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SAN FRANCISCO
PLANNING DEPARTMENT

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Letter of Determination
December 30, 2015
Brett Gladstone
Hanson Bridgett LLP
425 Market Street, 26~ Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
Site Address:
Assessor's Block/Lot:
Zoning District:
Staff Contact:
Record No.:

1650 Mission St.


Suite 400
San Francisco,
CA 94103-2479
Reception:
415.558.6378
Fax:
415.558.6409

838 Grant Avenue


0209/005
CVR(Chinatown Visitor Retail District)
Anne Brask,(415)575-9078 or anne.brask@sfgov.or~
2015-012164ZAD

Planning
Information:
415.558.6377

Dear Mr. Gladstone:


This letter is in response to your request for a Letter of Determination regarding the property at 838 Grant
Avenue. This parcel is located in the CVR (Chinatown Visitor Retail) Zoning District and 50-N Height
and Bulk District. Your request seeks confirmation and clarification regarding various matters, including
uses permitted on this property, as outlined below.
,
New Construction Permit
In regards to your request for confirmation of the Planning Department's approval of the new
construction permit for the subject building, the Planning Department approved Application No. 306013
on October 29, 1964 to erect asix-story over basement building containing office and restaurant uses. The
subject permit was issued by the Department of Public Works on December 7, 1964 and the project
received a Certificate of Final Completion on March 9, 1967. Subsequent permits note that the building
also contains general retail uses.
At the time the Planning Department approved Application No. 306013, the property was located within
a C-3 Zoning District, which principally permitted office, restaurant and retail uses. In 1968, the subject
property was rezoned to C-3-G (Downtown General Commercial), which also principally permitted
office, restaurant and retail uses. In 1987, the subject property was rezoned to the current CVR
designation under the Chinatown Plan. The CVR Zoning District regulates uses by story, as outlined in
Planning Code Section 811. Per these. controls: general office and Administrative Service uses are
prohibited at all levels; Medical, Personal and Professional Service uses are principally permitted on the
second story, Other Retails Sales and Service and Limited Restaurant uses are principally permitted on
the first and second story; and Restaurant uses are conditionally permitted on the first and second story.
Please note that the confirmation of the Planning Department's approval of Application No. 306013 does
not, in any way, constitute a determination on the legality of the existing uses in the subject building.
Such determination can only be made after an extensive review of building permit and occupancy records
for the building. Given the zoning changes to the property, any uses that were legally established prior to

www.sfp(anning.arg

Brett Gladstone
425 Market Street, 26~'Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

December 30, 2015


Letter of Determination
838 Grant Ave.

the effective date of the current zoning controls that do not conform with the current zoning controls
would be classified as non-conforming uses and subject to the non-conforming use provisions of the
Planning Code.
Basement Story
In your request you seek confirmation about permitted uses on the basement level. As noted previously,
the CVR Zoning District regulates uses by story. Per Section 809(d), uses which are permitted on the first
story are also permitted on levels below the first story.
First Floor
In your request you seek confirmation that Grant Avenue is the primary frontage and therefore the first
floor for purposes of the Planning Code. Per Section 890.118, First Story is defined as "the highest story
with a floor level which is not more than six feet above grade at the centerline of the frontage of the lot
where grade is defined." For the subject property, Grant Avenue is the frontage of the lot where grade is
defined. As such, the floor fronting Grant Avenue at grade level (noted as "1St Floor" on the submitted
plans) is the First Story for purposes of the Planning Code.
Permitted and Conditional Uses
In regards to your request for confirmation about- which uses would be permitted and conditionally
permitted on the property, the following applies:
1. Retail and Limited Restaurant Uses as defined in Sections 890.102 and 790.90 are principally
permitted on the First and Second Story and prohibited above.
2. Restaurant Uses as defined in Section 790.91 is conditionally permitted on the First and Second
Story and prohibited above.
3. Professional Service Uses as defined in Section 890.108 is principally permitted on the Second
Story and prohibited at all other levels.
4. Medical Services as defined in Section 890.114 is principally permitted on the Second Story and
prohibited at all other levels.
5. Personal Services as defined in Section 890.116 is principally permitted on the Second Story and
prohibited at all other levels.
6. Tourist Hotels as defined in Section 890.46 is conditionally permitted at all levels.
Restaurants Selling Alcohol
In regards to your request for clarification about eating uses which sell on-premise alcohol, one
distinction between a Limited Restaurant and Restaurant is that aLimited-Restaurant cannot sell onpremise alcohol; while a Restaurant can sell on-premise beer, wine and liquor with the appropriate ABC
License. As such, an eating use which sells on-premise alcohol can only be approved as a Restaurant use.

SAN FRANCISCO
~
PLANNING DEPARTMENT

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Brett Gladstone
425 Market Street, 26~'Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

December 30,2015
Letter of Determination
838 Grant Ave.

Non-Residential Use Size Limit


In regards to your request for clarification about use size limits for Restaurant uses, Section 121.4
establishes non-residential use size limits for the CVR Zoning District. Per this section, non-residential
uses are limited to 2,500 square feet.
Non-residential uses exceeding 2,500 square feet require
Conditional Use Authorization, up to a maximum of 5,000 square feet (uses exceeding 5,000 square feet
are prohibited). This section exempts Restaurant uses from the Conditional Use Authorization
requirement; however, Restaurants are subject to the 5,000 square foot use size maximum.
APPEAL: If you believe this determination represents an error in interpretation of the Planning Code or
abuse in discretion by the Zoning Administrator, an appeal may be filed with the Board of Appeals
within 15 days of the date of this letter. For information regarding the appeals process, please contact the
Board of Appeals located at 1650 Mission Street, Room 304, San Francisco, or call(415)575-6880.
Sincerely,

Scott F. Sanchez
Zoning Administrator
cc:

Property Owner
Neighborhood Groups
Anne Brask; Planner

SAN FRANCISCO
PLANNING DEPARTMENT