Technology and Innovation
The City aims to harness technological innovations to provide transparent and efficient government services and support business innovation to strengthen its legacy as the "Birthplace of Biotechnology."
The goals below are related to this topic. Select a goal to learn more about the policies and actions South San Francisco will implement to meet that goal.
A Prosperous Economy For All
Land Use and Community Design
Abundant and Accessible Parks and Recreation
South San Francisco remains a premier location for biotechnology and related industries.
To support the long-term success of the biotechnology industry in South San Francisco while also leveraging the industry’s presence in South San Francisco to attract related businesses and activities.
Policy PE-1.1: Ensure long-term viability of biotechnology.
Continue to support the long-term viability of the East of 101 area for biotechnology and related businesses.
Action PE-1.1.1: Monitor constraints to biotechnology and related businesses.
Through business, broker, and developers contacts, monitor and address potential constraints to ongoing growth of biotechnology and related businesses, including zoning, land supply, transportation, and infrastructure.
Policy PE-1.2: Diversify the biotechnology and life science cluster to include related businesses.
Attraction efforts should focus on related industries that benefit from proximity to existing biotechnology businesses and/or provide complementary services to existing biotechnology businesses. Related businesses could include medical diagnostics, digital health, medical device manufacturing, testing, lab supplies, test products, venture capital firms, and legal services, financial services, and other support services. Attraction efforts should also include understanding and tracking the shift of some life science activities and businesses to the periphery of the Bay Area.
Action PE-1.2.2: Biotechnology outreach.
Gauge and pursue opportunities to support attraction and retention of businesses in the broader biotechnology and life science cluster through participation in industry organizations and one-on-one contacts with businesses, developers, and real estate brokers.
A resilient and diverse South San Francisco economy supports existing industries while accommodating emerging growth opportunities.
To maintain economic diversity in South San Francisco by ensuring City actions and land use policies support existing major industries while positioning the City to capture growth in rapidly growing industries and business activities.
Policy PE-2.1: Reinvest in industrial property.
Within areas targeted for retention of industrial uses, support industrial property owners seeking to reinvest in and modernize their properties and come into compliance with environmental regulations, current building codes, and use/production of green energy.
Action PE-2.1.1: Conduct outreach to industrial property owners.
Conduct outreach to property owners seeking relevant permits to determine opportunities for the City to facilitate reinvestment.
Action PE-2.1.2: Support infrastructure improvements.
Pursue infrastructure and placemaking improvements that enhance the functionality of industrial districts.
Policy PE-2.2: Facilitate redevelopment of industrial property.
Facilitate redevelopment of industrial properties in portions of Lindenville and East of 101 targeted for redevelopment for other commercial or residential uses.
Action PE-2.2.1: Identify obstacles to redevelopment.
Conduct outreach to property owners to identify specific obstacles to redevelopment to inform strategies for supporting property owners through the redevelopment process.
Action PE-2.2.2: Support infrastructure improvements.
Pursue infrastructure and placemaking improvements in locations targeted for redevelopment of industrial properties for other commercial and residential uses.
Policy PE-2.3: Encourage multi-level logistics/distribution buildings.
As appropriate based on site and location conditions, encourage developers of new logistics/distribution projects to consider proposing multi-level buildings as a means of maximizing efficient use of remaining industrial land.
Policy PE-2.4: Encourage construction and occupancy of office space.
Action PE-2.4.1: Attract small professional services to ground floor spaces.
Explore opportunities, forecast demand, and identify barriers to attracting small professional services office-based businesses to ground floor spaces outside of the city’s best-located retail nodes (such as on blocks of Downtown away from Grand Avenue).
Action PE-2.4.2: Reduce cost barriers.
Impose lower community benefits contribution requirements for office development projects to receive density “bonuses” relative to life science projects in East of 101; revisit these requirements if office development activity accelerates significantly relative to life science development activity.
Policy PE-2.5: Target industry diversification opportunities.
Prioritize business attraction and retention activities for targeted industry sectors that represent significant growth and economic diversification opportunities.
Action PE-2.5.1: Monitor regional business and employment trends.
Monitor regional business and employment trends to explore emerging and/or growing economic development opportunities, with a focus on professional services, research and development, technology, biomedical and life sciences, and advanced manufacturing.
Action PE-2.5.2: Focus efforts on emerging technology industries.
Focus attraction and retention efforts on emerging technology businesses, such as those in artificial intelligence, “Big Data,” financial technology, health technology, and other software services.
Action PE-2.5.3: Focus efforts on emerging industrial technologies.
