San Francisco Adopts New Land Use Controls for Fleet Charging and Parcel Delivery Service Uses

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently amended the Planning Code’s controls to further regulate Fleet Charging and Parcel Delivery Service uses, primarily affecting Production, Distribution, and Repair (PDR) zoning districts. Below, we provide an overview of the legislative changes.

Fleet Charging Background

Fleet Charging[i] describes facilities that exclusively serve commercial or institutional vehicular fleets, including autonomous vehicles. These are distinguished from Electric Vehicle Charging Locations, which are open to the public. Starting in 2022, the Planning Code has generally required a Conditional Use Authorization (CUA) in the zoning districts where Fleet Charging uses are allowed, and has prohibited Fleet Charging as an accessory use to any other principal use. In most PDR districts (PDR-1-D, PDR-1-G, and PDR-2), however, an exception was available to convert existing private parking lots or vehicle storage lots to Fleet Charging uses by right, without a CUA.

Updated Fleet Charging Legislation

In 2023, Supervisor Peskin introduced amendments to the Fleet Charging legislation, which were unanimously approved by the Board on March 5, 2024 and signed by the Mayor on March 15, 2024. The amendments do not change the zoning districts where Fleet Charging uses may be allowed, but require a CUA in all PDR districts, regardless of the existing or former use of the site. This change removed the by-right exception available in three PDR districts to convert existing private parking lots or vehicle storage lots to Fleet Charging uses. Development applications submitted before January 11, 2024 are grandfathered into the prior regime.

Parcel Delivery Service Background

Demand for Parcel Delivery Service[ii]—a use category that includes traditional package shipping providers as well as services for delivery of e-commerce goods, food orders, cannabis, and more—has grown in recent years, largely in response to online shopping and fast delivery guarantees. In San Francisco, Parcel Delivery Service was historically permitted in districts that allow PDR uses, generally clustered in the southeast sector of the City.

In 2022, District 10 Supervisor Walton introduced and the Board approved interim Parcel Delivery Service controls, initially effective for 18 months between April 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023, and later amended and extended to March 30, 2024. Although sometimes described as a “moratorium,” the interim controls did not prohibit new Parcel Delivery Services, but newly required a CUA for those uses in all zoning districts. (The interim controls included a CUA exemption for temporary Parcel Delivery Services for up to 60 days within a 12-month period). Subsequent legislation prohibited Parcel Delivery Service activity, including unloading, sorting, and/or reloading merchandise, as part of a Fleet Charging use.

The Planning Department’s post-passage report from March 30, 2023 noted that several cannabis delivery businesses were impacted by the interim controls because they were classified under the Parcel Delivery Service definition.

Updated Parcel Delivery Service Legislation

As the extended Parcel Delivery Service interim controls were set to expire, the Board amended the Planning Code on March 5, 2024 (signed by the Mayor on March 15, 2024) to establish permanent regulations for these uses. In general, the changes are focused in the following areas:

  • In zoning districts where Parcel Delivery Services were generally permitted prior to the interim controls (PDR, M Industrial, and C-3 districts), those uses now require a CUA. This includes Parcel Delivery Service uses of 5,000 SF or less, which did not trigger a CUA under the amended interim controls.
  • Except for Parcel Delivery Service for cannabis and cannabis products, Parcel Delivery Service uses are not allowed to be accessory to any other use and must be an established principal use.
  • CUAs for Parcel Delivery Services greater than 5,000 SF are subject to additional criteria, including analyses regarding 1) impacts to traffic patterns, queuing times, and total vehicle miles traveled, 2) greenhouse gas emissions resulting from operation of the site, and 3) a study evaluating the potential economic impact of the proposed project, including an employment analysis (projecting construction and permanent employment generated and discussing the employer’s wages and benefits provided) and a fiscal impact analysis (itemizing public revenue created and public services needed).
  • All Parcel Delivery Service uses, regardless of size, are also subject to “at least the following conditions of project approval”: on-site electrification (including battery storage requirements) and vehicle idling prohibitions.

The Board is currently considering additional amendments, introduced by Supervisor Chan, that would add a new CUA criterion regarding impacts to educational institutions located near a proposed Parcel Delivery Service site and refine the existing employment analysis criterion to study AI utilization and use of autonomous vehicles. We’ll continue to track these and other important legislative updates affecting Fleet Charging and Parcel Delivery Service uses in the City’s PDR districts.



[i] Defined in the Planning Code as “Automotive Use, Non-Retail that provides electricity to electric motor vehicles through one or more Electric Vehicle Charging Stations that are dedicated or reserved for private parties pursuant to contract or other agreement and are not available to the general public. Fleet Charging is not allowed as an accessory use to any other principal use. Parcel Delivery Service activity, including unloading, sorting, and/or reloading merchandise for deliveries, is prohibited as part of a Fleet Charging use.”

[ii] Defined in the Planning Code as “[a] Non-Retail Automotive Use limited to facilities for the unloading, sorting, and reloading of local retail merchandise for deliveries, including but not limited to cannabis and cannabis products, where the operation is conducted entirely within a completely enclosed building, including garage facilities for local delivery trucks, but excluding repair shop facilities. Within PDR Districts, this use is not required to be operated within a completely enclosed building. Parcel Delivery Service for merchandise or products other than cannabis and cannabis products is not allowed as an accessory use to any other principal use.”