In February, the San Francisco Planning Department issued the first quarterly performance report for implementation of its Process Improvements Plan, a program intended to overhaul the project review process.  The Plan first took effect in June 2018 in response to an Executive Directive from the Mayor’s Office to reduce approval timelines and remove administrative barriers to housing production.  According to the Department’s quarterly progress report, the Department met its deadline for two-thirds of Preliminary Project Applications (PPAs) and 79% of Project Applications, with approximately 48% of projects receiving a Plan Check Letter within 90 days. Continue Reading Update on SF Planning Department’s Streamlined Review Procedures for Development Projects

The state of California is keeping a watchful eye on the potential land use, environmental, and social consequences of automated vehicle deployment. On November 16, 2018, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research announced the release of “Automated Vehicle Principles for Healthy and Sustainable Communities.” This document involved staff collaboration among state agencies, including the Office of Planning and Research, the Air Resources Board, and Caltrans. Continue Reading State Agencies Release Land Use and Environmental Considerations for Automated Vehicle Deployment

Last spring, we reported on Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 827, which proposed major increases in height and density for qualifying housing developments.  Battle lines quickly emerged, with supporters claiming that the legislation was a bold, necessary solution to the housing affordability and climate change crises, and opponents asserting that it was a threat to neighborhood stability and an invitation to gentrification.  The bill was ultimately killed in Committee.  On December 3, Senator Wiener introduced SB 50Continue Reading Senator Wiener Introduces Recrafted Legislation Providing Height and Density Bonuses, Other Incentives for “Transit-Rich” and “Jobs-Rich” Projects

SF Planning Dept. – Central SoMa boundary map

After over seven years of planning and public outreach, as of January 7, 2019, the Central SoMa Plan and its implementing legislation are finally effective.  The City’s analysis concludes that the Plan area has development capacity for over 8,000 new housing units (approximately 33 percent of which will be affordable) and over 30,000 new jobs, and will generate over two billion dollars of public benefits. Continue Reading At Long Last: Central SoMa Plan Effective

On September 30, Governor Brown signed AB 2923, which could pave the way for BART to develop up to approximately 20,000 residential units, plus about 4.5 million square feet of office and commercial uses, on about 250 acres of BART-owned land. It requires cities and counties to adopt local zoning standards for BART-owned land that conform to BART Transit Oriented Development (TOD) zoning standards and establishes a streamlined approval process for qualifying projects. The law sunsets on January 1, 2029. Continue Reading Major BART Housing Bill Passes

Proposition C—the Commercial Rent Tax for Childcare and Early Education—is set to take effect on January 1, 2019, and increase the Gross Receipts Tax (“GRT”) on commercial rents in San Francisco.  As discussed in our previous post, Proposition C competed with Proposition D—the Housing For All Commercial Rent Tax—and prevailed with San Francisco voters in June. Continue Reading Update on Commercial Rent Tax: Tax For Childcare Passes, Faces Legal Challenge

This summer, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved legislation that increased the Transportation Sustainability Fee (TSF) for large non-residential projects, amended the HOME-SF (Housing Opportunities Mean Equity-San Francisco) Program to temporarily (through 2019) reduce Program requirements, and created a new administrative approval process for 100% Affordable Housing Bonus Program projects. Continue Reading Summer Summary: Recent Changes in Local Law

California voters will consider a November ballot initiative (Proposition 10) that would repeal the 1995 California Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (“Costa-Hawkins”). Costa-Hawkins generally limits rent controls that may be imposed by local jurisdictions on housing units in buildings with a certificate of occupancy issued after February 1995, prohibits local jurisdictions from expanding rent control to include “vacancy control,” and exempts single-family homes and condominiums from rent controls, with limited exceptions. Continue Reading California Voters Poised to Weigh in on Major Changes to Rent Control Law

Earlier this summer, Bay Area voters passed Regional Measure 3 with 54% of the vote, authorizing $4.5 billion of transportation improvements throughout the region. Commuters will pay a $1 toll hike on seven Bay Area bridges, excluding only the Golden Gate Bridge, beginning on January 1, 2019. Our original article summarizing RM-3 lays out the planned improvements.  Continue Reading RM-3 Passed – What Happens Next?

Competing special purpose tax measures are on the San Francisco June ballot, both of which would raise the tax on gross receipts from the lease of commercial space in San Francisco.  The tax rates in the measures – generally, 1.7% and 3.5% – would be a steep increase over the current gross receipts tax rate applicable to commercial rents of around 0.3%.  Either proposed tax would be in addition to the gross receipts tax already in effect and would become operative on January 1, 2019.

Continue Reading Commercial Landlords Beware: Competing Tax Measures on June Ballot