Focus attraction and retention efforts on emerging industrial technologies, such as those in industrial design services, transportation engineering, robotics, autonomous vehicles and drones, instrumentation, mechanical engineering, and related fields.
Action PE-2.5.4: Focus efforts on advanced food industries.
Focus attraction and retention efforts on advanced food production and food technology businesses, such as specialty food manufacturers, businesses developing new food products, and businesses implementing higher efficiency agricultural technologies.
Policy PE-2.6: Maintain a strong hotel Transient Occupancy Tax base by supporting the city’s hospitality industry.
Action PE-2.6.1: Facilitate hotel investment and development.
Provide supportive City services to facilitate hotel owner/developer efforts to expand and upgrade local hotels, with a focus on upper upscale brands with higher daily rates.
Action PE-2.6.2: Promote the city as a hotel destination.
Support hotel stays through promotion of South San Francisco as a lodging destination via the South San Francisco and partnerships with hotel operators and the San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Action PE-2.6.3: Engage in marketing efforts to attract events to the South San Francisco Conference Center.
Action PE-2.6.4: Implement public realm improvements along South Airport Blvd.
Implement infrastructure, placemaking, and safety investments to improve the pedestrian experience along South Airport Boulevard for visitors traveling between the South San Francisco Conference Center, hotels, and nearby businesses in East of 101 and Downtown South San Francisco.
South San Francisco provides a business climate that supports the success of local entrepreneurs and existing small, local, minority-owned, and culturally diverse businesses.
To ensure South San Francisco’s small, local, minority-owned, and culturally diverse businesses can achieve success by removing barriers to opportunity and providing culturally appropriate technical resources and training for entrepreneurs.
Policy PE-7.1: Provide technical assistance information to small businesses.
Provide information to small businesses about technical assistance programs available through the City and partners such as the San Mateo Small Business Development Center.
Action PE-7.1.1: Disseminate resources.
Introduce available resources through all contacts with businesses. Examine additional opportunities to broaden access to information about these resources, such as providing materials to all establishments receiving City business licenses.
Action PE-7.1.2: Provide targeted resources to home-based businesses.
Explore providing targeted resources to home-based businesses regarding opportunities for support and for expansion into commercial and industrial spaces.
Policy PE-7.2: Explore opportunities to enhance access to capital.
Explore opportunities for developing programs that enhance access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Action PE-7.2.1: Pursue creation of a program that provides low-cost business loans.
Explore the creation of a low-cost business loan program for local small businesses and entrepreneurs, administered and/or funded by the City of South San Francisco or outside partners.
Policy PE-7.3: Augment channels of communication with the business community.
Action PE-7.3.1: Increase coordination with business organizations.
Increase cooperation and coordinate with the South San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the regional ethnic chambers of commerce, and other local business groups.
Action PE-7.3.2: Ensure informational materials for businesses are published in multiple languages.
Policy PE-7.4: Support the retention and formation of local businesses owned by people of color and historically disenfranchised community members.
Action PE-7.4.1: Conduct targeted engagement.
Conduct outreach to and share technical and other resources with these entrepreneurs through partnerships with culturally relevant organizations and via the promoters, community navigators, and the Community Resource Center.
Business growth and investment provide financial and other contributions that meet the needs of South San Francisco residents.
To ensure that business activity and real estate development provide benefits for South San Francisco residents.
Policy PE-8.1: Maintain and implement new funding mechanisms to address the impacts of development and support infrastructure needs.
Action PE-8.1.1: Periodically update impact fees.
Periodically update the City’s impact fee schedule to reflect changing development conditions and supportable fee levels.
Action PE-8.1.2: Establish district-based financing tools.
Explore establishing community facilities districts and other district-based financing mechanisms East of 101 and in other rapidly growing areas to ensure that new development adequately covers the costs of new infrastructure and facilities needs.
Policy PE-8.2: Explore equitable services spending.
As operating revenues increase in response to citywide growth, explore how these revenues can be equitably deployed to meet the needs of residents.
Policy PE-8.3: Establish community benefits contributions.
Establish and maintain mechanisms for businesses seeking adjustments to base zoning and density standards to provide voluntary community benefits.
Action PE-8.3.1: Maintain and expand density bonus incentive program.
As appropriate, maintain and expand the City’s existing density bonus incentive program for commercial properties.
South San Francisco remains a hub of R&D employment, operations, and innovation and is home to the largest worldwide cluster of life science uses.
To ensure South San Francisco remains a worldwide hub of innovation.
Policy LU-5.1: Maintain a critical mass of land zoned for R&D.
