Appeal Process

appeal process

Appeal Process Resources

How to File an Appeal

Be On Time. The time limits for filing appeals are strictly enforced.

  • Most appeals must be filed within 15 calendar days from the date the decision being appealed is issued.

  • Appeals of variance decisions issued by the Zoning Administrator must be filed within 10 calendar days from the date of the variance decision letter.

  • Appeals relating to place of entertainment permits, extended hours premises and loudspeaker permits issued by the Entertainment Commission, and permit decisions made pursuant to Planning Code Scetion 343 (Central SOMA Housing Sustainability District)  must be filed within 10 calendar days of the determination.

  • Appeals of building permits issued for cetain types of Accessory Dwelling Units (issued pursuant to Planning Code Section 207(c)(6)) must be filed within 10 calendar days of the permit decision.

  • Other appeal periods may apply and you are strongly advised to contact the Board office for more information about your particular appeal.

In limited circumstances, the Board will hear appeals after the filing deadline has passed. Contact the Board offices to learn more.

Make an Appointment. Appeals must be filed in person. Appointments are recommended.  To make an appointment, please call 415-575-6880. Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

An appellant may file an appeal in person or have someone else (an agent) file for them. An agent must provide the Board with written authorization from the appellant allowing the agent to file the appeal in the appellant’s name.

What to Bring to Your Appointment

  • A copy of the departmental action being appealed, such as the permit, variance decision, etc.

  • A check or cash to pay the filing fee. The Board does not accept credit cards. Click here for the Board’s fee schedule. All fees are non-refundable, whether or not the appeal is successful or withdrawn prior to hearing.

  • A one-page double-spaced statement explaining the reasons for the appeal may be submitted at the time the appeal is filed. No exhibits are allowed.

  • An authorization (agency) letter, if you are filing the appeal for someone else.

Once an Appeal is Filed

When an appeal is filed, Board staff will set a hearing date and briefing schedule. The determination holder will be informed of the appeal and in most cases, the determination that has been appealed will be suspended. The parties are given time to prepare and submit briefs (written statements) arguing their position on the appeal for the Board’s consideration. Exhibits may be submitted as well.

See the Board’s Instructions for Parties to learn about the Board’s briefing requirements and for other important information.

Board members will conduct a public hearing on the appeal, listening to arguments and testimony from the appellant(s), permit holder(s), department representative(s), and from interested neighbors and other members of the public. The Board then votes to either uphold the underlying departmental determination, impose conditions on the determination, or overrule the determination. The Board may also continue a hearing to a later date if more information or time for settlement discussions is needed.

Additional Appeal Process Information Links:

Appeal Process Overview: PDF iconEnglish | Spanish | Chinese | Filipino

Rules of the Board of Appeals

Instructions for Parties

Appeals of DBI Penalties

Fee Schedule