Application Example

We have completed several applications of the SCI to land use plans and projects in San Francisco. To review our completed applications, please visit our Case Studies.

Below we demonstrate the key steps in a typical SCI application using the Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plans. These Plans are long-range plans to comprehensively guide development in the Mission, East SoMa and Showplace Square/Potrero neighborhoods. The Plans focus on issues such as the location of buildings, affordable housing, support for existing businesses, open space, urban design, and transportation and circulation.

We start by listing the SCI Objective and related Indicators and Development Targets we are assessing. We then record and discuss quantitative data for these Indicators at multiple levels--i.e., in relation to the Mission, East SoMa and Potrero Hill. We also qualify this information based on site assessment. We then list Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plan facts regarding the Objective under review. Next, using the quantitative data, qualitative information collected through site assessment, and the Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plans, we judge the extent to which the Plans will meet the Development Targets.

Visit our step-by step application for detailed instructions.

**PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EXAMPLE USES ELEMENT NAMES, INDICATORS, AND DEVELOPMENT TARGETS THAT EXISTED BEFORE CHANGES WERE MADE TO THE SCI.

List SCI Element, Objective and associated Indicators and Development Targets
Element Environmental Stewardship
Objective Preserve clean air quality
Indicators Development Targets
ES.5.a: Proportion of households living in proximity to significant roadway air pollution source Benchmark: Does the project avoid locating sensitive uses where greater than 100,000 vehicles per day are within 500 feet of use or, if the project is sited in a location where greater than 100,000 vehicles per day are within 500 feet of a sensitive use, does the project provide an HVAC system with filtration to reduce mitigate infiltration of vehicle emissions?
ES.5.b: Proportion of households living in proximity to significant stationary air pollution source Benchmark: Does the project avoid locating sensitive uses in close proximity to stationary sources of air pollution? (Note: the 2005 CARB Air Quality and Land Use Handbook provides guidance for buffers for selected stationary sources)
ES.5.c: Proportion of households living within 500 feet of designated truck routes Benchmark #1: If within 500 feet of a truck route, does the project avoid placing sensitive uses adjacent to a truck route, or, if the project is sited in a location where a designated truck route is within 500 feet of a sensitive use, does the project provide an HVAC system with filtration to reduce mitigate infiltration of vehicle emissions? AND Benchmark #2: Does commercial development greater than 50,000 sq. feet provide adequate on site truck parking?
Step 1: Does a place have healthy living and working conditions?
Record and assess HDMT indicator data

81% of Mission households live within 500 feet of a busy roadway – the second highest proportion of any neighborhood in San Francisco. SoMa has the third highest proportion (76%) of people living in close proximity to busy roadway. Potrero Hill has a lower proportion of people living within 500 feet of a busy roadway (8%) compared to citywide (51%). Notably, Potrero Hill is surrounded by two major freeways (Highway 101 and Route 280) and 100% households live within 1000 feet of a freeway. California freeway studies show exposure levels are strongest within 300 feet, with a 70% drop off in particulate pollution levels after 500 feet.

Stationary sources of air pollution generally occur from industrial sources. The Eastern Neighborhoods has several stationary sources of pollution, including dry cleaners, gas stations, bus yards, packing and shipping distribution centers power plant, waste water treatment plants and ports as other sources of stationary pollution. All three neighborhoods have an above average amount of gasoline dispensing facilities (11% in SoMa, 10% in the Mission, and 6% in Potrero Hill) and other sources of station pollution (17% in SoMa and 10% in the Mission and Potrero Hill). The percent of dry cleanings using perchloroethylene is low in Potrero Hill (1%) and SoMa (0%) and above average in the Mission (5%).

A significant disparity exists between SoMa and other SF neighborhoods with regard to the proportion of SoMa households living within 500 feet of a designated truck route. SoMa has the second highest proportion (94%) next to the Financial District in San Francisco (100%). The Mission (28%) and Potrero Hill (8%) have fewer households living within 500 ft of a designated truck route than the citywide average (39%).

Step 2: Does a plan or project advance health-related conditions?
a. State Plan/Project Facts

The following policies affecting this Objective are included in the Mission, East SoMa and Potrero Hill Area Plans.

Policy 1.8.1 – Minimize exposure to air pollutants from existing traffic sources for new residential developments, schools, daycare and medical facilities.

Implementation 1.8.1.1 – As part of the environmental review process for proposed new sensitive uses, including residential, childcare, and school facilities, work with the Department of Public Health to perform the appropriate exposure analysis.

Policy 4.4.1 – Provide an adequate amount of short-term, on-street curbside freight loading spaces in PDR areas of the Mission.

Implementation 4.4.1.1 – As part of Eastern Neighborhoods Transportation Implementation Study, SFMTA, SFCTA and Planning will determine if adequate on-street truck parking spaces are provided in the Mission. If needed, SFMTA should pursue implementation of new truck parking spaces and meters.

Policy 4.4.2 – Continue to require off-street facilities for freight loading and service vehicles in new large non-residential developments.

Implementation 4.4.2.1 – Continue to enforce Planning Code provisions regarding off-street freight loading.

Policy 4.4.3 – In areas with a significant number of PDR establishments, design streets to serve the needs and access requirements of trucks while maintaining a safe pedestrian environment.