Maintain a critical mass of land zoned for R&D to ensure South San Francisco remains a friendly place for R&D companies.
Policy LU-5.2: Maintain high-quality design and development standards.
Maintain high-quality design and development standards for R&D companies that support a mix of larger, higher-intensity campuses.
Policy LU-5.3: Require campus open space.
Require significant public and private open space and outdoor amenities. Work with development projects to provide publicly accessible, private open space as part of their site plans.
Policy LU-5.4: Zone to attract emerging technology businesses.
Allow and attract innovative and emerging technology businesses to South San Francisco through flexible use and zoning requirements.
Policy LU-5.5: Improve connectivity for R&D workforces.
Maintain vehicular infrastructure and improve circulation to accommodate the unique demands for R&D workplaces.
Policy LU-5.6: Community benefits framework.
Continue to update and refine the community benefits framework that requires R&D companies to contribute to community goals and amenities, including parks and public spaces, affordable housing, and transportation demand management.
Policy LU-5.7: Collaboration with property owners.
Collaboration with property owners and new private developer to define collective action to achieve plan goals.
Opportunities for industrial uses to thrive in Lindenville and East of 101.
To preserve industrial uses in South San Francisco and ensure they do not create negative environmental impacts.
Policy LU-6.1: Preserve industrial uses in areas designated Mixed Industrial High.
Prohibit the introduction of new residential, commercial, and other non-residential uses in areas designated as Mixed Industrial High to preserve land for industrial uses.
Policy LU-6.2: Prohibit incompatible use encroachment.
Prohibit additional encroachment of incompatible uses into industrial areas in Lindenville and East of 101, except where residential growth is planned.
Policy LU-6.3: Encourage redevelopment of older or marginal industrial areas.
Encourage the redevelopment of existing older or marginal industrial areas with new, Mixed Industrial High areas. Facilitate creative and innovative building and space design to support emerging industrial uses.
Action LU-6.3.1: Encourage property assemblage and master planning.
Encourage the assemblage of adjacent parcels by providing greater development incentives for master planned redevelopment of specific locations than would be available for development on a parcel-by-parcel basis.
Action LU-6.3.2: Provide density bonuses for assembled parcels.
Develop density bonus program for assembled parcels and/or master planned parcels of former industrial uses or commercial transitioning to residential uses.
Policy LU-6.4: Monitor Industrial land availability.
Monitor the availability of industrial land and building square footage.
Policy LU-6.5: Preserve production, distribution, service, and repair (PDR) businesses.
Preserve production, distribution, and repair (PDR) businesses in South San Francisco.
Action LU-6.5.1: Establish flexible development standards for industrial uses.
Establish flexible development standards (including FAR) that allow industrial uses to make building improvements and change with market conditions.
Policy LU-6.6: Encourage non-polluting industries.
Encourage development of non-polluting industries that are not major sources of air, water, or noise pollution.
Action LU-6.6.1: Cleanup of Hazardous sites.
Seek funding to finance cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites.
Policy LU-6.7: Provide efficient permitting of industrial uses.
Continue to provide efficient permitting and transparent development processes to ensure City government is friendly to industrial development.
Action LU-6.7.1: Online permitting.
Seek efficiencies to make development permitting as simple and efficient as possible, including incorporating online permitting.
Action LU-6.7.2: Streamline permitting for specific uses
Identify industrial uses that benefit from proximity to the airport and life sciences cluster and create streamlined permitting to attract such uses.
Policy LU-6.8: Maintain industrial circulation in Lindenville and East of 101.
As residential and mixed uses are added to Lindenville and East of 101, maintain vehicular infrastructure and improve circulation to accommodate vehicular transportation needs for industrial land uses, including logistics and warehousing land uses, and minimizing conflicts with new uses.
Policy LU-6.9: Goods movement in Lindenville and East of 101.
Maintain an up-to-date truck routes map that minimizes exposures to sensitive land uses. Manage truck idling in new residential neighborhoods in Lindenville and East of 101.
A carbon neutral community by 2045.
To maintain and regularly update the City’s Climate Action Plan and Greenhouse Gas Inventory with new and emerging practices.
Policy CP-1.1: Maintain and update the Climate Action Plan.
Maintain and regularly update the City’s Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated within the city. Ensure the City’s GHG emission target is consistent with California’s GHG reduction goals in order to be a qualified plan for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Action CP-1.1.1: Update greenhouse gas reduction measures.
Regularly (every 3-5 years) refine goals, policies, and actions designed to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction goal.
