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Nob Hill Highland Sector Development Plan

Information about the Nob Hill Highland Sector Development Plan.


The draft sector plan was prepared by Sites Southwest consultants. You may review the Draft Sector Plan submitted to the City Council, but without the adopted amendments:

The Plan was authorized in Bill No. R-04-189 (Enactment No. R-2005-018). Please note, related to the submittal of proposed amendments to the sector plan, that while the legislation called for the planning process to be jointly managed by City Council Services, this engagement was not sought by the Planning Department and did not occur.

Bill No. R-07-185 is the enacting legislation for the Nob Hill Highland Sector Development Plan.



There are two categories of amendments:

  • Text amendments
  • Streetscape amendments

The text amendments were suggested to the Council members by a number of different sources including: the Environmental Planning Commission; Planning Department staff; Nob Hill Neighborhood Association; residents, property, and business owners in the area; and City Council staff.

The amendments address the following principal issues. (Please read the entire text of these amendments to obtain the complete picture.)

  • Building heights.
  • Removal of some CPTED roadway barriers.
  • Neighborhood permit parking.
  • Funding sources for plan implementation.
  • Shopfront design standards for buildings on the side streets intersecting Central Avenues.
  • Varying the height of buildings fronting Central Avenue.
  • Varying the building articulation requirements for structures between Washington and San Mateo especially.
  • Solar access regulations for single family residences west of Washington Street.
  • Parking standards related to uses along Central as a Major Transit Corridor.
  • Providing for reestablishing historically notable design characteristics when structures along Central are rehabilitated.
  • Adding “Characteristic Buildings” to the Historic Preservation map, identifying building to add to this category, and calling for staff to move toward designating identified buildings as City Landmarks, which will have greater protections than under the National and State and National Historic Registers.
  • Providing a waiver of parking requirements for small commercial users (up to 3,000 sq. ft.) to encourage local small businesses.

At the August 6th and August 20th meetings , the Council approved the following amendments. Please note that some of these amendments were revised from the version posted on this web page previously. One should read the current text of all of these amendments.

Amendments Approved by Council

The following amendments were approved by Council at the August 6th and August 20th meetings. The amendments approved at these meetings have become final.

(The “Proposed” notation is only to track the numbering of the amendments as they appeared on this web page.)

The draft streetscape amendments were provided by the national transportation engineering firm of Kimley-Horn under contract to the City Council Services. The standards contained in the amendments were suggested because of the lack of specific regulations in the draft sector plan and the benefits to result from a conceptual streetscape design that is consistent with the plan policy to make this portion of Central Avenue more pedestrian friendly.

The streetscape amendment addresses the following main elements:

  • Pedestrian bulb-outs at all intersections.
  • A design solution to the plan provision for minimum 11 foot wide sidewalks on Central Avenue.
  • Identification of landscape requirements adjacent to Central and along the sides of the sidewalks.
  • A model design for street furnishings such as benches and bollards.
  • Signalization of additional intersection(s).
  • Introduction of 17 foot wide “café” sidewalk space on some locations along Central such as to provide out-door dining.
  • Some extensions of medians across blocks in order to simplify pedestrian crossing and encourage walking.
  • Identification of potential streetcar stops in the event that the system is approved and shortening the distances between suggested stops to ¼ mile.

As above, the reader should carefully review the text and illustrations included in the amendments.

Streetscape Amendments and Graphics

The Streetscape for East Central Avenue was developed to establish design standards to complement and support the adjacent land uses under both existing and future conditions. The overall objective is to provide a balanced multi-modal corridor that safely accommodates pedestrians, transit, freight and automobiles, and allocate the existing right-of-way to support the activities of adjacent businesses. The streetscape plan is consistent with the goals, policies, and design guidelines established in the Nob Hill Highland Sector Development Plan, specifically:

  1. Goal: Create an environment that facilitates a high-quality, pedestrian-oriented experience.


  2. Goal: Accommodate the flow of automobile traffic while integrating it with a pedestrian-oriented, multi-modal, mixed-use, urban environment.
  • Policy: The City shall improve the ease and safety of pedestrian crossings at principal arterials (including Central) and collector streets (Carlisle).
  • Policy: The City shall improve sidewalks and enhance pedestrian mobility.
  • Policy: The City shall address aesthetics and amenities to improve streetscapes and create opportunities to relax, gather and socialize.
  • Policy: The City shall accommodate the vehicular flow on principal arterials while increasing the priority and safety of pedestrians.

Capital projects that are relevant to the streetscape plan include:

  • Development of safer and more visible crossing points at signalized intersections and mid-block crossings.
  • Addition of bulb-outs where on-street parking exists.
  • Crosswalks added to signalized intersections.
  • Widen sidewalks to a minimum of 11 feet.
  • Close unused curb cuts on Central to create a continuous, level surface, and all curb heights should be 6 inches to provide proper slopes for handicap-accessibility.
  • Buffers such as planting strips and on-street parking between pedestrian ways and street traffic.
  • Addition of night sky friendly pedestrian-scaled lighting
  • Shade tree planting should be expanded along retail street frontages.
  • Establishing areas for public spaces and outdoor seating to activate street frontages ensuring that proper accessibility requirements are met.

The adopted streetscape amendment to the Nob Hill Sector Development Plan.

This link provides the proposed changes to the “Plan Components / Movements Systems” section of the Plan.


The following Graphics are referenced in the streetscape amendment above.