This Week in San Francisco Land Use – Oct. 2, 2009

Local Stimulus Plan

Yesterday, the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development yesterday sent a memorandum of its “development stimulus package” to the Board of Supervisors. If passed, the Legislation will:

Change the timing of impact and in-lieu fee collection. All impact fees would be due at issuance of the first “construction-ready building permit”, e.g. site permit addendum. If a “deferral fee” is paid, fees could be deferred until issuance of the first certificate of occupancy. It consolidates all development and impact fees into Art. 4 of the Planning Code and provides for a single appeal process to the Board of Permit Appeals.

Create an opportunity for a citywide Mello-Roos District to finance infrastructure-related development fees. This would provide low-cost financing for fees, which could ultimately be passed along to the buyers of a project. Unfortunately, state law limits the use of M-R funds to infrastructure only, i.e. affordable housing fees can’t be financed. Note, the mayor’s proposal would provide Board of Supervisors approval for the M-R district, but actual formation of the district requires $250K in funding. The City is looking for a private party to cover these costs.

Reduce affordable housing fees for some projects. Allows a 33% reduction in affordable housing fees if developers record an NSR (deed restriction) subjecting all future sales to a 1% transfer fee that would be dedicated to an affordable housing trust fund.

We will be tracking this proposal as it makes its way through the process. Please email us if you would like a copy of the full text of the OEWD memo.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs (At Least On Two Blocks of Mid-Market…)

We all know about the problems that the mid-Market Street area is facing, and the numerous attempts to restore the area so that our marquee thoroughfare is something we can be proud of. Well the latest plan to improve mid-Market is picking up steam.

Picture New York’s Broadway or London’s Piccadilly Circus along the two blocks of Market Street from 5th to 7th Street. Proposition D will be on the ballot this November, and, if passed by voters, will permit new general advertising signs, wind signs, video signs and signs with moving parts along this portion of Market Street. Twenty or forty percent of the revenues of these new signs, depending on whether the building they are located on are devoted to an arts activity, will be deposited in a local district benefit fund, to be put towards a new youth arts education program and a new arts ticket booth at Hallidie Plaza.

While attempts to ease restrictions on signs in San Francisco normally go nowhere, Prop D has picked up support from six supervisors so far. The City Democratic Party and key activists are also supporting the measure.

The San Francisco Chronicle has a longer article at “” and if you are interested in reading the text of Prop D, just email us.

Owners of Vacant Properties: Put Up or Pay Up!

A city ordinance that would place substantial requirements on owners of vacant properties was enacted by the Board of Supervisors this summer. The ordinance requires an owner of such a property to register it with the Department of Building Inspection, pay an approximate annual fee of $765, maintain the property’s exterior and interior, secure the property, and potentially pay insurance on the property. Vacant properties are only exempt from the new ordinance if (1) the owners are pursuing repairs, rehabilitation or construction under a valid building permit or (2) if it meets all current codes and is being actively marketed for sale or rent.

You can find a copy of ordinance 194-09 at “”

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 leases, purchase and sale agreements, formation of limited liability companies and other entities, lending/workout assistance, subdivision and condominium work.