A challenge to the interpretation of a project condition of approval may be filed more than 90 days following the project approval
Allen Matkins – June 30
On June 25, 2020, the Fifth Appellate District decided Honchariw v. County of Stanislaus, holding that an applicant's challenge to a local agency's interpretation of a project condition of approval was not barred by the Subdivision Map Act's statute of limitations because it was not a challenge to the validity of a condition of approval. This decision is important for developers, as the 90-day statute of limitations under the Subdivision Map Act (at Gov. Code § 66499.37) and the Planning and Zoning Law (at Gov. Code § 65009(c)(1)) is extremely short, and conflicting interpretations regarding a condition may not arise until months or years later. This decision provides developers with an opportunity to challenge conflicting interpretations of a condition so long as the lawsuit is filed within 90 days after the conflict has materialized.
San Francisco could ban natural gas in new buildings
KQED – June 30
Last Tuesday, a San Francisco district supervisor unveiled a proposal to ban the use of natural gas in new construction and for major building renovations. The measure, if approved, would eliminate natural gas in nearly all new buildings — from homes to towering commercial buildings —that apply for a permit for construction after Jan. 1, 2021. San Francisco has already banned natural gas for any new city building. The ordinance could apply to 54,303 homes, or about 65% of the units in San Francisco's development pipeline, and 32 million square feet of commercial space, city officials said.
Another bid percolating to regulate San Diego’s short-term vacation rentals
The San Diego Union-Tribune – July 1
A new proposal is percolating among city, labor, and industry officials to rein in San Diego’s short-term vacation rentals. The latest effort stems from a recent agreement between Expedia Group, the owner of the VRBO and HomeAway online vacation rental platforms, and San Diego hospitality union Unite HERE Local 30. The memorandum of understanding between Expedia and Unite HERE, brokered by City Council member Jennifer Campbell, creates a framework to regulate vacation rentals that could potentially cut the number of whole-home vacation rentals within the city limits by 70 percent.
Coronavirus and financial hurdles are delaying projects to build homeless housing
Los Angeles Times - July 1
During a January ceremony for the first project completed with funding from the city’s Proposition HHH homeless housing bond, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti framed the moment as a turning point. Nearly six months later, there has been only one other opening to celebrate. A Los Angeles Times analysis of Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department data shows that 57 projects have fallen behind schedule since January. The coronavirus, which has disrupted contractors’ schedules and dragged out inspections, is only part of the problem. A number of projects that have commitments for HHH funding are being delayed even before construction can begin because the federal rent subsidies that are crucial to their financing are drying up. The shortage creates a predicament for developers who are facing decisions on investing money in land or design.
Bay Area backyard cottages boom as elderly parents and college students flee coronavirus
San Francisco Chronicle – July 4
Bay Area companies that specialize in backyard cottages are seeing a surge in interest from homeowners who suddenly need to create additional living space for elderly parents or adult children displaced because of the coronavirus. After California lawmakers embraced a series of statewide bills in 2017 to streamline building backyard cottages — also called accessory dwelling units or ADUs — the number of new units approved exploded to more than 7,000 in 2018, 50% higher than 2017. Abodu, a San Jose firm that makes ADUs, estimates that 10,000 will be permitted in California in 2020, based on a survey of city permits. But in a state that should build millions of homes to keep up with demand, critics said the cottages are a distraction from the need to build multi-unit buildings at scale.
California transit agencies request emergency funding relief to prevent permanent cuts to service
Mass Transit – July 6
The California Transit Association submitted a letter last week on behalf of its more than 85 local public transit agency members to California Governor Gavin Newsom and state and federal lawmakers requesting at least $3.1 billion in funding relief for this year to help prevent permanent service reductions. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, many transit agencies saw their ridership decline by more than 90 percent, driving down passenger fare revenue. As the crisis continues, agencies statewide are now grappling with significant drops in state and local sales tax revenues. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for instance anticipates a $1.8 billion shortfall in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. The agency has seen ridership decline by between 65-75 percent.