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.
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View an illustrated guide to the COPA timelines

Owners of multifamily residential properties in San Francisco will soon have to extend purchase offers to certain nonprofit organizations, before making or soliciting offers to sell those properties to anyone else—and will have to give those nonprofits the right to match any offer received from a potential buyer—under new legislation that is poised to become effective in June 2019.

In the meantime, potential buyers and sellers of multifamily properties should familiarize themselves with COPA’s key provisions, which we covered here, and the applicable timelines, which we’ve illustrated in the downloadable graphic here.


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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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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 50
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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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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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[Originally posted on March 19, 2018, updated on April 11, 2018]

Building on the state’s major housing legislation from 2017, Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 827 proposes major increases in height and density for qualifying housing developments. A project would generally qualify if it is within either a 1/2 mile radius of a major transit stop or a 1/4 mile radius of a stop on a high-quality bus corridor, as defined in the bill. The legislation was introduced in January and was amended on March 1 and April 9, principally to address tenant relocation and inclusionary housing concerns and to extend the operative date of the bill to January 1, 2021 (with a potential one-time one-year extension) to address timing concerns raised by San Francisco and other local jurisdictions. For qualifying sites, permitted heights would be at least 45 to 55 feet (originally, 45 to 85 feet), regardless of local height limits, unless the height increase would result in a specific, adverse impact, as defined in the bill. Major areas of the state, including large portions of several of its largest cities, would be affected.


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Assemblyman David Chiu has unveiled his long-promised legislation to establish a modified version of the state’s former redevelopment program, aimed at creating major state funding for affordable housing, transit, and other infrastructure. Chiu introduced AB 3037 as placeholder legislation on February 16 and amended it on March 19. Committee hearings began on April 11.

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San Francisco wasted no time implementing AB 1505, which authorizes localities to adopt ordinances requiring developers to provide on-site inclusionary affordable housing units in rental projects, provided that there is an alternative means of compliance such as in-lieu fees or off-site inclusionary rental units.  As explained in our prior post on 2017’s 15-bill housing package, AB 1505 supersedes case law that deemed on-site inclusionary rental unit requirements an impermissible form of rent control under the state Costa-Hawkins Act.

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