Action CP-1.1.2: Establish greenhouse gas emission thresholds.
Establish greenhouse gas (GHG) emission thresholds for use in evaluating non-exempt discretionary project consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act and require projects above that threshold to substantially mitigate all feasible GHG emissions and to reduce emissions below the established thresholds.
Policy CP-1.2: Monitor progress towards carbon neutrality goal.
Track and report progress towards achieving the City’s greenhouse gas reduction goal.
Action CP-1.2.1: Update the community greenhouse gas inventory every five years.
Action CP-1.2.2: Prepare Municipal Greenhouse Gas inventory.
Prepare an inventory of emissions from municipal operations, establish a greenhouse gas reduction target, and develop a work plan to reduce municipal emissions.
Policy CP-1.3: Utilize innovative technologies to reduce emissions.
Utilize new technologies as they become available to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by regularly evaluating new and emerging technology changes that can help to reduce GHG emissions, and by encouraging the use of such technology when it is demonstrated to be effective at reducing GHG emissions and a fiscally responsible investment.
Policy CP-1.4: Explore innovative pilot programs.
Explore the potential for innovative greenhouse gas reduction pilot programs, including collaborations and partnerships, in each emissions sector (e.g., buildings and energy, transportation, solid waste, water, and carbon sequestration).
Policy CP-1.5: Seek funding to support greenhouse emission reductions.
Seek additional sources of funding to support implementation of greenhouse gas reduction projects, exploring grant funding, rebates, and other incentive opportunities
Policy CP-1.6: Community education about greenhouse gas reduction incentives.
Educate residents and businesses about opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through grant funding, rebates, and other incentive opportunities.
A resilient and fossil fuel free energy system.
To reduce energy related greenhouse gas emissions as well as improve local air quality and public health.
Policy CP-2.1: Maintain Peninsula Clean Energy membership.
Maintain City membership in Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) and continue to work to maintain a high level of private property owner participation in PCE.
Policy CP-2.2: Reduce emissions associated with natural gas infrastructure.
Partner with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company to develop options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with the existing natural gas grid.
Policy CP-2.3: Develop community solar projects.
Explore the development of community solar projects.
Policy CP-2.4: Install energy resilience infrastructure.
Provide energy resilience via back-up energy systems, microgrids, and other measures that serve the community during emergency events, particularly supporting disadvantaged communities, including considering creating a financial incentive program for existing and new solar/battery backup system installations.
Policy CP-2.5: Coordinate with Pacific Gas and Electric Public Safety Power Shutoffs.
Work with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company to minimize the impacts of Public Safety Power Shutoffs and to prevent utility shutoff during extreme heat events.
Green buildings are the standard in South San Francisco for new construction and major renovations.
To create sustainable high-performance buildings that operate using carbon-free electricity and consume fewer resources.
Policy CP-3.1: Building code maintenance for new and major renovations (energy efficiency).
Regularly update South San Francisco’s building codes to improve the energy performance of new construction and major remodels and to phase in requirements in predicable ways.
Action CP-3.1.1: Incentivize energy efficient new construction.
Provide incentives to encourage new construction to exceed California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards outlined in Title 24, Part 6.
Action CP-3.1.2: Require non-residential all-electric new construction.
Adopt an ordinance (reach code) requiring all new nonresidential buildings to be all-electric and prohibit new gas infrastructure for new buildings. Exempt occupancies must install electric building systems (e.g., space and water heating equipment) where feasible.
Action CP-3.1.3: Retrofit all-electric in existing buildings during major renovations.
Require residential major renovations to retrofit to all-electric.
Action CP-3.1.4: Require installation of photovoltaic panels.
Require installation of photovoltaic panels on multifamily and nonresidential new construction.
Policy CP-3.2: Building code maintenance for new and major renovations (water efficiency).
Regularly update the City’s building codes to improve the water efficiency of new construction and major renovation.
Action CP-3.2.1: Require high-efficiency indoor water fixture.
Require high-efficiency fixtures in all new construction, like CALGreen Tier 1 or 2.
Action CP-3.2.2: Update landscaping water requirements.
Require all new landscaping to use low-water plants and efficient irrigation, planting native and non-native species that provide valuable resources for native wildlife.
Policy CP-3.3: Encourage the addition of battery storage.
Establish a streamlined approval process for battery storage systems and reduce or eliminate permitting fees to encourage the addition of battery storage.
Policy CP-3.4: Adopt Electric Vehicle charging reach code.
Adopt higher electric vehicle charging requirements than CALGreen for multifamily and nonresidential new construction.
