December 8, 2008

This Week at the Planning Commission

A weekly look at Noe Valley projects in front of the Planning Commission. Information is provided by the Planning Commission, and taken from its published agenda. All hearings begin at 1:30pm, Room 400 in City Hall.

Item #10:

DISCRETIONARY REVIEW REFORM - Hearing for the Commission to consider staff recommendations for modification to the discretionary review process. This is an action plan item.

Preliminary Recommendation: No Action Required

We received the following letter in the mail that attempts to explain what this is all about:

December 3, 2008

Dear Interested Parties.

It has come to our attention that some of you may not have received notice of the Discretionary Review Reform outreach meetings held on 10/29/08, 11/5/08, 11/12/08 and 11/19/08. At these meetings, members of the community reviewed and commented on the Department's draft proposal to improve the Distretionary Review process. The key recommendations are as follows:
  • Document decisions of the Residential Design Committee to increase transparency and understanding for the public about how the Department applies the Residential Design Guidelines and neighborhood specific guidelines;
  • Establish triggers for mandatory Residential Design Committee review to achieve internal consistency, clarify ambiguities, and identify policy issues;
  • Require improved Discretionary Review applications that demonstrate exceptional and extraordinary circumstances to ensure that sponsors of appropriate projects to not face protracted delay;
  • Commission to delegate to a Hearing Officer Discretionary Review cases that demonstrate exceptional and extraordinary circumstances to streamline the process; and,
  • Commission to maintain review of the Discretionary Review cases that require policy advice, while delegation of other Discretionary Review cases to Hearing Officer will allow Commission to focus more attention on higher-level policy issues.
On December 11, 2008, the Planning Commission will hold an informal hearing on on the Department's draft proposal to improve the Discretionary Review process in Room 400 at City Hall at 1:30PM. Please refer to the Planning Commission calendar for when the item would be heard. Your participation is welcome.

Based on public feedback, we will discuss with the Commission amendments to our proposal, including: improvements to the pre-application process and optional intake meetings for Disctretionary Review requestors.

The Discretionary Review Reform outreach meeting materials are available on the Planning Department's website:

Please contact Elaine Forbes at 415.558.6417 or if you have any questions or comments.


John S. Rahaim
Planning Director