Hotel conversion

Hotel Conversion Ordinance and Google’s $1 Billion Housing Pledge

In 2008, the Board of Supervisors passed a law restricting conversions of large hotels (100+ keys) into condominiums.  Conversions were allowed with a Conditional Use approval if a corresponding number of new hotel rooms came online in the past year. If more units were proposed for conversion than had been constructed, a lottery would take […]


Sold out Junior Loans

Borrower’s Deficiency Protection Limited – Lenders May Pursue Claims for Sold Out Junior Loans

This month, the California Supreme Court affirmed the Fourth District’s decision in Black Sky Capital, LLC v. Cobb (2017) 12 Cal.App.5th 887 (“Black Sky”), ruling that a creditor who holds two deed of trust on the same property may recover a deficiency judgment on a junior lien extinguished by a nonjudicial foreclosure sale on the […]


Geotech review

Geotech Peer Review: Start Early or Face Delays

At the outset of any new construction, addition, alteration or retrofit of an existing structure, the design team should identify whether the project is in soft soil and/or liquefaction zones, as defined by the California Seismic Hazard Zone Map; or in another zone requiring additional review such as the Slope Protection Zone or Maher Zone. […]


Draft Downtown Oakland Specific Plan to be Released This Summer

Later this summer, Oakland will be releasing its draft Downtown Oakland Specific Plan (the “Plan”).  A preliminary draft plan was released earlier this year (which can be accessed here).  The preliminary draft is the initial version of the draft Plan.  The Plan presents Oakland’s transformative ideas and recommendations for the future development of the downtown […]


The Land Use Week in Review: Starts and Stops and Starts

SB 50 Advances Out of Committee Two weeks ago, we wrote about State Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 50, a new version of last year’s SB 827 that aims to boost housing density near public transit.  It’s one of the more ambitious initiatives to address California’s housing crisis – and one of the most controversial.  This […]


Third District Court of Appeal Finds that Lay Opinion on Aesthetics Can Support A CEQA “Fair Argument”

On December 17, 2018, California’s Third District Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment setting aside El Dorado County’s approval of a proposed Dollar General store in Georgetown with a mitigated negative declaration.  The Court held that while aesthetics are subjective, “lay opinions can provide substantial evidence to support a fair argument that a project may […]


SF Planning Commission Considers Proposed Statewide Housing Bill

Last Thursday, the City’s Planning Commission held a lengthy informational hearing on SB 50 – proposed statewide legislation intended to spur housing development in transit and job-rich areas. SB 50 was introduced by Senator Weiner on December 3, 2018.  It is essentially a revised version of last year’s failed SB 827, reformulated to expand its […]


New State Condo Law Protects HOAs from Financial Fraud and Embezzlement

Responding to reported cases of fraud and embezzlement against homeowners associations (“HOAs”), the California Legislature enacted Assembly Bill 2912 (“AB 2912”), which became effective on January 1, 2019.  AB 2912 amends the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act by adding safeguards to protect HOAs for common interest developments by increasing HOA board of directors (“Board”) oversight […]


Employee Cafeterias and New Construction ADUs – A Legislative Update

Tomorrow, the San Francisco Planning Commission will consider two interesting legislative proposals on hot-button land use topics in the city. One would restrict—but not prohibit—new employee cafeterias in office developments, modifying a proposal from last year to ban them outright. The other would authorize accessory dwelling units in new construction. Conditional Use for New Employee […]


SB 330 Takes Aim at the Housing Crisis

Last week, Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) introduced SB 330—the Housing Crisis Act of 2019. Unlike other housing-related bills introduced this legislative session, this bill would declare a statewide housing emergency. Through January 2030, the proposed legislation’s multipronged approach would streamline project approvals, freeze zoning controls once an application is deemed complete, restrict the assessment of […]