This Week in San Francisco Land Use January 13, 2010

New Hearing Date: Stimulus Package Hearing at Planning Commission Moved to January 21

The Planning Commission has rescheduled its hearing on the Mayor’s stimulus package from this Thursday to next Thursday, January 21. Again, we urge everyone who is able to attend to do so and voice their support at this hearing. The hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. in Room 401 of City Hall.

Avalos Eviction Protection Ordinance is Passed by Board of Supervisors

The eviction protection ordinance that Supervisor John Avalos introduced last year passed the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The ordinance now goes to the Mayor’s desk, who has publicly stated his opposition to the measure. The Board of Supervisors would need 8 votes to override a Mayoral veto.

The Avalos ordinance, as we reported to you last month, would expand foreclosure protections, currently only applicable to rental properties constructed before 1979, to all rental properties. Avalos first justified the measure by saying it would protect tenants who lived in post-79 buildings that were foreclosed on by banks and lenders, which now have the ability to evict tenants for any reason. However, as interested parties researched the ordinance in greater depth, it was clear that the measure was not narrowly applicable, and that it would put enormous new burdens on all owners of post-79 rental properties.

The Mayor has stated his intent to introduce a new, narrowly-focused ordinance that would protect tenants in post-79 rental properties that have been foreclosed on by a bank or lender. We’ll continue to keep you posted on future developments.

Concern Grows That Proposed Air Quality Guidelines Could Slow Infill Development

First came AB 32, which requires California’s greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020. Then came SB 375, which seeks to reach AB 32’s goal by curbing sprawl and incentivizing urban, transit-oriented, infill development. Now the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s new CEQA guidelines for analyzing very small particulate matter (PM) from new projects located near highways could thwart these efforts.

BAAQMD, tasked with developing CEQA air quality review guidelines for Bay Area jurisdictions, has proposed that PM emissions from a new source (i.e. development) be considered significant for the purposes of CEQA if PM 2.5 levels (particulate levels for the smallest particles) increase even slightly. Unlike PM 10 particles (large particulates like most diesel exhaust) that have been heavily regulated for years, PM 2.5 particles (smaller particulates like sulfates and nitrates formed from power plants, motor vehicles, and other sources) are now subject to stepped up regulatory standards. But PM 2.5 particles are much more prevalent and therefore will be harder to control. These new PM 2.5 levels, if adopted, will impose very costly additional studies and mitigation measures on even the most environmentally-friendly, transit-oriented projects.

Due to growing concern from developers, and now local jurisdictions, BAAQMD has continued a public hearing where it intended to adopt the proposals to April 7. During this time, BAAQMD will continue its public outreach on the proposal.

We believe these standards are bad for cities, bad for development, and bad for the environment. Ironically, the proposed guidelines would actually work against SB 375’s efforts to incentivize urban infill development.

The draft CEQA guidelines can be found at “”. We’ll keep you posted on further developments.

New Secretary of State Alert for Bogus Business Solicitations

The California Secretary of State issued another warning regarding misleading solicitations sent to California corporations and LLCs. The bogus letters encourage business owners to submit $495 to a private company named Business Filings Division in order to dissolve their business entity. Although these solicitations may appear legitimate and contain an official-looking seal, they are not being made by or on behalf of any government entity. Be advised that there are no filing fees for submitting dissolution documents to the Secretary of State. The bogus forms do not meet state law requirements for dissolution of a business entity, and will not effectively dissolve a corporation or LLC.

Suspicious solicitations may be reported to the California Attorney General’s office, Public Inquiry Unit, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, California 94244-2550. A complaint form, which can be completed online and printed to mail, is available on the California Attorney General’s website at “”

If you have any concern that a form regarding your corporation or LLC may be a bogus solicitation, you should contact your corporate attorney or Jay Drake at Reuben & Junius, LLP.

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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