Development Agreements – Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Development Agreement and why does the City have them?

Development agreements are contracts approved by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors entered into by the City and a developer to expressly define a development project’s rules, regulations, commitments, and policies for a specific period of time. The purpose is to strengthen the public planning process by encouraging private participation in the achievement of comprehensive planning goals and reducing the economic costs of development. A development agreement reduces the risks associated with development, thereby enhancing the City's ability to obtain public benefits beyond those achievable through existing ordinances and regulations.

Due to the dissolution of the City’s Redevelopment Agency, each agreement is now negotiated on a case-by-case basis by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the City Attorney’s Office.

How are Development Agreements monitored by the City?

The Planning Department and OEWD are working closely with the Controller’s Office City Performance Unit and other City Departments to centralize development agreement requirements and mitigations into a comprehensive system that will encourage proactive monitoring and tracking of developer and City responsibilities. Prior to this project, there was no centralized system that housed all development agreements and their requirements. In addition to this webpage, this project will produce a database that the City will use to track and monitor payments, community commitments, and other important data within the development agreements.

Are there different types of Development Agreements?

California Government Code Section 65864-65869.5 and Chapter 56 of the San Francisco City and County Administrative Code sets forth the procedures by which a development agreement is processed and approved. There are four common categories of agreements:

  1. Development Agreements - Voluntary contractual agreements between a landowner and the City concerning provisions of infrastructure, public spaces, and amenities.
  2. Disposition and Development Agreements - A contract between a developer and the City that involves the sale of City-owned land to the developer.
  3. Lease Disposition and Development Agreements - A contract between a developer and the City that involves the lease of City-owned land or property to the developer.
  4. Owner Participation Agreements - A contract between a property owner/developer and the City to allow for development of property owned by an entity other than the City, generally the owner/developer.