The much-discussed push to revive downtown San Francisco by converting empty office buildings to housing is starting to gather momentum. Eight office building owners have responded to the city’s “request for information” aimed at identifying landlords interested in converting their properties to apartments or condos. If all eight properties were to be converted, around 1,100 housing units would be created. State Senator Scott Wiener also plans to introduce downtown revitalization legislation in January that would include tax breaks for conversion projects. AB 529, which is pending approval by Governor Newsom, would require the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to convene a working group to identify and recommend amendments to existing state adaptive reuse codes to better facilitate office to residential conversion projects.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law on Saturday to bolster eviction protections for renters. The move updates a 2019 landmark law that created rules around evictions and establishing a rent cap at 5% plus the inflation rate, with a 10% maximum. Under the 2019 law, landlords can evict tenants for “at fault” or “no fault” reasons. “At fault” reasons include failure to pay rent on time. Under “no fault” rules, landlords can terminate leases by saying they need to move into units, make repairs, or take the units off the rental market. Under the new law, landlords moving into their units or renting to family also must identify the people moving in. In addition, the rental must be occupied within three months of eviction and they must live in the unit for at least a year. Those who evict tenants to renovate properties must include copies of permits or contracts, among other details, when serving eviction notices.
San Diego City Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee recently met to discuss a proposed response to a recent San Diego County Grand Jury report that outlined a lack of housing in the region. Every local government agency in the region under the San Diego Association of Governments failed to provide housing for all state-designated income levels, other than Lemon Grove, according to the report released in early May. The report outlined recommendations, including working with religious organizations and education systems to identify developable land, along with drafting revenue-generating legislation and writing out specific plans for different areas. SB 4 (the Affordable Housing on Faith and Higher Education Lands Act of 2023), which is pending approval by Governor Newsom, would facilitate that effort.
The City of Pico Rivera in Los Angeles County continues to move forward with plans to build a downtown hub off of Metro’s Eastside extension. The proposed Washington and Rosemead Boulevards Transit-Oriented Development Specific Plan would rezone approximately 327 acres of land surrounding Pico Rivera’s future Metro rail stop. According to the EIR notice of preparation, the specific plan area is expected to accommodate a maximum buildout of more than 1.7 million square feet of new mixed-use commercial development and approximately 31,000 square feet of mixed-use residential development.
A nonprofit group filed a lawsuit seeking to strike down Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’ declaration of a local emergency on homelessness and housing, calling it a “vast and illegal expansion of mayoral power.” The group said in its lawsuit that the mayor’s declaration improperly eliminates competitive bidding, undermining “the state’s objective of ensuring fairness, transparency, and fiscal responsibility in public procurement.” The lawsuit said the mayor’s declaration, and accompanying directives, have allowed 100% affordable housing developments to circumvent the city’s planning review process, eliminating “public hearings, due process, and the right of appeal” for such projects.
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© Allen Matkins
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