Proposition H — November 2020

From the San Francisco November 2020 Nonpartisan Voter Guide.

This is an ordinance intended to help small businesses weather the coronavirus pandemic by making it easier to get permits for certain uses of public space, and to streamline permitting in general. It would make changes to the city’s planning and tax code to speed up the process for new businesses to open in commercial corridors and for existing businesses to get new permits. It also would give the Board of Supervisors the ability to make certain changes to the code. 

In commercial corridors around San Francisco, outside of major commercial zones like downtown, the city has permitting requirements for specific types of businesses. Some are allowed in principle but still require permits. For these, Proposition H would require the city to issue permits within 30 days — a process proponents say can now take up to a year. It would also clear away some permitting hurdles for arts organizations, community facilities, social services and restaurants to operate in these corridors. 

Proponents say the changes would make it easier for existing businesses to thrive and for new businesses to open. Opponents say the changes are too complex and should have been made by the Board of Supervisors, not voters. Mayor London Breed placed this proposal on the ballot, and opponents say that means it didn’t get the same kind of public input that an ordinance made by city legislators would have. The Mayor’s Office responds that the ordinance was drafted with input from a business group and small business owners.