The state has granted an 18-month extension to certain housing development entitlements that were otherwise due to expire before the end of 2021. AB 1561 (Garcia) was enacted last year to support continued housing production in light of the ongoing economic and administrative challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its provisions apply to approvals, permits, and entitlements for housing development projects issued by a state or local agency that were in effect on or before March 4, 2020 and that would otherwise expire before December 31, 2021. Under AB 1561, these housing entitlements are extended for 18 months from their original expiration date.
Continue Reading AB 1561 Extends Housing Entitlements by 18 Months

Last year brought the legal profession many things that we never expected, like trials conducted by Zoom and virtual happy hours, just to name a few. But it also brought a handful of new CEQA and land use decisions that, like many of the events of 2020, reminded legal practitioners to focus on the fundamentals. In litigation, that includes document preservation, evidence, and remedies. These details, though often overlooked in writ proceedings, can make or break your case.
Continue Reading What 2020 Land Use Cases Taught (Or Reminded) Us About Litigation Basics

On May 29, 2020, the Judicial Council of California amended Rule No. 9 of its COVID-19 emergency regulations to add certainty and to shorten the tolling period for civil causes of action subject to statutes of limitation of 180 days or less, such as CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) lawsuits.

The new Rule is good news for developers of approved and soon-to-be approved projects. The tolling period now ends on a set and relatively near-term date, providing renewed certainty.

Previously, Rule No. 9 tolled all statutes of limitation from April 6, 2020 to the date 90 days after the Governor declares that the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted.
Continue Reading Land Use Litigation Statute of Limitations Tolling Period to End on August 3, 2020

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

UPDATED ON APRIL 22, 2020

On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued a “Safer at Home” Order, which generally permits construction, including housing, to continue statewide. On March 31, 2020, six Bay Area counties – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara – as well as the City of Berkeley, coordinated on and each issued updated local shelter-in-place orders extending and further restricting non-essential activities through May 3, 2020. Among other things, the local orders notably limit the types of construction permitted beyond the State’s Order and require those permissible construction activities to create and implement a “Social Distancing Protocol.”
Continue Reading Bay Area Further Restricts Construction in Response to COVID-19

In 2017, the Metropolitan Transportation Committee (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) mobilized a task force of affordable housing advocates, private developers, local government officials, and other Bay Area leaders and experts to form CASA, or the Committee to House the Bay Area. CASA set out to identify a comprehensive policy response to the region’s housing crisis.
Continue Reading The CASA Compact’s Response to the Bay Area Housing Crisis

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

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.


Continue Reading San Francisco Finally Poised to Adopt Central SoMa Plan