Update on Local CEQA Reform – Next Hearing on Monday
There continue to be a number of twists and turns in Supervisor Scott Wiener’s attempt to reform local implementation of CEQA to include appeal deadlines for exemptions and negative declarations – but, according to public statements made by a key member of the Land Use Committee, a compromise does seem to be within reach.
As many of you already know, Supervisor Jane Kim, who serves on the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee with Supervisor David Chiu and Supervisor Scott Wiener, introduced a competing legislative proposal a few weeks back. In short, her proposal does not include any CEQA appeal deadlines. That being said, Supervisor Kim was quoted last week by the Chronicle saying: “If we’re going to put a firm deadline to appeal on the back end, then we have to have a strong notification process on the front end,” she said. “We clearly need a deadline for negative declarations and exemptions, but making it more difficult for people to appeal the process is not the answer.”
This appears to be a major movement towards a compromise deal. We think most people in the development community would be happy to have stronger noticing requirements of CEQA decisions in exchange for a clearly-defined appeal period.
The next, main event in this process is this Monday, April 22. The Land Use Committee will once again hold a hearing on Supervisor Wiener’s proposal. Public comment really does matter – especially in this case where anti-reformers will be out in droves. The hearing will be held at City Hall, Room 263 at 1:30 p.m. CEQA reform is the first item on the agenda.
Condo Conversion Bypass Fee – Could We Finally Have Reached a Deal?
It has become a biennial ritual in San Francisco that every legislative session of the Board of Supervisors, an ordinance is proposed to allow Tenancy-In-Common (TIC) owners to bypass the annual condo conversion lottery and pay the city a fee for the right to convert to condominiums. Also part of the tradition: the ultimate failure of the legislation. But something funny happened at the Land Use Committee on Monday: After a rally was held outside of City Hall by tenants rights’ activists (typically opposed to making condo conversions easier) calling for a compromise measure, Supervisor David Chiu and Supervisor Norman Yee introduced amendments to the proposed ordinance that would do just that.
The compromise is just another example of the current Board’s practical, get-things-done approach to legislating after years gridlock and antipathy during the previous decade. Here’s the deal: the existing 2,200 of so TIC units in the city have the one-time opportunity to pay a $20,000 fee to the city to gain approval for a condo conversion. The fees would be put towards affordable housing preservation and development in the city. In exchange, the annual condo lottery would be put on hold for roughly 10 years, and when it does start back up, only TIC buildings with 1-4 units can apply. Buildings with 5 or 6 units, currently eligible for the lottery, would be completely prohibited from converting.
The Land Use Committee will be hearing the new proposal on Monday, right after the CEQA reform hearing.
The issues discussed in this update are not intended to be legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is established with the recipient. Readers should consult with legal counsel before relying on any of the information contained herein. Reuben & Junius, LLP is a full service real estate law firm. We specialize in land use, development and entitlement law. We also provide a wide range of transactional services, including leasing, acquisitions and sales, formation of limited liability companies and other entities, lending/workout assistance, subdivision and condominium work.