This Week in San Francisco Land Use January 7, 2010

Stimulus Package Hearing at Planning Commission on January 14

As we’ve reported to you last year, the Mayor’s office has introduced a stimulus package to spur new activity in the development community. The Planning Commission will be the first city body to review the plan. We urge everyone to attend and voice their support at the Commission’s January 14th hearing. The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. in Room 400 of City Hall.

To recap, the stimulus package includes two major reforms. The first would simplify city development fees by creating a new unit at the Department of Building Inspection that would serve as the one-stop shop for information on fees and collection of fees. In addition, all development fees would be due prior to issuance of the first building or site permit. However, project sponsors could delay payment of all development fees until issuance of the first certificate of occupancy. The only extra charge for this fee deferral would be an annual fee equal to the city’s cost of funds.

The other major piece of the stimulus package would allow project sponsors to indefinitely delay payment of 33% of their inclusionary housing requirements or Jobs-Housing Linkage fee requirements. In exchange, the project sponsor would have to record a Notice of Special Restrictions on the property’s title that would charge a transfer tax equal to 1% of the value of the property upon each successive sale.

Please email us if you have any questions, or view our more detailed earlier Update at “”

Mayor’s Task Force: Cut Commercial Building Energy Use 50% by 2030

In addition to the news last month that the Transamerica Pyramid has achieved LEED Gold certification, the Mayor’s Task Force on Existing Commercial Buildings released a report with recommendations on how to reduce San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions through the greening of existing commercial buildings.

The operation, construction and demolition of buildings accounts for almost half of San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions and commercial buildings account for 63% of building-sector emissions. The task force has recommended the city set a goal of reducing existing commercial building energy use 50% by 2030. The task force recommends policy steps that can be taken to reach this goal, including requiring buildings to conduct an energy audit every 5 years, producing a “green tenant toolkit” to educate commercial tenants on how to reduce energy usage, requiring sub-metering for each individual commercial tenant, and implementing a public education campaign to teach building owners and commercial tenants how to reduce energy usage.

The task force has merely made recommendations to the Mayor. Legislation would need to be introduced to implement these measures. We will keep you posted on further developments.

You can find the full report and an executive summary at “”

State Agency Adopts Final CEQA Guidelines Regarding Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On December 30, 2009, the California Natural Resources Agency adopted final CEQA guidelines regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The rulemaking process took under a year, commencing last April.

Senate bill 97 requires lead agencies to evaluate, during its CEQA review of projects, the impact that a project’s greenhouse gas emissions will have on the environment. These new regulations provide guidance on how a lead agency is to determine the significance of impacts from a project’s greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the regulations authorize program-level documents, such as a general plan, to include a greenhouse gas emissions analysis that future, project-level documents can tier off of. Lead agencies can also develop a new type of plan, a plan for the reduction of greenhouse gas, that can also be tiered from.

The final regulations are posted 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.

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