In 2020, California legislators considered but ultimately did not approve bills that would have substantially restricted the continued use of single-family zoning across the state. These efforts included SB 50 (Wiener), which would have required increased residential density near qualifying transit, and SB 1120 (Atkins), which would have allowed duplexes on most residential lots across the state, including single-family zoning districts. Both bills, along with many other 2020 housing bills, died in chambers in the final moments of the legislative session. Read our previous coverage here.

This year, legislators are back at work on similar legislation – SB 10 (Wiener), which would allow cities to up-zone qualifying parcels located in transit- or jobs-rich areas, and SB 9 (Atkins), a reprise of the SB 1120 duplex-zoning efforts. Both bills are already attracting attention from advocates and opponents of prior legislation.
Continue Reading Cities Tackle the Future of Single-Family Zoning, As State Takes Up the Issue Again

In late October, we reported on a number of California, San Francisco, and regional propositions, including measures impacting real estate and other taxes, rent control, affordable housing, permits, and governance. At the state level, results were mixed and in some cases still too close to call, with voters clearly rejecting expansion of local residential rent control (Proposition 21), appearing likely to reject proposed changes to commercial property tax assessment (Proposition 15), but appearing likely to approve revisions to residential property tax reassessment. Greater certainty is expected in the coming days and weeks, and no later than December 4th, when county elections officials must report final results to the California Secretary of State. In San Francisco, voters approved all of the measures that we reported on, including major new and increased business taxes.
Continue Reading Election Results: Key San Francisco and California Ballot Measures Impacting Real Estate

San Francisco voters will again confront a formidable ballot on November 3, 2020, with 13 San Francisco propositions to consider in addition to state and federal offices and measures. The local propositions address an array of topics, including governance, affordable housing, taxes, and permits. Some of the key measures impacting San Francisco businesses are summarized below. Except where indicated, the measures require a simple majority vote to pass.
Continue Reading Another Daunting San Francisco Ballot

While the focus in November is on the top of the ticket, Californians also face a long list of ballot measures. Here we focus on three major measures that impact California real estate: Propositions 15, 19 and 21.
Continue Reading California State Ballot Includes Major Property Tax, Rent Control Measures

[Originally posted on September 9, 2020, updated on October 15, 2020]

Like so much of this unprecedented year, the 2019-2020 California Legislative Session ended with unexpected twists and pointed disappointments as the Assembly and Senate wrestled with the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing protocol, and friction between Assembly and Senate leadership in the final hours of the session, ultimately resulting in a number of highly anticipated housing bills failing to pass. High profile bills that died include SB 995 (extending the former AB 900 expedited CEQA review process for environmental leadership development projects through 2024); SB 1120 (providing ministerial approval and subdivision processes for residential duplexes on single-family zoned lots); and SB 1085 (expanding the Density Bonus Law to include qualifying moderate-income rental projects and student housing projects, among other changes).
Continue Reading 2020 Housing Legislation Overview: Started with a Bang, Ended with a Whimper

On April 29, 2020, six Bay Area counties – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara – as well as the City of Berkeley, each issued substantially similar updates to their extended local shelter-in-place orders, with welcome implications for construction projects. The new local orders will go into effect on May 4, 2020 and extend through May 31, 2020.
Continue Reading Bay Area Construction Resumes Under New Orders

SB 50, Senator Scott Wiener’s bill to boost housing production near transit and job centers, has been defeated. The bill fell three votes short on Wednesday, and Wiener was unsuccessful in his reconsideration request today.

The bill was stalled in the Senate last May when the Chair of the Appropriations Committee deferred action on

On March 3, San Francisco voters will consider Proposition E (“San Francisco Balanced Development Act”)[1], which links the City’s “Proposition M” office allocation scheme, originally approved by voters in 1986, to affordable housing production. Proposition M currently limits the amount of office space that the City may approve annually, with 875,000 square feet added to the allocation for large office projects (50,000 square feet or more) each year in October.
Continue Reading SF’s Proposition E Links Office Allocation to Housing Production

The Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee announced that Senator Wiener’s SB 50 is now a two-year bill, which means that it will not be eligible for vote until January.   We will continue to track the status of SB 50 and any future amendments or successor legislation that may be introduced.

On April 24, Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 50 passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee with bipartisan support, incorporating amendments that limit the bill’s scope. It is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 13. As previously reported, SB 50 mandates a combination of “equitable communities incentives” and a streamlined, ministerial approval process designed to promote housing production for qualifying projects on eligible sites. The amendments are part of a compromise agreement with Senator Mike McGuire and incorporate provisions from his previously competing measure, SB 4.
Continue Reading Senator Wiener’s SB 50 Moves Forward with Compromise Amendments