LLCs and Real Estate Development:  Substantial Legal Protection for Developers?

Real estate development ventures often begin with the formation of a limited liability company (“LLC”). This entity structure has the benefit of protecting its members from personal liability “under any judgment of a court, or in any other manner, for any debt, obligation, or liability of the limited liability company, whether that liability or obligation […]

This Week In San Francisco Land Use

Final Members of Historic Preservation Commission Confirmed At long last, the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission has a full membership. Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors confirmed the Mayor’s most recent nominees, James M. Buckley and Andrew Wolfram, for the final two vacancies on the Commission. James M. Buckley has a Ph.D. in architecture from the […]

DR Reform? Planning Commission Recommends Changes

On June 18, 2009, San Francisco Planning Commission approved a resolution supporting an overhaul of the Planning Department’s Discretionary Review (“DR”) procedures. The DR process essentially allows any person to “appeal” a project to the Planning Commission while the building permit is still at the Planning Department for review (i.e. before the permit is even […]

Court of Appeal Rules In Favor Of Church In Key Historic Preservation Decision

The power of a city to regulate (and severely limit) new land use through historic preservation policies does not extend to noncommercial properties owned by religious nonprofit organizations. This is the recent holding of the California Court of Appeal in a case that shields a local church group from the effects of a local landmark […]

Commercial Landlords May Recover More Than Rent If A Tenant Goes Dark

The California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, recently upheld a liquidated damages clause in a commercial lease, which was enforced due to the tenant’s breach of a continuous use covenant. In El Centro Mall, LLC v. Payless Shoesource, Inc. (May 21, 2009, G040038), Payless, a shopping-center tenant, closed its store before the expiration of its […]

This Week In San Francisco Land Use – June 4, 2009

In this Update issue we will be reviewing the Planning Department’s latest Transit Center District Plan public presentation that focused on development fees, a new city-wide TIDF (Transit Impact Development Fee) study, intended to expand TIDF reach, as well as the Whole Foods project at Haight and Stanyan that just died because of the lengthy […]

New Single-Family Green Building Requirements Coming This Summer

A couple weeks ago, we told you that the U.S. Green Building Council had updated its LEED rating system and discussed the implications for projects. But LEED isn’t the only green building code updating this year. Build It Green’s GreenPoints Rated rating system, which is used for residential projects covered by San Francisco’s green building […]

Eastern Neighborhoods Amnesty Program: Can it Help You?

The implementation of the Eastern Neighborhoods (“EN”) Plan is kicking into high gear and this month the Planning Department mailed letters to property owners in the EN Plan area informing them of their potential eligibility for a newly-created “legitimization” program. The program provides “amnesty” for existing uses that were legal under the old zoning but […]

It’s Earth Day, and LEED Grows Up

Today is the 39th Earth Day. Happy birthday, Earth Day. It goes without saying that the world is more environmentally conscious today than that first Earth Day in 1970. Green building methods that were in their infancy then are commonplace now. We have acknowledged the urgent need for sustainable development, and this new direction has […]

Planning Commission Sends Mixed Signals On Entitlement Extensions

Last month we reported to you that the Planning Commission was reconsidering its policies related to the extension of various land use entitlements. On March 26, 2009 the Commission adopted three new resolutions that reflect refinements in its various policies on entitlement extensions. Unfortunately, the Commission’s actions do not necessarily provide developers (specifically office developers) […]