Costs for many non-residential developments in San Francisco are poised to increase. On September 19, 2019, the Planning Commission approved a proposed ordinance that would more than double the City-wide Jobs Housing Linkage Fee (JHLF) rate for office and laboratory development. The ordinance now moves to the Board of Supervisors for consideration.
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San Francisco’s Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA) became effective earlier this month but the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) has clarified that sellers of multi-family residential rental properties and certain vacant lots in San Francisco will not be required to comply until September 3, 2019 (90 days after the effective date).

Two affordable housing measures are currently proposed for the November 5, 2019 ballot: (i) City Charter and Code amendments to encourage certain 100% affordable and teacher housing projects by providing for a streamlined ministerial — i.e., no CEQA — approval process for qualified projects and (ii) an up-to $500 million affordable housing bond.

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Pending legislation introduced by San Francisco Supervisor Fewer would amend the City’s laws to give certain qualified non-profit organizations certified by the City (“Qualified Nonprofits”) the first right to purchase multi-family rental properties and certain vacant lots in San Francisco. 
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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SF Planning Dept. – Central SoMa boundary map
SF Planning Dept. – Central SoMa boundary map

On May 10, 2018, the San Francisco Planning Commission voted unanimously to adopt the Central SoMa Plan and its Implementation Program by certifying the EIR and recommending approval of implementing legislation, with modifications. It also recommended approval of the proposed Central SoMa Housing Sustainability District (HSD), which is separately sponsored by Mayor Mark Farrell and Supervisor Jane Kim. The Central SoMa legislation will next be considered by the Board of Supervisors.


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