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) […]

Are Arbitration Provisions Defective In Construction Defect Cases?

Many developers of condominium projects prefer alternative dispute resolution (ADR) when construction defect claims arise. ADR is seen as a more efficient way to resolve these disputes. Arbitration is one method of ADR that many developers have incorporated into their condominium documents. If you are a developer, providing for binding arbitration in your sales agreements […]

Condo Sellers Gain New Leverage?  Change in Deposit Rules Could Help Larger Projects

Residential condominium developers take considerable risk when developing new condominium projects. These risks are compounded in this challenging economic environment, with increased buyer defaults. Lenders providing construction financing often require presales of units in order to release the funds needed to complete a project. Thus, defaulting buyers not only result in lost sales and increased […]

The San Francisco Planning Commission Considers – And Should Adopt – A Favorable Policy On Extension

On February 19, 2009, the Planning Commission held an informational hearing to discuss its policy on previously approved entitlements that have time-restricted performance conditions pertaining to commencement of construction. The Planning Department staff recommended a favorable policy on expired entitlements citing and recognizing the impacts the current global economic crisis has on land-use development projects. […]

Commercial Property Owners Beware: Another Tax (Yes, One More) Could be Coming

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, in an effort to help close the City’s budget gap, is considering a June special election to ask the voters to approve a new gross receipts tax. If the measure makes the ballot and receives voter approval, then most businesses that operate in San Francisco would be saddled with […]

Small Residential Buildings:  To Condo or Not to Condo

Constant tinkering with the rules poses challenges to small building owners The San Francisco condominium conversion laws have changed in recent years and can be difficult to follow. Building owners wishing to convert must navigate through myriad rules concerning owner-occupancy requirements, tenants rights, prior-eviction issues, a complex application process, and, unless eligible for bypass, the […]

More San Francisco Land Use Regulations for 2009

The quantity of new land use ordinances that came out of the Board of Supervisors in 2008 was truly mind-boggling. From the very large (the Eastern Neighborhood rezoning, that we reported on in our Dec. 9 E-Letter) to the very small (legislating the size and font type for historic movie theater marquees) there was more […]

Buyer Beware:  Is Your Purchase Agreement Enforceable?

California Court of Appeal strikes down a “free look” contract In a case that may have some scratching their heads, the California Court of Appeal refused to enforce a real estate purchase agreement because the buyer had the right to terminate the agreement at any time, without penalty. Steiner v. Thexton, 163 Cal. App. 4th […]