Supervisors Approve Hunters Point Development
San Francisco supervisors overwhelmingly approved a project to transform the abandoned Hunters Point Naval Shipyard into a new waterfront community of homes, businesses and green technology. The victory is considered especially important for Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who represents the area and has spent most of her 10 years on the board pushing to build the community support and political backing needed to move the redevelopment project forward, and Mayor Gavin Newsom, who has called the project a key to the city’s future. “This is a proud and historic day for all San Francisco and for all those who have worked for years to achieve this milestone,” Newsom said in a statement. “Together we have secured a critical engine for our city’s economic future and embraced a new vision of jobs, housing and hope for the Bayview-Hunter’s Point community.”
But despite the accolades, the victory didn’t come easy. Supervisor Chris Daly, the only dissenting vote, argued that setting aside 32% of the proposed 10,500 residential units for affordable housing was not enough. In one of several last-minute proposed amendments to the project, Daly called for at least 50% of the housing in the 700-acre project to be affordable, even though he admitted that it would be impossible for Lennar, the project’s Miami-based developer, to meet that requirement. In the end, the board rejected Daly’s amendment 6 to 5, with Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi, John Avalos, David Campos and Eric Mar joining Daly on the losing side.
Mirkarimi also lost his proposal to drop plans for a bridge across Yosemite Slough. While some environmentalists believe the bridge will cause unnecessary damage to an important stretch of wetlands, proponents successfully argued that the bridge connecting the shipyard site with the planned business development at Candlestick Point will provide much-needed transit service for the area. Environmental groups have promised to go to court to stop the project because of the bridge.
But green concerns were not entirely ignored. The approved project also includes 320 acres of parks and open space, as well as commercial space designed for green technology endeavors. The design also includes space for retail and entertainment facilities, as well as a new stadium for the 49ers, should the team decide to remain in San Francisco.
Tax Hikes on the Ballot
Three tax hikes and an increase to the vehicle registration fee will go before San Francisco voters in November, as the nation’s economic crisis forces cities and counties across the nation to find ways to close historic deficits. It is the first time in several years that so many tax hikes will be brought before city voters. Proponents of the new taxes say they’re needed to help preserve basic city services. Opponents argue that this is not the time to raise the cost of doing business.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8 to 3 to place a measure on the November ballot to increase the real-estate transfer tax on transactions worth $5 million or more. The proposed new transfer tax would increase from 1.5% to 2% for properties between $5 million and $10 million; for properties more than $10 million, the transfer tax would increase to 2.5% while properties less than $5 million would not increase. If approved, the change would generate an average of $36 million a year in new revenue, according to a city controller’s analysis. The board voted down a new tax on commercial real estate, however, as well as a revamp of the payroll tax.
Two competing initiatives to address hotel taxes did make the ballot. One, sponsored by labor and community groups, would increase the hotel tax 2% to 17.5% to raise an estimated $35 million annually; the other, by Mayor Gavin Newsom, would close a loophole to tax online hotel reservations to bring in an estimated $12 million in new revenue. In addition, a Board of Supervisors-backed measure for a $10 vehicle registration fee would generate an estimated $5 million a year.
New Fall Classes
SFAA has a number of educational opportunities available to members this fall. The fall CCRM series begins September 29, and provides an excellent opportunity for those landlords, Realtors and property managers who are interested in advancing their careers in the rental housing industry through a CCRM designation. The series is 10 weeks long and runs Wednesday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco. More details and registration information is available here.
In october, SFAA will offer another opportunity for renovators to get their newly required lead certification. The EPA-required lead remediation class will be held October 20 at Fort Mason from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is open to members only and costs $255.
In addition, SFAA is proud to once again offer one of its most popular professional-development series: Landlord 101, with Dave Wasserman and Curtis Dowling. The two-part course will be offered Thursday, October 14 and Thursday, October 21. Don’t miss this valuable resource. The first day covers beginning the tenancy, including: tenant selection, the application process, signing the lease, security deposits, move-in inspection, rent collection, enforcement of terms, notices, annual rent increases, interest payments on security deposits, and tenant relations. The second day covers the end of the tenancy, including: notices to vacate, initial inspections, move-out inspections, security deposit return, deductions, wear and tear, personal property abandonment, unit damage, eviction rules and process, and a rent control overview. The classes will be held at Fort Mason from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The fee is $55 per class or $100 for both classes. Preregistration is required. Register today at www.sfaa.org or by contacting Maria Shea at email@example.com or by calling 415-255-2288.
Smoking Signs Now Available
Did you know that nonsmoking signs for your buildings are now required by law? Don’t worry—the signs are available for you at the SFAA office.
The Department of Public Health now requires you to post clear and prominent no-smoking signs in any area on the premises where smoking is prohibited. For multiunit housing complexes, the signs need to be posted in the building lobby, common mailbox area or in common elevators. Signs should also be displayed clearly and prominently within 10 feet of either entrance to the premises, no higher than eight feet and no lower than five feet, or the most appropriate place for visibility from outside.
The signs are available now from SFAA for free and come in English, Chinese and Spanish. But supplies are limited, so call before you come in to pick them up. The signs SFAA provides have been approved by the Department of Public Health. Get your signs at the SFAA office at 265 Ivy St., in PDF form at www.sfaa.org or for a small fee they can be mailed to you. Contact Charley Goss at Charley@sfaa.org for more information.
Disability Discrimination Complaints Are Up
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing recently released their case statistics for 2008-2009. These statistics represent the most recent data available regarding complaints filed with the agency and provide some interesting trends in housing discrimination complaints.
Disability discrimination is by far the most commonly alleged form of discrimination. Out of the 1,281 housing discrimination complaints filed in 2008-2009, 41% were based on physical or mental disabilities. This is up from 37% of all complaints in 2007-2008. In contrast, discrimination complaints based on race/color or national origin composed only 16% and 7% of the total complaints filed in 2008-2009, respectively. This marks a significant drop. Race/color complaints were down nearly 34% from the previous year’s numbers and national origin complaints are down 31%. Additionally, these numbers represent the fewest number of cases filed on these bases for any year during the past decade.