For related policies and implementation actions related to landscape design standards, see Goal ES-5.
The performance of existing buildings in South San Francisco is improved.
To reduce energy and water use in existing buildings, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and utility costs.
Policy CP-4.1: Establish efficiency upgrade programs.
Establish an energy and water efficiency upgrade program for existing buildings, focusing resources on the most disadvantaged communities.
Action CP-4.1.1: Energy audits for homes and businesses.
Work with Peninsula Clean Energy, San Mateo County Energy Upgrade to provide free to low-cost energy audits.
Action CP-4.1.2: Adopt Commercial Benchmarking ordinance.
Adopt energy and water benchmarking ordinance for commercial buildings over 10,000 square feet to empower owners to control utility costs.
Action CP-4.1.3: Retrocommissioning partnership.
Work with PG&E to expand deep retrofit and retrocommissioning programs in South San Francisco.
Policy CP-4.2: Prepare a Building Electrification Plan.
Develop a date certain, phased-in Existing Building Electrification Plan to retrofit existing homes and businesses to all electric.
Action CP-4.2.1: Require electric panel upgrade at point of sale.
Adopt an ordinance that requires electric panel upgrades upon sale and/or rental turnover.
Action CP-4.2.2: Adopt Burnout Ordinance.
Adopt a Burnout Ordinance that requires a gas appliance (e.g., stove or furnace) be replaced with an electric version when it stops working.
Policy CP-4.3: Establish Greywater permitting.
Establish a streamlined process for laundry-to-landscape greywater systems.
Policy CP-4.4: Community education about energy and water incentives.
Educate residents and businesses on available incentive opportunities to reduce energy and water use.
For related policies and implementation actions related to landscape design standards, see Goal ES-5.
The city has an expanded network of improved parkland to accommodate the physical and social needs of users of all ages and abilities.
To increase the availability and connectedness of parks and gathering spaces in all neighborhoods of the city.
Policy PR-2.1: Meet improved parkland standard.
Maintain an interconnected system of community, neighborhood, mini, linear, and special use parks that achieves a standard of 3.0 acres of improved parkland per 1,000 residents.
Action PR-2.1.1: Adopt and implement Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
Adopt and implement the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, updating the Plan every 5-to-10 years. Develop the proposed parks identified in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Include new categories in parks classification system: San Mateo County-owned park trailheads, SSFUSD properties the public can access per joint use agreements, and privately-owned public open spaces, among others.
Action PR-2.1.2: Complete update of the Orange Memorial Park Master Plan.
Policy PR-2.2: Use underutilized sites for improved parks.
Add improved parkland by improving existing underused sites, such as surface parking lots, to create new green space, recreation, and gathering areas in the parks system. Consider using sites as temporary / pop-up parks to meet near term needs.
Policy PR-2.3: Foster innovative park types.
Foster innovative park spaces to activate spaces and to meet the City’s existing and future recreation needs.
Policy PR-2.4: Determine alternative temporary park locations.
Determine potential locations for temporary park facilities, such as street-ends, single blocks, parking lots, and create pilot programs at these locations to test the closure in a temporary way.
Policy PR-2.5: Develop community gardens.
Develop community gardens in parks throughout the city, particularly in neighborhoods without convenient access to healthy food, like Downtown, Paradise Valley/Terrabay, Sign Hill, Sunshine Gardens, Westborough, and Winston Serra.
Policy PR-2.6: Plan for new parks in East of 101 and Lindenville
Ensure new residential mixed-use neighborhoods in East of 101 and Lindenville plan for a well-connected network of parks and open space.
Continue to promote the expansion of an innovation district with R&D uses in the northern portion of the East of 101 area.
To foster innovation and growth R&D companies in East of 101.
Policy SA-21.1: Promote urban campus-style life science uses.
Promote campus-style R&D uses for life science and other innovative companies.
Policy SA-21.2: Restrict warehousing and distribution uses in Business Technology Park areas.
Do not permit any new warehousing and distribution north of East Grand Avenue or in areas designated Business Technology Park or Business Technology Park High.
Action SA-21.2.1: Update Non-Conforming Regulations in Zoning Ordinance.
Develop zoning regulations that encourage non-conforming warehousing and distribution uses north of East Grand Avenue or in areas designated as Business Technology Park or Business Technology Park High to transition to conforming uses.
Policy SA-21.3: Allow building heights in the East of 101 area to the maximum limits permitted under Federal Aviation regulations.
Allow building heights in the East of 101 area to the maximum limits permitted under Federal Aviation regulations.