Implementation 4.4.3.1 – As part of Eastern Neighborhoods Transportation Implementation Study, SFMTA, SFCTA and Planning will identify where conflicts exist between PDR vehicle, pedestrians and bicyclists and propose appropriate mitigations. This study should include an assessment of current priority freight routes as identified in the General Plan, actual truck volumes on streets, and impacts of truck route proximity to residential zoning.

Step 2: Does a plan or project advance health-related conditions?
b. Evaluate Plan/Project against HDMT indicator data (baseline community health conditions) and development checklist targets

The Eastern Neighborhoods include known significant mobile sources of air pollution including freeways, freeway on- and off- ramps, main arterial streets, and truck routes and thus residents in this area have increased air pollution exposure and associated health hazards. The Area Plans do not identify either existing stationary or mobile sources of air pollution as a constraint for development nor do they have any objectives, policies, or implementing actions that completely avoid locating sensitive uses where greater than 100,000 vehicles per day are within 500 feet of use

The Area Plans aim to minimize exposure to air pollutants from existing traffic sources for new residential developments, schools, daycare and medical facilities through the project-level environmental review process, requiring collaboration with the Department of Public Health to perform the appropriate exposure analysis. The Area Plans do not require an HVAC system with filtration to reduce/mitigate infiltration of vehicle emissions if a development project is sited in a location where exposure may present health hazards. Presumably, mitigations would be required through the environmental review process.

Both LEED and Green Point Rated offer points for improving indoor air quality. LEED offers points for outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring and increased ventilation. Green Point Rated offers points to design and install HVAC system to ACCA Manual J, D and S recommendations. Based on plan language, the Area Plans do not achieve the benchmark Development Target for Indicator ES.5.a

The Area Plans do not provide any objectives, policies, or implementing actions to avoid locating sensitive uses in close proximity to stationary sources of air pollution. The creation of the NEMIZ district (mixes light industrial and residential) in the Mission and the Urban Mixed Used district in Showplace Square/Potrero has the potential to increase conflicts between residential dwelling and stationary sources of air pollution. It is important to note health impacts may result not only from a single stationary source and increased traffic volume, but a combination of co-located air pollution sources in a community. Additional policies could be in place prior to the rezoning effort to reduce conflict and provide adequate mitigation measures. As a result, the benchmark Development Target for Indicator ES.5.b is not achieved.

The Area Plans do not have any specific objectives, policies, or implementing actions that avoid placing sensitive uses adjacent to a truck route. Through the project-level environmental review process, the SF Planning Department intends to work with the Department of Public Health to perform the appropriate exposure analysis. Furthermore, as part of Eastern Neighborhoods Transportation Implementation Study, SFMTA, SFCTA and Planning will identify where conflicts exist between PDR vehicles and pedestrians and propose appropriate mitigations. This study will include an assessment of current priority freight routes as identified in the General Plan, actual truck volumes on streets, and impacts of truck route proximity to residential zoning. Ideally, this analysis should be done prior to zoning to avoid having conflicts

The Area Plans do aim to provide an adequate amount of short-term, on-street curbside freight loading spaces throughout the Eastern Neighborhoods. As part of Eastern Neighborhoods Transportation Implementation Study, SFMTA, SFCTA and Planning will determine if adequate on-street truck parking spaces are provided in East SoMa. If needed, SFMTA will pursue implementation of new truck parking spaces and meters. It will also continue to require off-street facilities for freight loading and service vehicles in new large non-residential developments and enforce Planning Code provisions regarding off-street freight loading. Provided that new large non-residential areas over 50,000 square feet qualify for adequate on site truck parking, this policy achieves benchmark #2 for Development Target ES.5.c.

Step 3: What policies, implementing actions and/or design recommendations advance community health objectives?
Informed by HDMT policy and design strategies, identify recommendations for plan or project improvements

Identify the location of stationary and mobile sources of pollution, including high density traffic corridors that are potential near-sources pollution exposure. Consider environmental constraints related to these sources along with health impacts in the location and intensity of sensitive uses in the final zoning maps.

Avoid locating sensitive uses in close proximity to stationary sources of air pollution identified in the 2005 CARB Air Quality and Land Use Handbook.

Avoid locating sensitive uses adjacent to high volume freight routes.

If sensitive uses are where greater than 100,000 vehicles per day are within 500 feet of a sensitive use, require an HVAC system with filtration to reduce/mitigate infiltration of vehicle emissions if warranted by exposure analysis.

Consider limiting building heights adjacent to roadways with high traffic flows. Taller buildings create "urban canyons" which can reduce the dispersion of air pollutants and increase ambient exposure levels. Dispersion analysis could inform where to allow higher buildings.

Summarize Findings

Existing conditions data illustrate that a high proportion of households in SoMa and the Mission live near busy roadways and a high proportion of households in SoMa live near truck routes. As a result, households in these neighborhoods likely experience poorer air quality in comparison to the City as a whole and other neighborhoods. And while the Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plans attempt to address issues of air quality, it is not clear the extent to which the Plans will be able to preserve air quality as HDMT Development Targets are not collectively met. A number of Plan improvements could be implemented to improve air quality, including avoiding locating sensitive uses in close proximity to stationary sources of pollution and high volume freight routes; requiring filtration systems to in certain types of development and, limiting building heights adjacent to roadways with high traffic flows.