• San Francisco Housing Fee Reform Plan Passes at Board of Supervisors

    On July 25, the Board of Supervisors passed on first reading the “Housing Fee Reform Plan” legislation (see previous posts here and here). The Board is expected to hold a second reading and finally pass the legislation in September after returning from summer recess.

    The legislation consists of two ordinances. To help jumpstart housing production in the City, the inclusionary housing ordinance reduces inclusionary housing percentages and fees for certain new and pipeline projects of 25 or more units, and provides a temporary 33% reduction in the amount of other development impact fees for new and pipeline projects that can meet certain timing deadlines. The impact fee reform legislation establishes a 2% fee escalation rate, locks in the types and rates of impact fees at project approval, and reactivates an expired fee deferral program.

    As discussed at the Board, market factors such as construction costs and interest rates will largely determine whether the legislation can unlock new housing. Developers of both housing and commercial projects should take note of the impact fee reform legislation, which makes major changes to San Francisco’s fee regime, but has received less attention than the inclusionary housing ordinance.

    The Planning Commission had recommended eliminating development impact fees for changes of use, and applying the inclusionary housing percentage reductions to smaller, 10-24 unit projects. These changes were not adopted by the Board, but the Land Use and Transportation Committee created a copy of the inclusionary housing ordinance by duplicating the file, allowing for further discussions and potential amendments to that ordinance in the fall.


    Categories: Blogs
  • San Francisco Inclusionary Housing and Development Impact Fee Reform Legislation Nears Passage at Board of Supervisors

    The “Housing Fee Reform Plan” legislation, which we reported on previously, is heading back to the Board of Supervisors next week. On Monday, July 24, the Board’s Land Use and Transportation Committee will consider the two ordinances, which cover inclusionary housing changes and impact fee reform. Committee Chair Melgar has deemed the ordinances urgent and has requested that they go to the full Board as committee reports the following day, Tuesday, July 25.

    Most attention has been paid to the inclusionary housing legislation, which reduces inclusionary percentages for pipeline and new residential projects with 25 or more units, to 12% on-site for pipeline projects, and 15% on-site for new projects approved between November 2023 and November 2026. On July 13, the Planning Commission recommended approval with modifications to apply the inclusionary reductions to smaller projects, along with other timing and technical changes. These changes can be considered by the Board next week.

    After the original introduction of the impact fee reform legislation, Mayor Breed introduced a substituted version that revised the impact fee waiver provisions for downtown projects containing certain non-residential uses. In the prior version of the ordinance, these projects were eligible for impact fee waivers for a three-year period if they were in the C-2 District, were between 20,000 and 200,000 square feet, were on vacant or underdeveloped sites, contained no residential uses, and contained all of the following uses:  hotel, restaurant, bar, outdoor activity, and entertainment. In the substituted version, projects in the C-2 and C-3 Districts are eligible, the project size and vacant/underdeveloped site requirements have been eliminated, and a project need only contain one of the non-residential uses mentioned above. In addition, the substituted version eliminates the requirement to have no residential uses in the fee waiver-eligible project.

    Whether this change will help spur broader investment in downtown projects is unclear, as the impact fee waiver only applies to the area of a specific non-residential use. For example, an office project with a ground floor restaurant would only receive a waiver for the restaurant, and not the office, square footage. The Planning Commission has also recommended approval of the impact fee reform ordinance, with a proposed modification to eliminate all development impact fees for changes of use throughout the Planning Code. If implemented by the Board, this would be a significant change and could remove one barrier to certain conversion projects.

    We will provide a further update after the Board’s expected actions next week.

    Categories: Blogs
  • 2023 Chambers High Net Worth Guide Recognizes Coblentz Family Wealth Practice and Three Family Wealth Partners

    Coblentz’s Family Wealth practice and three family wealth partners have been recognized in the 2023 edition of the Chambers High Net Worth Guide. Family Wealth practice chair Jaime Mannon and partners Jim Mitchell and Phil Feldman are once again ranked as Leading Lawyers in the Private Wealth Law category for Northern California. The Chambers High Net Worth Guide ranks the world’s top service providers to ultra-high net worth and high net worth individuals and families and family offices.

