Understanding New Construction Projects in Your Neighborhood

New construction projects are bringing much-needed housing to San Francisco, but you may have questions or concerns about the impact that a particular project might have on your nearby nightlife business.

In order to address any concerns you might have, it’s important to engage with the developer of the project and the San Francisco Planning Department; engagement can be most effective if it happens as early in the planning process as possible. Thankfully, the Planning Department offers a number of tools that can help keep you informed about construction projects in your neighborhood.

Learning about New Projects

A Block Book Notice (BBN) will provide you with notifications from the Planning Department about most significant permit applications filed for a specific lot in San Francisco (including new construction, changes of use, and additions). A BBN may be established for an annual fee of $35 for the first lot and $14 for each additional lot; a registered neighborhood group that has been active for at least two years may establish BBN notifications for $35 for the first block and $14 for each additional block. You can request a BBN using this form.

In many parts of the City, new construction projects require a “Pre-Application Meeting” with immediately adjacent or nearby tenants and property owners, as well as neighborhood groups registered with the Planning Department in that neighborhood.

  • Organizations, businesses, and individuals may sign up as neighborhood groups in order to receive notification of these meetings. You can sign up to receive these notifications for free by completing this form.
  • For a list of neighborhood groups currently receiving notifications, see this page.
  • This publication provides more information on the Planning Department’s project notification requirements, including Pre-Application Meetings.

Additionally, a medium or large development project (including any project that would create 6 or more residential units) requires a Preliminary Project Assessment (PPA), during which the Planning Department conducts a preliminary review of the proposed project and issues a detailed letter describing the anticipated review process for, and salient issues about, the proposal.

If you are interested in learning more about active permits in your neighborhood, the Planning Department maintains a map identifying permit applications currently being processed by Planning or by the Department of Building Inspection, as well as permits approved within the last year.

Other Property Information and Notifications

Interested in information about the zoning or permit history for a particular property? You can find out a great deal of information about any property in San Francisco using the Planning Department’s Property Information Map.

You can also sign up to receive updates from the Planning Department about Planning Commission hearings, citywide policy issues, and other significant planning initiatives. Sign up to receive these emails on the Planning Department’s web site.

Moving Forward

If you are concerned about the impact of a prospective development on your business, contact the project developer and the Planning Department. You can find out which City Planner is assigned to any current project by searching the map of active permits.

Unsure who to contact at the Planning Department? Planners at the Planning Information Center are available to field your questions in person and over the telephone during most business hours. Find the contact information and exact operating hours of the Planning Information Center on the Planning Department’s web site.

If you are interested in learning more about the issues facing your neighborhood, or are looking for information about local neighborhood associations, contact your District Supervisor’s office. You can find your Supervisor using SF Find.