The existing zoning in much of San Francisco restricts new construction both by height and density.
A Little Taller, A Lot Smarter
Mark Hogan
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The City’s General Plan is the policy companion to the zoning ordinance and contains a multitude of policies and objectives that seek to preserve and enhance neighborhood character. As a general rule of thumb, building heights that relate to surrounding street widths help define the area’s scale and form. Many of the City’s streets are 80 and 68-feet wide suggesting buildings of six to eight stories, with fine grain articulation and upper-level setbacks could be appropriate prototypes for infill housing. Currently, much of Geary Boulevard in the Avenues is lined with low-slung strip buildings. Based on the foregoing one can envision an opportunity to shift the Geary’s prevailing auto-oriented character to a viable and vibrant neighborhood Main Street by increasing housing densities, developing new ground-floor commercial spaces and improving public facilities, such as widening sidewalks to tie it all together.

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