This Week in San Francisco Land Use Nov. 4, 2009

Be on Alert for Bogus Business Solicitations

The California Secretary of State has issued a warning regarding misleading solicitations sent to many business owners. These letters encourage business owners to comply with their California Corporations Code filing obligations by submitting fees and documents to a third party such as the “Business Filing Division” or “Corporate Compliance Center” rather than by filing directly to the Secretary of State’s office. These bogus solicitations appear similar to a Secretary of State Statement of Information form, quote specific statues and even contain an official-looking seal. They imply that failing to return the form and pay the requested fee may place the business in legal jeopardy. These companies have no affiliation with the Secretary of State, and charge much higher fees than required by the Secretary of State. Be advised that no business is required to go through another company in order to file its documents with the Secretary of State’s office.

If you have made a payment in response to one of these solicitations, you should confirm that your business is in compliance with its filing obligations. If you have any concern that a form regarding your corporation or limited liability company (LLC) may be a bogus solicitation, you should contact your corporate attorney or Jay Drake at Reuben & Junius, LLP.

Suspicious solicitations may also 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

California State Agency Issues New CEQA Regulations Regarding Greenhouse Gas Emissions…

On October 23, the California Natural Resources Agency issued new CEQA regulations on greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions that have made it through one round of public comment and revision. This rulemaking process was initiated by the passage of SB 97 in 2007, guiding how GHG emissions would be analyzed by CEQA. The most recent revisions include requiring a lead agency’s GHG emission analysis be based on “scientific and factual data” as opposed to just “available information” and requiring that any GHG mitigation must be supported with substantial evidence and be subject to monitoring. There is the potential that these new regulations may impose considerable new entitlement burdens on even small projects.

The comment period on this new round of proposed regulations runs through November 10. For a copy of the latest version of the regulations and other related information, go to

…And The First Court Opinion on CEQA Energy Analysis is Handed Down

The Third District Court of Appeal has ruled that a city can determine that a project does not have a significant impact on energy consumption when it surpasses the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards. The project at issue was a proposed grocery store in Tracy. Opponents argued that the city could not rely on the state standards for the purposes of CEQA. The Court stated that an Environmental Impact Report did not have to discuss every factor listed in CEQA Appendix F, which contains energy use and conservation measures.

The case is Tracy First v. City of Tracy (2009) 177 Cal.App.4th 912. Email John Kevlin if you’d like a copy of the decision.

Inching Towards a Constitutional Convention

From the budget crisis in February…to the budget crisis of June…to the water legislation crisis of September…there’s been a lot of talk of throwing out the whole State Constitution and starting anew in California. Now the Bay Area Council – a business-sponsored public policy organization – has taken the first of many steps towards accomplishing the rewrite.

On October 28, the Council submitted paperwork with the Secretary of State to put two initiatives on the ballot next November. The first would amend the current State Constitution to allow citizens of the state to call a constitutional convention through the initiative process with a majority vote. The second actually lays out the specifics for the convention. The convention would be limited to revising the following areas of the Constitution: government effectiveness, elections and reduction of special interest influence, spending and budgeting, and governance. Any revisions approved by the convention would have to approved by another statewide initiative vote.

240 delegates would be selected at random, more than 200 would be selected by county political officials, and 4 will be selected by the federally-recognized Indian tribes in the state.

Backers of the initiatives still need to collect enough signatures to qualify it for the November 2010 ballot.

Go to or email John Kevlin if you’d like a copy of the initiatives.

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.