Proposed legislation seeks to limit bars along Lower Polk Street

S.F. Examiner File PhotoQuieting things down: Board of Supervisors President David Chiu’s proposed legislation addresses complaints that Polk Street’s nightlife has become too rowdy.

S.F. Examiner File PhotoQuieting things down: Board of Supervisors President David Chiu’s proposed legislation addresses complaints that Polk Street’s nightlife has become too rowdy.

Sustained neighborhood complaints about raucous nightlife have led one San Francisco official to suggest prohibiting new bars, liquor stores and shops selling tobacco products from opening along a six-block stretch of Polk Street.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, whose District 3 includes the portion of Polk Street dotted with such businesses, said the concentration of watering holes has resulted in unruly behavior that causes problems for area residents.

He introduced legislation Tuesday seeking to prohibit more such businesses from opening on the lower part of Polk Street that runs from California Street to O’Farrell Street. That area is home to 60 businesses with alcohol permits.

Chiu’s legislation blames such businesses for “numerous peace, health, safety and general welfare problems in the area, including loitering, littering, public drunkenness, defacement and damaging of structures, and pedestrian obstructions, as well as traffic circulation, parking and noise problems on public streets and neighborhood lot.”

This is detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of area residents, the legislation states, “including fear for the safety of children, elderly residents, and visitors to the area.”

Existing bars would be able to continue to operate. But the legislation could thin out their numbers over time. If any existing business became nonoperational for six months, its alcohol permit would no longer be valid within the area affected by the legislation.

Meanwhile, restaurants hoping to serve alcohol or provide entertainment within this zone would need to obtain a special conditional-use permit, which could be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.

“The goal of the legislation is to ensure that nightlife and business activity continues to thrive on Polk Street while creating appropriate controls to keep the neighborhood vibrant, diverse and safe,” Chiu said.

The proposed controls, which would create what is known as an alcohol-restricted-use district, are similar to those already in place for Divisadero, Third and Mission streets, Chiu said.

The legislation was drafted with the support of the Lower Polk Neighbors, whose chairman, Ron Case, said the problem has persisted for about three years.

“It’s just to calm things down a little,” Case said. “It’s just gotten out of hand over the weekends. There are so many people.”

Chiu said he also is considering similar restrictions for the stretch of Polk Street north of California Street.

The full board would need to approve the proposal for it to become law.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsBoard of SupervisorsDavid ChiuGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden arrive at Biden's inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021, in Washington, DC.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)
Joe Biden issues call for ‘unity’ amidst extreme partisan rancor

‘I will be a president for all Americans,’ he says in inauguration speech

MARIETTA, GA - NOVEMBER 15: Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff (R) and Raphael Warnock (L) of Georgia taps elbows during a rally for supporters on November 15, 2020 in Marietta, Georgia. Both become senators Wednesday.  (Jenny Jarvie/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Vice President Harris swears in senators Padilla, Warnock, Ossoff

New Democratic senators tip balance of power in upper legislative house

President Joe Biden plans to sign a number of executive orders over the next week. (Biden Transition/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS)
Biden signals new direction by signing mask order on his first day in office

President plans ambitious 10-day push of executive orders, legislation

Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband Doug Emhoff looks on at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
A new turn in history: Kamala Harris sworn in as 49th vice president

Noah Bierman and Melanie Mason Los Angeles Times Kamala Devi Harris, born… Continue reading

From left, Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today’s inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/TNS)
Joe Biden inaugurated as 46th president as Trump era comes to an end

Todd Spangler Detroit Free Press Taking over the reins of government at… Continue reading

Most Read