New eateries in Noe Valley given green light 

The decades-old ban on more restaurant locations in Noe Valley came to an end Tuesday, creating the possibility that other restrictions may be lifted as well.

The restriction was put into place in 1987 at a time when restaurants and bars “were identified as volatile uses which could multiply and upset the commercial equilibrium by forcing out critical neighborhood services,” according to the Planning Department’s report on the legislation.

The concern that businesses such as hardware stores and other neighborhood-serving merchants could be squeezed out resulted in roughly 10 neighborhoods having restrictions placed on them for new eateries during the time.

With a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors repealed the Noe Valley restriction, meaning restaurants need only conditional-use permits to open along the commercial stretch of 24th Street. The permit process requires a public hearing before the Planning Commission and public notification. A granted permit can be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose district includes Noe Valley, introduced the legislation to lift the restriction. He has said that while there wasn’t unanimity in the community, there was more support for the proposal than opposition.

“The legislation is important to the long-term vitality of 24th Street,” Dufty has said.

The character of 24th Street has changed and the number of restaurants decreased from 29 to 22 as “the number of vacancies has increased dramatically,” the Planning Department said. Noe Valley’s 24th Street has 22 restaurants operating, 15 vacancies and 13 takeout businesses, according to the most recent Planning Department study.

The Planning Commission will now analyze the restaurant applications on a “case-by-case basis.” “Placing a numerical cap on restaurants appears to be short sighted,” the report said.

Planning Department legislative liaison Tara Sullivan previously told The Examiner that the department would like to remove the caps in all affected neighborhoods citywide.

“It’s still a case-by-case basis,” Sullivan said. “The commission can still say no if there gets to be too many restaurants. We do have lots of tools that help us balance uses. It’s just not healthy to have the cap.”

Several neighborhoods have had restrictions relaxed in the past few years, but none has had the ban lifted entirely.

Dufty previously told The Examiner that he had decided to introduce legislation that would lift the restriction in the Castro district.

The Board of Supervisors will take a second and final vote on the Noe Valley legislation next Tuesday.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com


Limitations

San Francisco restricts new restaurants and bars from opening in several neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods where new bars are banned

  • Castro Street
  • Inner Clement Street
  • Outer Clement Street
  • Upper Fillmore Street
  • Haight Street
  • Sacramento Street
  • Union Street
  • 24th Street-Mission
  • 24th Street-Noe Valley
  • Pacific Avenue

Neighborhoods where new full-service restaurants are banned

  • Castro Street
  • Inner Clement Street
  • Outer Clement Street
  • Upper Fillmore Street
  • Haight Street
  • Union Street
  • 24th Street-Noe Valley

Neighborhoods where new small self-serve restaurants are banned

  • Castro Street
  • Inner Clement Street
  • Outer Clement Street
  • Upper Fillmore Street
  • Haight Street
  • Union Street
  • 24th Street-Noe Valley
  • West Portal Avenue
  • Pacific Avenue

Source: Planning Department

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