On July 6, 2023, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass signed into law a provision to exempt certain affordable housing projects from the city’s Site Plan Review Process. The exemption was made as an amendment to Site Plan Review Ordinance, codifying part of Mayor Bass’ Executive Directive 1, which intends to address the city’s homelessness crisis by accelerating the pace and lowering the cost of building affordable housing.Continue Reading Los Angeles Mayor Signs New Legislation Exempting Affordable Housing Projects from Site Plan Review
On July 10, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a package of bills intended to accelerate critical infrastructure projects across the State aimed at achieving monumental climate and clean energy goals while also creating up to 400,000 jobs. With the goal of “building more, faster,” this infrastructure streamlining package will take effect immediately, and includes portions of Newsom’s previously proposed infrastructure package reforming the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).Continue Reading Build More, Faster? Newsom Signs Infrastructure and Budget Legislation
Recent amendments to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which Congress included in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (FRA), aim to streamline federal environmental review by imposing time limits, clarifying the scope of review and agencies’ roles, and narrowing some key definitions. Most of the amendments simply codify regulatory definitions or agency practices already in effect, so the practical impact of the changes is likely to be limited. Nonetheless, the amendment of NEPA is noteworthy in its own right and could signal a new willingness in Congress to address a process often seen as cumbersome and prone to delay.Continue Reading NEPA Amendments Aim To Streamline Environmental Review But Largely Codify the Status Quo
In the City of Los Angeles, the “Homelessness and Housing Solutions Tax” (Measure ULA), commonly referred to as the “mansion tax,” went into effect on all qualifying real property transfers on April 1, 2023. Prior to Measure ULA, all real estate transfers in the City were subject to a City transfer tax of 0.45% and a County of Los Angeles transfer tax of 0.11%. Under Measure ULA, residential and commercial real property sales and transfers valued at or over $5 million, but less than $10 million, are subject to an additional tax of 4%. Sales and transfers valued at or over $10 million are subject to an additional tax of 5.5%. The Los Angeles Times noted that, based on the Multiple Listing Service, in March 2023 there were 126 homes and condominiums listed over $5 million in the City and in April, there were only two. Understandably so, in anticipation of Measure ULA, owners and developers rushed to try to close escrow prior to the April 1st effective date.Continue Reading Measure ULA May Not Measure Up
On May 19, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a legislative package of 10 bills reforming the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) intended to speed up construction of clean energy projects by streamlining regulations for solar, wind, and battery storage projects, transit and regional rail infrastructure projects, water storage projects, and the Delta Tunnel plan. The proposed measures were designed as mechanisms to accelerate such projects to completion in order to maximize California’s share of federal infrastructure dollars available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and expedite the implementation of projects that meet the state’s ambitious economic, climate, and social goals.Continue Reading CEQA Reforms for Clean Energy Projects: Still Possible Despite Senate Budget Committee Rejection?
More than 3 years ago, the State legislature adopted the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, commonly referred to as Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1482, which – among other things – generally prohibits landlords from terminating residential tenancies in the absence of “just cause.” While AB 1482 created strong tenant protections, those protections were not applicable in the City of San Diego due to the City’s own “just cause” eviction ordinance. The City ordinance, which was adopted in 2004, was considerably weaker than AB 1482, but nevertheless took precedent over the State statute. All this is about to change, however. The City is presently poised to adopt the “Residential Tenant Protections Ordinance to Prevent Displacement and Homelessness” (“SD Tenant Protection Ordinance”).
As cities across California grapple with an ongoing housing crisis and stubbornly high office vacancy rates, policymakers at the state and local levels are beginning to explore ways to encourage projects that convert vacant office space into housing. Downtown San Francisco has experienced particularly high office vacancy rates as it recovers from the pandemic, and it is unsurprising that two of the City’s political leaders—Assemblymember Matt Haney and Mayor London Breed—recently took steps to facilitate office-to-residential conversions.Continue Reading Momentum for Streamlining and Subsidizing Office-to-Residential Conversion Projects Builds in Sacramento and San Francisco
On February 23, 2023, the Committee on Housing and Buildings at the New York City Council held a hearing on four local laws and three resolutions, all of which, if passed, would have vast impacts on residential housing development in New York City. While all of these pieces of legislation are important, this blog post focuses predominantly on Intro 196, otherwise known as the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (“COPA”).Continue Reading The New York City Council Sets its Sights on Non-Profit Housing Ownership
Last week, a trio of bills related to last-mile warehouses were introduced by Council Member Alexa Avilés, and co-sponsored by Council Members Jennifer Gutiérrez (District 34, Williamsburg), Sandy Nurse (District 37, Bushwick), Selvena Brooks-Powers (District 31, Far Rockaway), Julie Won (District 26, Astoria) Shahana Hanif (District 39, Gowanus/Park Slope); and Lincoln Restler (District 33, Downtown Brooklyn), Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Brooklyn BP Antonio Reynoso. At the press conference, it was expressed that these bills were introduced in order to combat the proliferation of last-mile warehouses in low-income communities of color who are subject to more air and noise pollution as a result of the truck traffic. Continue Reading Last Mile Warehouse Bills and Proposed Special Permit
This is what you need to know.
In response to the tragic balcony collapse that killed seven students in Berkeley in 2015, Governor Jerry Brown approved Senate Bill No. 721 on September 17, 2018. The bill, commonly referred to as the “Balcony Inspection Law”, went into effect on January 1, 2019 and the deadline for initial inspections is January 1, 2025. The Balcony Inspection Law amended Section 1954 of the Civil Code, and added Article 2.2 (commencing with Section 17973) to Chapter 5 of Part 1.5 of Division 13 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to building standards.Continue Reading Multifamily Building Owners: Are you Prepared to Meet Balcony Inspection Requirements by the January 1, 2025 Deadline?