    Jaime Mannon is again ranked as a Leading Lawyer in Band 2. Jaime offers affluent individuals and families assistance with estate and gift tax planning and cross-border tax planning. A source notes, “She is excellent – outstanding.”

    Jim Mitchell is again ranked as a Leading Lawyer in Band 2. Jim advises high net worth clients on tax planning and trust and estate administration. One source notes Jim “is extremely responsive and reliable,” while another says, “He is outstanding.”

    Phil Feldman is again ranked as a Leading Lawyer in Band 2. Phil assists wealthy individuals and families with income, philanthropic, and gift and estate tax planning. A source says, “Philip is wonderful and I have the highest regard for him.”

    The Coblentz Family Wealth practice is also listed by Chambers HNW in Band 2 for Private Wealth Law, Northern California. Independent and objective, Chambers USA and Chambers HNW are carefully researched and widely considered to be the most reputable law firm directories in the world. Ranking criteria include technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, business understanding, diligence, commitment, and other qualities most valued by legal clients.

    Additional Coblentz Chambers USA Rankings

    Six additional Coblentz partners and three practices are recognized in the Chambers USA 2023 Guide, also published by Chambers & Partners. Real Estate and Land Use partners Harry O’Brien, Alan Gennis, and Tay Via; Litigation partners Timothy Crudo and Rees Morgan; and Employment partner Fred Alvarez are ranked as Leading Lawyers in their respective categories. Coblentz’s Land Use, Real Estate, and White Collar Defense and Investigations practices are also listed.

    Categories: News
  • Attorney General Seeks Information from California Employers on Compliance with California Consumer Privacy Act

    By Scott HallMari CliffordSabrina LarsonAmber Leong, and Bina Patel

    Now that July 1, 2023 has passed, and the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) is in effect, California Attorney General Rob Bonta has indicated his intent to ensure compliance with the new statute by sending out letters to certain California companies—particularly those with numerous California employees—to ascertain compliance with the CPRA’s requirements for employees and job applicants. Enforcement of these provisions may move forward even though enforcement of certain CPRA regulations has been postponed until early next year as detailed in our previous client alert.

    Please contact Scott Hall at shall@coblentzlaw.com or Coblentz Data Privacy & Cybersecurity attorneys if you receive a letter regarding your privacy compliance practices and would like assistance in responding.

  • Enforcement of CPRA Regulations Postponed, But Statute Still in Effect and Enforceable

    By Scott HallMari Clifford, Sabrina Larson, Amber Leong, and Bina Patel

    You are likely aware of headlines spreading the news of a recent Superior Court of California decision that has delayed the enforcement of the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) regulations until March 29, 2024. However, while the enforcement of the regulations has been delayed until March of next year, the CPRA itself remains in effect (since January 1, 2023) and is enforceable. 

    On June 30, 2023—the eve of the July 1, 2023 enforcement date of the CPRA regulations—a California state court judge granted an injunction delaying enforcement of the CPRA regulations until March 29, 2024. The court found that the regulations could not be enforced on July 1, 2023 because this did not give the adequate one-year notice from March 29, 2023, when the regulations were published. See Cal. Chamber of Comm. V. Cal. Privacy Protection Agency, 34-2023-80004106-CU-WM-GDS (Cal. Sup. Ct. June 30, 2023). Specifically, the court found that the voters who enacted the CPRA by ballot initiative intended businesses to have a 12-month grace period between the adoption of final regulations and their enforcement. Id. Accordingly, the court held that enforcement of any final regulation under the CPRA must be stayed for a period of 12 months from the date that individual regulation becomes final. For the first set of CPRA regulations that became final on March 29, 2023, that means enforcement must wait until March 29, 2024.

