Representation During Discretionary Review And Planning Commission Hearings

Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC has experience representing both project sponsors and project opponents.

  • Project sponsors often reach out to our firm after building permits are denied, after neighbors voice concerns, or after receiving notice of a Planning Commission hearing. Our attorneys represent permit applicants at all levels of review - from local hearings to litigation in state and federal court.
  • Project opponents turn to us after development proposals have been submitted or permits have been granted. Our lawyers organize neighbors into strong opposition groups. We prepare and file all necessary applications and represent neighbors at hearings.

Our experience sets us apart from the competition. We've sat on both sides of the table, and we know what each side is seeking. We know the questions the other side will ask because we've asked them, and we know the steps the other side will take because we've taken them. This insight allows us to develop more effective legal strategies that achieve our clients' goals.

Discretionary Review And Planning Commission Hearings

In San Francisco, neighbors can challenge development projects through the discretionary review process. During the discretionary review hearing, the Planning Commission reviews projects that are in compliance with the Planning Code to determine whether an "extraordinary or exceptional" reason exists to revise or deny a permit. Discretionary review hearings are open to the public. Neighbors and other interested parties can voice their concerns, and the project sponsor will present his or her case.

Variance Applications And Hearings

Zoning laws, like the SF Planning Code, exist to provide stability to communities. They provide guidance to residential homeowners, commercial property owners and developers, defining how properties may be used and laying out rules regarding remodeling and new developments.

When proposed projects deviate from local zoning laws, zoning variances must be obtained. This requires a public hearing before the City's Zoning Administrator.

At a variance hearing, the project sponsor will present his or her case. Neighbors will be given advance notice of the hearing and will have an opportunity to speak for or against the proposed variance. After hearing the evidence, the Zoning Administrator will make a ruling, granting or denying the variance. Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC's attorneys can assist with all aspects of the variance process.

It is important to remember that a determination by the zoning administrator or Planning Commission is not the end of the story. Adverse rulings can be appealed.

Contact Us

Located in San Francisco, California, our firm represents landowners throughout the Bay Area during real estate development disputes. For more information about our services, please contact our firm online or call 415-956-8100.