Restaurant ban may be lifted

New restaurants or food businesses are prohibited on upper Fillmore Street unless they replace a similar establishment. But that would change under legislation proposed by new District 2 supervisor Mark Farrell.

Farrell made good on a campaign promise to propose changes to city law that would allow new food-related businesses on Fillmore to be approved by the Planning Commission. Farrell said the move is intended to enhance the economic vitality of the neighborhood commercial district, defined by ordinance as the area from Jackson Street south to Bush Street.

At its January 13 meeting the Planning Commission unanimously endorsed the effort to remove the ban, which has been in effect since 1987.

“Along upper Fillmore Street and elsewhere in the city, restaurants and bars were identified as volatile uses which could multiply and upset the commercial equilibrium by forcing out critical neighborhood services,” according to a Planning Department report on the history of the ban.

In fact, the prohibition has led to a decline in the number of eating and drinking establishments on upper Fillmore. In 1987 there were 32 restaurants; today there are 24. Then there were 8 specialty groceries; today there are 2. Under the legislation new bars could be allowed, but only in full-service restaurants.

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