    Takeaway: While this may seem like a nine-month reprieve, this should not be the time for companies to halt or delay CPRA compliance efforts. The CPRA itself is still in effect and enforceable even if the regulations are not. If businesses have not already done so, they should use this opportunity to finalize compliance under the CPRA and its current regulations. Additionally, this decision indicates that businesses will have a year to put into place compliance processes for any new regulations promulgated in connection with the CPRA going forward (e.g., for automated decisionmaking, data impact assessments, and other regulations still forthcoming), which is good news for businesses and compliance officers. 

    The landscape of data privacy laws is constantly changingwith new states enacting new data privacy laws each week. By staying on top of CPRA compliance needs now, businesses will be in a better position to pivot quickly to adjust to new applicable state laws and new regulations yet to be issued under the CPRA.  

    If you have any questions about CPRA compliance or other privacy issues, please contact Scott Hall at shall@coblentzlaw.com or Coblentz Data Privacy & Cybersecurity attorneys.

  • What We’re Reading, Watching, and Listening to: July 10, 2023

    A roundup of news and multimedia from the Unfamiliar Terrain team:

    San Francisco

    California and Beyond

    Categories: Blogs
  • Legislation Introduced to Reduce San Francisco Inclusionary Housing Requirements and Reform Development Impact Fees

    In furtherance of Mayor London Breed’s “Housing For All” Executive Order issued in February (see earlier post here) and San Francisco’s daunting directive to produce 82,000 new housing units over the next 8 years (see earlier posts here and here), at the June 27, 2023, Board of Supervisors hearing, Mayor Breed and Board President Peskin introduced two pieces of legislation, together referred to as the “Housing Fee Reform Plan.” To reduce financial roadblocks to “pipeline,” or already approved but unbuilt residential projects, and to incentivize new projects, the legislation would temporarily reduce inclusionary housing requirements and would reduce and reform other City development impact fees, including through reactivation of a dormant impact fee deferral program. The proposed Housing Fee Reform Plan comes on the heels of the City’s other efforts to incentivize Downtown commercial to residential adaptive reuse projects. (See earlier posts here and here.)

    Key provisions of the legislation, which is expected to be considered at the Planning Commission on July 13 and at the Land Use and Transportation Committee shortly thereafter, are as follows:

    Inclusionary Housing Legislation (legislation here)

    For pipeline residential and live/work projects (both rental and ownership) consisting of 25 units or more that have been finally approved, but have not obtained a building permit or paid development impact fees prior to November 1, 2023:

    1. 12% on-site inclusionary requirement (8% low-income, 2% moderate-income, 2% middle-income).
    2. 16.4% in-lieu fee or off-site inclusionary requirement (9.4% low-income, 4% moderate-income, 3% middle-income).
    3. Separate provisions would apply to projects located in areas with specific affordable housing requirements, providing a proportional reduction to those requirements.

    For new residential and live/work projects (both rental and ownership) consisting of 25 units or more that are finally approved between November 1, 2023 and November 1, 2026:

    1. 15% on-site inclusionary requirement (10% low-income, 2.5% moderate-income, 2.5% middle-income).
    2. 20.5% in-lieu fee or off-site inclusionary requirement.
    3. Separate provisions would apply to projects located in areas with specific affordable housing requirements, providing a proportional reduction to those requirements.
    4. Newly approved projects must obtain a First Construction Document within 30 months of Final Approval.

    For both pipeline and new projects that meet the specified timeframes, a temporary fee reduction program would provide a 33% impact fee reduction for most fees (not including inclusionary housing fees) assessed on or before November 1, 2026.

    Impact Fee Reform Legislation (legislation here)

    The Housing Fee Reform Plan also includes various reform measures intended to provide more certainty regarding fees, as follows:

    1. Establishes a 2% annual escalation rate for development impact fees, not including inclusionary fees.
    2. Locks in the types and rates of applicable development impact fees, generally protecting against new fees and increases to existing fees between Planning Commission project approval and issuance of building permits.
    3. Reactivates the expired fee deferral program, to allow project sponsors to defer 80–85% of development impact fee payments (not including inclusionary housing fees) from building permit issuance to no later than the first certificate of occupancy (typically a TCO).

    We will continue to monitor these pieces of legislation and the City’s other housing production plans and Downtown revitalization efforts.

    Categories: Blogs