing" in mainly commercial, as opposed to residential districts.

                                                          Again I can only find references to room or suites, NONE WITH INDIVIDUAL COOKING FACILITIES.

                                                           

                                                             "(b)   Hotel, inn or hostel containing rooms or suites of rooms, none with individual cooking facilities, which are offered for compensation and are primarily for the accommodation of transient overnight guests. A hotel, inn or hostel shall not include a motel as described in Subsection216(c) ..."

                                                           

                                                          Bah!  Surely the city is not issuing these permit notices erroneously?

                                                          I have looked all through the Planning Code and cannot find any sections that reference accommodation of transient overnight guests in places WITH KITCHEN FACILITIES.   I mean, I'm guessing that most of us with vacation rentals are providing individual cooking facilities en suite.

                                                           

                                                          It's so frustrating.  Surely I'm missing something somewhere, but I've done so many searches, and this Planning Code is so friggin' difficult to read ...

                                                           

                                                          BookmarkSEC. 216.  OTHER HOUSING.

                                                           

                                                          C-1

                                                           

                                                          C-2

                                                          C-3-O

                                                          C-3-O(SD)

                                                          C-3-R

                                                          C-3-G

                                                          C-3-S

                                                          C-M

                                                          M-1

                                                          M-2

                                                          PDR-1-G

                                                          PDR-1-D

                                                          PDR-1

                                                          PDR-2


                                                           















                                                          SEC. 216. OTHER HOUSING.

                                                           

                                                          P

                                                          P

                                                          P

                                                          P

                                                          P

                                                          P

                                                          P

                                                          P

                                                          C

                                                          C





                                                             (a)   Group housing, providing lodging or both meals and lodging, without individual cooking facilities, by prearrangement for a week or more at a time, in a space not defined by this Code as a dwelling unit. Such group housing shall include but not necessarily be limited to a boardinghouse, guesthouse, rooming house, lodging house, residence club, commune, fraternity or sorority house, monastery, nunnery, convent or ashram. It shall also include group housing affiliated with and operated by a medical or educational institution, when not located on the same lot as such institution, which shall meet the applicable provisions of Section 304.5 of this Code concerning institutional master plans. The density limitations for all group housing described in this subsection shall be based in this subsection shall be based upon the density limitations for group housing in the nearest R District, following the same rules as those set forth in Section 215(a) of this Code for dwelling unit densities in C and M Districts.















                                                             (b)   Hotel, inn or hostel containing rooms or suites of rooms, none with individual cooking facilities, which are offered for compensation and are primarily for the accommodation of transient overnight guests. A hotel, inn or hostel shall not include a motel as described in Subsection216(c) below:

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C





                                                           

                                                                   200 rooms or less;

                                                           

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C





                                                           

                                                                (ii)   More than 200 rooms.

                                                           

                                                          C

                                                          NA



                                                          NA

                                                          NA

                                                          NA

                                                          NA

                                                          NA

                                                          NA





                                                             (c)   Motel, including an auto court, motor lodge, tourist court or other facility similarly identified, containing rooms or suites of rooms, none with individual cooking facilities, which are offered for compensation and are primarily for the accommodation of transient guests traveling by automobile, and where each sleeping unit is independently accessible from the outside; provided, that the entrance to such motel is within 200 feet of and immediately accessible from a major thoroughfare as designated in the General Plan.


                                                          C




                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C

                                                          C





                                                             (d)   Motel, as described in Subsection216(c) above but without restriction as to location of its entrance.

                                                           

                                                          (Amended by Ord. 414-85, App. 9/17/85; Ord. 47-92, App. 2/14/92; Ord. 99-08, File No. 080339, App. 6/11/2008; Ord. 298-08, File No. 081153, App. 12/19/2008; Ord. 182-12 , File No. 120665, App. 8/8/2012, Eff. 9/7/2012)

                                                           

                                                          AMENDMENT HISTORY

                                                           

                                                          New column C-3-O(SD) added; Ord. 182-12 , Eff. 9/7/2012.