Established in 2014 in an attempt to stem the displacement of Latino oriented businesses and residents from the area, the new rules to govern the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District – which is centered around the 24th Street commercial corridor from Potrero Avenue to Bartlett Street, and bounded by 22nd Street and Cesar Chavez in San Francisco’s Mission District – will be presented to San Francisco’s Planning Commission on Thursday, February 9.

As sponsored by Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Ronen, the proposed amendment to San Francisco’s Planning Code would create the Calle 24 Special Use District and strictly limit the number of new restaurants and bars allowed to open within in the District, as well as limiting the expansion of existing eating and drinking establishments; limit the merger of existing ground floor commercial spaces; and require special approval for any new business that wanted to open in a location which was previously occupied by a Legacy Business and has been vacant for less than three years.

In short, the proposed amendments would establish regulations to encourage “the retention of long-standing social and cultural institutions as well as other culturally significant businesses within the Calle 24 Special Use District” and encourage new uses “that are compatible with the existing, distinctive character of 24th Street.”

The rules to govern the Calle 24 Special Use District would be above and beyond those which are proposed under the pending Mission Action Plan.

43 thoughts on “The Rules to Govern San Francisco’s Latino Cultural District”
    1. I assume Steve Jobs’ ethnic background means they’d have to close the Apple Store on Chestnut.

  1. Valencia corridor is the cautionary tale behind this move, which is a good one. I’ve lived at 25th and Bryant for 20 years, Mission for 30. The balance of businesses along lower 24th street is exactly what you want to preserve–real butcher shops, grocery stores, bookstores, hardware, taquerias, etc. within a couple of blocks.

    1. I understand where you are coming from, but I don’t agree that it is a good move.

      I lived along the 24th corridor for years (moved away last year). The corridor is great for some things, but it also has a surprising number of vacancies, and not enough varied eating places for the current population.

      Prohibiting mergers, limiting new bars and restaurants (the major category in ANY retail strip in the Amazon world), and creating special hoops for any new (read “non-latino) business replacing any legacy (read “latino”) business is just going to stop anything from happening in the whole area.

      Meanwhile, the Ship has done SAILED. Latino population in the district has been declining for 15 years, even while increasing in other parts of the City (outer mission, crocker amazon, etc). This is all so stupid and pandering.

      I think marketing and encouragement is a great idea, but I don’t think that prohibitions will do anything to “preserve” the Latino mission, but it may take a bunch of years for everyone to figure that out.

      1. I live in the heart of this proposed district, and I see a future of more and more empty storefronts. There are too many now.

    2. I don’t know if Valencia is a good comparison. If I recall correctly Valencia was a moribund dead zone in the early 90s.

    3. 10-15 years ago Valencia used to have a cooler mix of shops, restaurants and bars. Then it became hipster, the rents went through the roof and the establishments coming in catered to the same tedious crowd. Yawn.

      1. Yeah, I hate how you see families and working people of all ethnic backgrounds on Valencia nowadays. What do they think this place is, some sort of melting pot?

        1. The only working people you see on Valencia St. now are there to work. They can’t afford much more than the pizza.

          1. Right, because all those nasty gentrifiers don’t have jobs. Their money just fell from the sky, is that correct? This class warfare BS is as tedious as it is old.

  2. So much for out with the old and in with the new. As pointed out, we already voted on no moratorium in the Mission. Another deaf ear move by the Mayor.

  3. Can I get the text of this ordinance in 22 languages please so that my non-spanish-speaking tenants in the ‘hood can understand that they’re no longer welcome?

    1. That line is so fine it is invisible. Frankly, I think that line only exists in the minds of the people that live here.

  4. The proposed rules sound like a giveaway to the current tenants. Landlords will be required to court a restricted, and therefore lower yield, market for the first three years after a vacancy. So that means landlords have a greater motivation to avoid a turnover.

