August 2023

Cow Hollow Association Newsletter

Please Support Your Neighborhood Association!

In this Issue

Devastating Precedent on Lombard - Pre-App Meeting August 17

Double Jeopardy - State Density Bonus + Housing Element

Impact of State Zoning Laws - Support Ballot Initiative

Devastating Precedent on Lombard Street

Attend Pre-App Meeting on August 17

Proposed 73’ Tall Building with Condos and Rooftop Bar at 2101 Lombard Street (at Fillmore)

One developer's bad investment is about to set a devastating precedent on Lombard Street.

A restaurant and bar development group is seeking to erect a 73’ tall luxury condo building with an open rooftop restaurant and bar at the corner of Lombard and Fillmore (2101 Lombard), formerly the location of the KFC/Taco Bell restaurant. The development group owns other nearby establishments in the “Triangle” area and on Lombard Street: Jaxson, Wilder, and Westwood. This project is a further expansion of their nightlife footprint in the area … this time on an open rooftop dominating the neighborhood and towering over Lombard and Fillmore Street.

Before obtaining a permit for this project, SF Planning requires they host a pre-application meeting for neighbors to learn about the project, ask questions, and voice concerns. The developers need and the SF Planning Department wants to hear from the citizenry and especially from our community on this height and rooftop open bar precedent-setting project. You can attend in person (preferable) or join via Zoom. We are also asking that you share this email with your neighbors to get the word out.

Pre-Application Meeting

Thursday, August 17 at 6:00 pm

In Person:

2207 Lombard Street

Via Zoom:

Ariel View looking south of Proposed 73’ Tall Building at 2101 Lombard Street (at Fillmore)

View looking north of Proposed 73’ Tall Building at 2101 Lombard Street (at Fillmore)

The developer claims they cannot build on this corner lot profitably within the current zoning law of 45’ because it’s an odd size lot which does not otherwise “pencil out.” To make the development profitable, they are applying a contorted interpretation of the State Density Bonus (SDB) law. The law gives developers several “concessions and waivers” from otherwise applicable zoning to reduce project development costs in exchange for the inclusion of affordable units.

The developer plans to put up a 73’ luxury condo complex with unobscured views for 13 luxury condos, and a rooftop restaurant and bar. The developer is seeking to use the SDB to increase height, density, and lot coverage, and include an open rooftop bar in exchange for JUST ONE AFFORDABLE, 850 sq’ on-site unit (a second affordable unit is to be built off-site, somewhere in San Francisco).

The Cow Hollow Association and the Golden Gate Valley Neighborhood Association are expressing serious concerns that the rooftop bar located on top of what will be the tallest building built in the area, will generate noise and light emanating across the area and disrupting neighboring residents and businesses. This project will bring the “Triangle” party crowd, among others, to the only public open rooftop bar in the northern part of San Francisco. Note, there are only a few rooftop bars in the City. Obtaining a permit requires Special Use District legislation approved by the Supervisors. This project is seeking to bypass that process by asserting that it should be granted this concession to lower its cost of development through claimed projected restaurant and bar profits.

This bypass of the Supervisor approval requirement is a misinterpretation of the statewide law and would allow developers to build whatever they believe will make their project profitable with no regard for the impact it would have on the community.  Any developer could contort the SDB law with these types of bypasses, and if SF Planning were to approve the permit, the project is rubber-stamped. The neighborhood has NO SAY! This proposed project at 2101 Lombard would set a devastating precedent and potentially lead to a canyon of high rises on Lombard Street impacting the livability and quality of life for residents, businesses, and visitors. This can not be allowed. The scheduled pre-app meeting on August 17th is your first chance to have that say!

Double Jeopardy

State Density Bonus + Housing Element

New SF Housing Element Rezoning of Lombard and Chestnut to 65’-85’ Heights

Currently, the City is revising the SF Housing Element in part, to meet the State mandated goal of 82,069 more units by 2031. This extremely high number of housing units imposed on San Francisco by our State legislators was purposeful. If San Francisco does not build the required number of units, the amount not built by the deadline becomes by-right, meaning that many of the zoning controls and allowances for neighborhood input will be removed, along with CEQA objections (environmental review), enabling developers to build what they want. 


In Cow Hollow and Marina, the SF Housing Element plans to rezone Lombard and Chestnut Streets to 65 ‘ to 85’ in height as a way to increase housing production.

This rezoning alone will permanently change the character of the neighborhood. In addition, a developer can then apply the SDB law and other State laws on top of the new height allowance and we could see buildings as tall as 120’ on Lombard Street.

No one in the City or State is looking at the reality of these laws to understand if they’re being abused (article: Lots of Housing Laws. Not much housing.) Are these laws still applicable considering all the changes in San Francisco post-Covid? San Francisco has an abundance of unused office space, vacancies on commercial corridors, over 50,000 projects that are entitled (which means permitted and able to be constructed) but have never been built, and the recent boom in tall luxury towers that are mostly dark at night because of the price tag and many units purchased solely as an investment property by off-shore or commercial interests. Does upzoning large swaths of San Francisco actually lower the cost of housing or is it a developer’s dream to build towering buildings, make their profits, bring blight, and leave behind a city forever changed?

Please attend in person (ideally) or join via Zoom for the Pre-Application meeting on August 17th at 6 pm. We will also keep you posted on opportunities for public comment on the pending Housing Element proposed zoning changes.


We are sounding the alarm. If we don’t act now, we will lose the fight to keep what it is that makes our neighborhood and San Francisco so special.

Links to articles, documents, and websites

State Density Bonus:

Link to Pre-App Meeting Notice

State Density Bonus Details

Housing Element:


Westside housing could rise to new heights under SF zoning plan, July 2023

S.F. Plans to rezone the city to allow the production of 34,000 new homes -- many on the westside, Oct 2022

Why people do not trust government anymore, August 2022

Planning Department Information:

SF Housing Element 2022-23

Executive Summary Planning Code Text & Zoning Map Amendment

One-page Overview of Simplified Housing Approvals

Housing Element Rezoning Program

Housing Element Midrise and Small MultiUnit Building Rezoning

Well-Resourced Neighborhood - Lombard and Chestnut Streets

Impact of Zoning Laws

Support Ballot Initiative

Our Neighborhood Voices (ONV) is a ballot initiative to restore our neighborhood voice and return sanity to the planning process. 

If there has ever been a time to stand up for your neighborhood, it’s now. In recent years Sacramento has passed an array of one-size-fits-all laws that ultimately give for-profit developers free rein to build whatever they want, wherever they want – even if that means destroying single-family neighborhoods and replacing them with massive unaffordable, multi-unit buildings, like the one pictured above.

For the last year, the ONV team has been hard at work uniting more than 50,000 Californians around the fight to preserve our neighborhoods. Thousands more are joining every week and their goal is to organize an unstoppable coalition of neighbors and leaders who can deliver the truth that we don't need to destroy our neighborhoods to build enough housing

Visit their website to learn more and support their efforts.

Please Support Your Neighborhood Association!

CHA Board of Directors

Anne Bertrand, Lori Brooke, 

Jan Diamond, Don Emmons, Rich Goss,

Barbara Heffernan, Noel Kivlin, Claire Mills, Veronica Taisch

CHA Advisory Board

David Bancroft, Cynthia, Gissler, Don Kielsehorst, Elaine Larkin,

George Merijohn, Brooke Sampson, Geoff Wood

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