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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SF Planning Dept. – Central SoMa boundary map

[Originally posted on March 23, 2018, updated on April 11, 2018]

Following more than six years of planning and public outreach, the City initiated the formal approval process for the Central SoMa Plan (Plan) at the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission on February 27 and March 1, respectively. The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and Planning Commission held informational hearings on the Plan on March 21 and March 22, respectively. The HPC also considered initiation of the formal landmark designation process for certain buildings and districts identified during the Plan process. The Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the EIR and approvals on May 10, with the Board considering the legislation thereafter.


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On September 29, 2017, Governor Brown signed into law a 15-bill housing package.  A few of the key components, including approval streamlining, are summarized below.  The housing package did not include AB 915, which would have authorized the City and County of San Francisco to impose local inclusionary requirements on bonus units created under the State Density Bonus Law. San Francisco adopted legislation in August that imposes inclusionary housing requirements on bonus units in the form of a fee, and the Legislature’s failure to pass AB 915 creates uncertainty about its enforceability.

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Summary Chart of Competing Inclusionary Housing Proposals

Barring any last-minute surprises, the Board of Supervisors will finally adopt compromise inclusionary housing legislation on July 18th that would, as shown in our summary comparison chart, make many major changes to the City’s existing program.  The key provisions of the legislation affecting large projects with 25 or more residential units can be found in our prior blog post on this topic.

Recent noteworthy changes, including an important change to existing grandfathering protections for certain pipeline projects, are summarized below.


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