    1. They’re especially a giveaway to the existing restaurants and bars. It’s basically a law that says no competitors are allowed anywhere near them.

  5. besides the impacts on the retail establishments, what are the impacts on the residents and home owners in the district? any direct impact on what one does with a residential property?

  6. Meanwhile Trump and Bannon are busy making the rules to govern America’s European Cultural District and protecting “legacy” businesses in the manufacturing, banking and energy sectors. I assume they can count on the full support of our Supervisors.

    1. That should be “America’s Aryan Cultural District”. Don’t think they’re too fond of people with Iberian or Balkan heritage.

  7. Think Pier 39 in about 10-15 yrs when most of the remainder of the original Latinos have moved on / out. “The Mission” frozen in amber for the enjoyment of future generations. Of tourists.

    1. and what was at Pier 39 prior to the tourist invasion?

      I live in Parkside which used to be Irish and is now mostly Asian. Should an Irish historical district have been established along Taraval back in the 70s/80s? No. Times change. Cities change. People move in and people move out. Gentrification happens. Once great neighborhoods fall into disrepair and then are rediscovered. Some places remain relatively the same.

        1. …. and they have every right to exist in a building that they own; just as any other cultural center would. What is your point? I realize its a harmless observation, but it is painfully irrelevant to Mark’s original comment.

      1. I think you missed the snark. I have contempt for Pier 39 as a trashy tourist zone and it is not beyond imagining that the Calle 24 district could in time become as cheezy and trashy. If the City works hard enough at it.

        1. And when it happens, will the residents around there remember to vandalize the tour buses just as they did with Google buses?

  8. If I were a commercial LL I’d band together w/ the other commercial owners an jack all rents up. This is ridiculous micro management planning that negatively affects small property owners of these buildings, many of whom probably have their life savings in one building.

  9. What kind of protections did/does Chinatown, Japantown, North Beach (aka Little Italy), Little Saigon get?

    Wait, there’s more.

    And what about Midmarket, that was zoned and legalized as a special district as well, no? Same for Rincon Hill, transbay terminal, now central SOMA.
    Fishermans wharf? Embarcadero? Ballpark? Areas zoned as PDR?

    I also hear there used to be an African American Fillmore district. And Filipino in SOMA. Both lost due to rather indelicate city policies. In fact, our current mayor was involved in attempts to protect the Filipino heritage.

    All of these are examples of city policies which intentionally or not had profound ethnic and racial ramifications. The majority of them resulting in loss, pain, nd displacement.

    Why no outcry against all these other special zones and districts?

    And why cement the opinion that gentrifiers are empathy-free haters?

    New millionaires are more racially diverse? Let’s look at some stats. Certainly not supported by employee diversity, no?

    1. Most of your examples don’t work if you’re looking for districts that have legislated an ethnic identity.

      It is common to have use restrictions in commercial districts (and as we know, there are citywide controls on chains, with some districts having an absolute prohibition and all others have conditional use processes). But this is the first, that I can think of, that has a specific zoning related process to maintain ethnic businesses. This is not true in Chinatown, Japantown, North Beach, or anywhere else (please correct me if I’m wrong).

      There has certainly been a lot of teeth gnashing over the years as market have changed. Those horrible “antiques/collectibles” stores with all the ugly brass sculptures popped up in Chinatown for instance, and non Japanese businesses have been in Japantown for years.

      The only place I can think of where the City tried to actively manage the ethnic composition of a retail strip was along lower Fillmore Street in the Western Addition (through the Redevelopment Agency), in large part due to the well deserved guilt of what had happened years earlier during “slum clearance”. However, that effort was a disaster…throwing millions at restaurants and Yoshi’s jazz club; again, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think ALL of those businesses eventually failed/left.

      The Lower Fillmore is a cautionary tale…you can’t insist that a district have a particular ethnic or racial identity….that needs to be through the individual effort of entrepreneurs being successful in the market.

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