The City prepared a Downtown Precise Plan (Precise Plan) concurrently with its General Plan 2040. The Downtown Precise Plan will be implemented by a Form Based Zoning Code known as the Downtown Code, adopted concurrently with the Precise Plan. The Downtown Code amends the San Rafael Municipal Code Title 14, Zoning. It replaces existing zoning regulations for properties in the Downtown Precise Plan Area with the exception of the Latham Street area, which retains its Multifamily Residential District ([Medium Density] 2,500 square feet per dwelling unit [MR2.5]) zoning designation, and the existing open space and public facility zoning designations. The Downtown Code consists of new form-based zoning regulations organized into a coordinated set of articles and incorporated into the Zoning Ordinance by reference.
The Downtown Code describes the types of uses that are allowed in each zone, which includes categories such as automotive, commercial, entertainment, food, lodging, medical offices, offices, public assembly, public and quasi-public, residential, temporary uses, transportation, and services. Uses that are not listed are not allowed unless the Community Development Director determines that the proposed use is similar to a listed use. Otherwise, these uses are either allowed by-right, through Administrative Use Permits, Conditional Use Permits, or through a Zoning Administrator. The proposed Downtown Code is intended to reduce regulatory barriers to development and facilitate development by removing abstract and uncoordinated regulations of the existing use-based Zoning Code.