This Week In San Francisco Land Use – August 13, 2010

Real Estate Tax Appeal Deadline is September 15, 2010

Owners whose property values have declined as of January 1, 2010 are eligible to file a “decline in value” appeal with the San Francisco Assessment Appeals Board for the 2010-2011 tax year. If successful, the property tax bill would be retroactively reduced, and the taxpayer would receive a refund of any excess taxes that were paid. These appeals must be submitted or postmarked by September 15, 2010 and include the necessary filing fee. Please note that filing an appeal will not excuse the obligation to pay real estate taxes when due. If you would like more information about this process, or if you would like Reuben & Junius to file your appeal, please contact Kevin Rose.

Proposed Ordinance Would Exempt Student Housing from City Affordable Housing Program

Earlier this week, Supervisor Dufty introduced a new ordinance that would exempt new student housing projects from the City’s affordable housing program. Currently, virtually all new housing projects with five or more units are subject to an affordable housing fee, with the option of providing on-site or off-site affordable units in certain situations. This would appear counter-intuitive when applied to student housing, since housing provided by colleges and universities to students is normally considered “affordable housing,” when compared to market-rate rents. The justification for placing an affordable housing exaction on student housing is much weaker than for market-rate housing.

The ordinance makes a relatively simple amendment to the affordable housing program. If passed, it would exempt from the program new housing provided by an accredited post-secondary institution, where at least 30% of students living at the housing project receive need-based financial aid. We’ll keep you posted on this as it makes its way through the legislative process.

Fee Deferral Program May Be Expanded to Apply to Earlier-Approved Projects

Last week, the Mayor introduced an ordinance that would make minor tweaks to the fee deferral ordinance. Importantly, one change would affirm that projects approved before the effective date of the fee deferral program, July 1 of this year, are eligible to take advantage of the program, even if the conditions of approval for the project required payment of all development fees prior to the issuance of a building or site permit. All projects, whether approved before or after July 1, need stimulative help right now, and this change ensures a broad pool of projects will be eligible for the fee deferral program.

In addition, the ordinance would expressly exclude from the program those projects that have already pulled a building or site permit, which ultimately expired, and obtained a refund of fees.

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.

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