Since 1988, the San Francisco City Planning Department has used residential design guidelines in its review of building permit applications in order to preserve and enhance the quality of its residential neighborhoods. The purpose of the Cow Hollow Neighborhood Design Guidelines is to assist residents, neighbors, community groups and city planners in determining whether the renovation or expansion of an existing building, or the construction of a new building, is visually and physically compatible with the neighborhood character of Cow Hollow.
The key issues for the neighborhood are preservation and enhancement of its unique and historic character as perceived from the block face and the rear facades of buildings, which form a backdrop for lower neighboring districts and the Presidio National Park.
CHA’s Zoning Committee is composed of experienced Board and Advisory Board members with expertise in the Cow Hollow Design Guidelines as well as San Francisco’s zoning and planning requirements. The Zoning Committee counsels proponents of major residential constructions projects in Cow Hollow regarding compliance with the Design Guidelines. The CHA Pre-App Checklist is an important tool to assist project proponents (property owners, architects and developers) to avoid some of the common pitfalls that can increase the cost and duration of construction projects in San Francisco.
Design Guidelines Summary
For Cow Hollow residents considering building a new home or making modifications to their current home, it is important to identify those features or elements that give the building its visual character.
Elements of Design Following are the six basic elements of residential design considered in approving Cow Hollow residential permits. The terms used below are defined in detail in the full version of the Guidelines (in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format). 1. Siting
Location of a project site, and its topography
Setback of the building from the front property line
Rear yard, i.e. the setback of the building from the rear property line
Side yard, i.e. spacing between buildings and light wells
2. Building Envelope
Roofline: the profile a building makes against the sky, and the organizations of projections above the roofline
Volume and Mass as expressed by the visible facades
3. Scale (Height, Width and Depth)
Dimensions of the elements which make up the building’s facades
Proportions of the building, and of the elements of its facade
4. Texture and Detailing
Materials and Colors used to finish the surface of the building
Ornamentation used, including the amount, quality and placement
Entryways – the pedestrian entries into the buildings
Windows – how they are articulated and used in the facade
Garage doors – the vehicular entries into the building
Tree pruning for the retention of mid-block open space