This Week In San Francisco Land Use – June 10, 2010

Four Planning Commissioner Terms Expire July 1

The terms of Planning Commissioners Gwyneth Borden, William Lee, Kathrin Moore and Hisashi Sugaya will expire on July 1. Board of Supervisors President David Chiu has already re-nominated Moore and Sugaya for another 4 year term each. The Mayor has yet to submit nomination (or re-nomination) papers for the seats currently held by Borden and Lee.

The City Charter allows Planning Commissioners to continue to serve as holdovers for up to 60 days after their terms expire. The Mayor has the authority to nominate 4 Commissioners and the Board of Supervisors President 3, all subject to the approval by the full Board of Supervisors. Michael Antonini and Ron Miguel were appointed by the Mayor and Christina Olague was appointed by the previous Board of Supervisors President. All three serve terms will expire in two years.

We’ll keep you posted on the potential changes at the Planning Commission.

Planning Commission Approves Prioritization of Office Allocation for Candlestick Point – Hunters Point Shipyard Area

Last week, the Planning Commission and Redevelopment Agency held a joint hearing to consider the certification of the Environmental Impact Report and approval of the redevelopment of the Candlestick Point – Hunters Point Shipyard Area. Demonstrating the controversy surrounding the plan, the hearing lasted over 12 hours and did not adjourn until after 1 a.m. the next day.

Numerous aspects of the plan were discussed. Of note, the Commission prioritization of 800,000 square feet of office space for future office allocation approval. Proposition M, passed by voters in 1986, set a limit on the amount of office space that could be approved by the Planning Commission each year. Any office space within this “cap” that is not allocated to a specific project carries over into subsequent years. When the pool gets low, office projects are forced to compete for this limited office space allocation in a given year must go through a “beauty contest,” where the projects are compared by the Planning Commission and the project with the best design and greatest amount of public benefits is awarded the limited amount of office space allocation.

The Planning Commission’s action on the redevelopment of Candlestick Point – Hunters Point Shipyard allows for up to 5 million square feet of office space in the plan area, 800,000 square feet of which would be prioritized over proposed office projects outside of the area in any future beauty contest. Considering that the office allocation cap currently consists of upwards of 2.9 million square feet, this probably won’t have an affect on office development outside the plan area in the near future. But when the next market cycle begins, and the demand for office space allocations grows again, it could be a factor.

And, Finally, the Whole Story on the Mayor’s Fee Deferment Program in One Place

We’ve received a lot of questions in the past few weeks regarding the specifics of the fee deferment program. For all of you out there wanting to get the basics quick, here you go:

Beginning July 1, the Fee Deferral Program would make all development fees (impact fees and in-lieu fees) due prior to issuance of the first construction document – normally a building permit or site permit addendum. Demolition permits or other site preparation permits would not trigger the fee payment. This at first seems like it is going in the wrong direction, as some of the fees (TIDF, school fee) are currently due at the first certificate of occupancy, not prior to getting your building permit. The relief is that project sponsors will be able to defer 80 or 85 percent of a project’s development fees until the first certificate of occupancy is issued. If a project is located within one of the city’s area plans (such as Eastern Neighborhoods, Market and Octavia or Balboa Park) 80 percent of fees can be deferred. If located outside these areas 85 percent of fees can be deferred. The remaining 15 or 20 percent is required to be paid at the time the first building or site permit is issued. Project sponsors will have to pay a development fee deferral surcharge that accrues during the deferral period. Call or email if you would like to learn more about the surcharge…it’s complicated.

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