San Francisco's Columbus Avenue circa 1930

The San Francisco Planning Commission favored it, the Board of Supervisors approved it, and it’s now local law: no new restaurant/bar spaces in North Beach. Oh, and the bill also stipulates “that if a space once occupied by a restaurant is vacant for 18 months it can no longer be occupied by a new restaurant.”

No word on what defines “vacant.” But we do know that blocking development for 18 months is mere child’s play (and some might say sport) for a local neighborhood association or two.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Embarcadero

    Argggh. As a hill dweller, all we need is that moronic board of supervisors interfering to turn north beach into a giant retirement community/ghost town. Intead of regulating the problem (noise, out of control drunkenness on Columbus/Broadway), they decide not to allow anything at all. Without foot traffic (preferrably before 8 PM), how will north beach be a retail center?
    The north beach napolean really knows how to ruin things for everyone. I can’t wait until November!

  2. Posted by serenitynow

    Next stop for North Beach is Supervisor Peskin’s unveiling of The Five Year Plan which will determine the menus and specials at neighborhood eateries and specifically break down the percentages of Italian, Asian Fusion, Soul Food, Thai, Sushi, Indian, Traditional American, Mexican and California Cuisine restaurants allowed in each one block radius. The distribution of various eatery types will be based on a careful annual census of SF residents. As percentage of resident ethnic groups changes over the course of the year, restaurants will need to rebrand themselves. For eaxample, a trattoria will need to become a sushi joint if the percentage of SF Japanese residents increases. Homeless residents will be included in the census as well as undocumented aliens. There will be a new SF bureaucracy to oversee the mandate – People’s Committee of Fair Dining Preferences. This Committe will be permitted a staff of 137 new city workers all with full health care benefits and city pensions which will be fully vested after three days of service. Annual payroll increases will be fixed at 10% per annum. Each restaurant license granted will require a fee of $10,000 and construction above the restaurant of 17.6 afofrdable housing units at 80% of the City median income. Applications are being accepted now at City Hall.

  3. Posted by kevin

    Hilldweller,
    I would move to a new neighborhood, b/c things won’t change there. That is my main reason for never wanting to live in NB. I am pro-business owners. NB needs to learn from union st. If you restrict restaurants, retail suffers. SF is a foodie community, so u need to have restaurants to bring people to the streets to shop. These laws just benefit old money, whom own the commerical spaces with restaurants currently. This creates an artificial reduced supply.

  4. Posted by Joe

    I am consistently amazed at how easily any law restricting anything is passed in this town.
    It’s insane.

  5. Posted by scurvy

    North Beach, still desperately clinging on to 75 years ago.
    That whole neighborhood is a write-off. When do their projects get converted to old-age homes?

  6. Posted by CameronRex

    This makes no sense…but that is not unusual coming from the SFBOS.

  7. Posted by ProSF

    I encourage everyone reading this to grab the SF Guardian voters guide for Nov. 4th BOSupes race, and vote the opposite of all the recommendations.

  8. Posted by Live Smart

    If I was a merchant or small business owner in North Beach, I would look around elsewhere to do my business. The neighborhood will be an overpriced ghost town by the end of 2009.

  9. Posted by embarcadero

    @serenity:
    I love NB – I have a fantastic apartment with an unobstructed view of the bay and no neighbors on 3 sides.
    I would love it even more if we had a vibrant business base and I was able to buy something other than deli/bakery/corner store items. I would also love to see some new kinds of food – I can’t stand the NB stale-italian food style. Not that I have to complain about food in my hood…
    Oh well. Peskin will drive this neighborhood back into the 1950s if it kills him and all of the businesses in the neighborhood too.

  10. Posted by Dan

    North Beach can look forward to having restaurants as exciting as the Castro and 24th St Noe Valley, the two neighborhoods that have long had restaurant moratoriums. Except that even the BoS this year had to recognize the negative effects of the 24th Noe Valley moratorium, when the moratorium was loosened to allow a few more restaurants to open.
    As new restaurants are forbidden to challenge the existing restaurants (without buying one of them, a prohibitively expensive proposition when a restaurant moratorium is in place), the old restaurants become more stultified, and restauranteurs and diners look elsewhere. No doubt the Castro and Noe Valley moratoriums propelled the 18th St and Guerrero area and Valencia St area into being the culinary destinations they now are.

  11. Posted by lurker

    Thanks.
    As someone who has lived in Noe for almost three years now, I always wondered why the restaurants on 24th were such a disappointment. This thread explains it all.
    I should have guessed. Sheesh.

  12. Posted by EH

    There go my hopes and dreams for a flagship Olive Garden in NB. I guess I’ll have to make do with Molinari and U.S. Restaurant.

  13. Posted by agum

    That moratorium really explains why restaurants in the Castro was so bad for so long! I was always surprised, given how often you find good food in gay neighborhoods in the rest of the country (dual income epicures…)

  14. Posted by NoeNeighbor

    Dan:
    I hadn’t realized there was restaurant moratorium on 24th St.; though it has always seemed like a lot of the places there were more than a bit past their glory years. On the other hand, I live closer to the Valencia Corridor which has no shortage of vibrant dining spots. If I wasn’t philosphically opposed to absurd government regulation, I might applaud these moratiums (so long as they don’t apply to my neighborhood) 🙂

  15. Posted by EH

    NoeNeighbor: IIRC, the Noe moratorium says that a new restaurant can only open where another restaurant vacated. I’m not sure how the new Thai(?) place in the old “We make teddy bears out of your old hair!” barber shop at Church/Jersey slipped through, so maybe it only applies to 24th itself.

  16. Posted by Jake

    Won’t make much of a difference – almost everythings already a bar or a restaurant.

  17. Posted by Dede

    The upcoming district 3 election will be interesting..

  18. Posted by jamie

    attention entrepreneurs – come on down to SoMa’s quickly rising Rincon Hill neighborhood. We need and welcome your late night cafes and casual restaurants. Besides, we’re close to the increasingly vibrant waterfront betwen the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge.

  19. Posted by anoncensorious

    As few trees as the city has now, it is interesting to see how treeless it was back then. I guess some things do change, though very slowly.

  20. Posted by Frank C.

    The key thing is stopping more “nightlife” places from opening – this leads to quality of life degradation, not restaurants.
    And no, there is no way the City can increase patrol in bar-saturated areas. It’s too expensive. Just shut down the bridge and tunnel party houses. Who older than 28 cares about that crap anyway? Who pays the lion’s share of the taxes to run this City, the hipster or B and T partiers? I think not…..
    If regulation is what’s necessary from tipping a barely tolerable quality of life situation into a full fledged party zone disaster, then so be it.
    But of course, restaurants should be exempted….but residents are concerned about parking. Does anyone here who disagrees live in NB with a garage?

  21. Posted by Usually Named

    “But of course, restaurants should be exempted….but residents are concerned about parking. Does anyone here who disagrees live in NB with a garage?”

    Uh, isn’t the little Napoleon the one trying to force a carless existence in San Francisco through the stupid Transit First policy? Typical Hypocrite.

  22. Posted by Michael

    If you live in District 3, which includes North Beach, please vote for Lynn Jefferson. She was the ONLY candidate who showed up at the Land Use committee hearing and the board meeting to speak against this stupid plan.
    http://enoughwiththeplywood.blogspot.com

  23. Posted by Anon

    I keep wanting to move to Noe valley, but I’m a foodie and the majority of restaurants are so darn dissapointing. Now I understand why. Thanks Dan!

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