Friday, March 30, 2018

City of San Francisco Electric Mobility Strategy Invitation

BOMA San Francisco Members:

The ever-increasing range, affordability, and options for electric vehicles have propelled them into the mainstream. As electric vehicles become more popular, the City is seeking input from residents, businesses, and visitors on this topic. 

San Francisco is currently developing a citywide Electric Mobility Strategy and invites you to join an upcoming Community Listening Session to help the City identify opportunities to accelerate the transition of cars and trucks away from fossil fuels.

Space is limited, so please register (links below) at your earliest convenience: 

As a transit first city, San Francisco prioritizes walking, biking, and public transit. The City also recognizes that in order to reduce harmful air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, we must create solutions that electrify the movement of goods and people. San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, Municipal Transportation Agency, and Public Utilities Commission will co-host these listening sessions and look forward to your participation.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

BOMA California Advocacy Update: Water Fixture Replacement Mandate; Prop. 65 Warnings Update; Energy Benchmarking Regulations Finalized

Water Fixture Replacement Mandate - MUST COMPLETE BY 2019

A bill passed into law nine years ago, SB 407 (Padilla; Chapter 587, 2009), requires non-compliant plumbing fixtures to be replaced with water-conserving plumbing fixtures when a property is undergoing additions, alterations or improvements. Applicants seeking to obtain permits for any of these types of work will be required to replace non-compliant fixtures prior to final permit approval or issuance of a certificate of occupancy by the local building department.

This law applies only to properties built on or before January 1, 1994, and by January 1, 2019, ALL of those pre-1994 buildings must comply with these requirements, regardless of whether or not you are planning to renovate the space.

The California Association of Local Building Officials (CALBO) has worked with some of its local building official members to clarify the requirement. Click here for an info sheet that will help you determine if your building is in compliance or not (but the general rule of thumb is that if it was built after 1994, or has been renovated since then, you will most likely be in compliance).

The law does have the following exceptions; per Civil Code Section 1101.7, this article shall not apply to any of the following: a) Registered historical sites; b) Real property for which a licensed plumber certifies that, due to the age or configuration of the property or its plumbing, installation of water-conserving plumbing fixtures is not technically feasible; c) A building for which water service is permanently disconnected; d) Building was built and available for use on or after January 1, 1994.

The original bill gave our industry 10 years to comply with this measure, at our request (the bill originally only gave five years to comply). We still believe that is a reasonable time horizon set by the state and continue to encourage our members to make sure you have completed this work within the allotted time frame.

Warning: Prop. 65 Warnings Need To Be Updated!

Last year new Proposition 65 warning were signed into law by the Governor. The new requirements come into effect August 2018. Entities doing business in California will be required to provide additional “Prop 65” warning. This means you are probably going to need to consult with an expert and provide new warnings in certain areas of your buildings. The commercial real estate industry is currently working with experts to put together a “general guidance” document as well as webinars to make sure you are on the right path to compliance. In the meantime, here is a good article to put the new law into context You Have Been Warned: Changes Coming to Proposition 65 Requirements.

Benchmarking Regulations Finalized

The State of California has finalized the AB 1103/AB 802 Energy Benchmarking Regulations.  This has been a long process and we have been involved every step of the way.  The bottom line is that as of June 1, 2018, all buildings over 50,000 square feet – with some exemptions – need to be benchmarked and data shared with the Energy Commission.

However, the rollout of the regulation is still unfolding.  The CEC is working on materials and communications to help with compliance, and we are helping them work through the issues and work out the bugs.   Stay tuned for more information and webinars to help you comply.

Until more information is available from the state, click here for the final regulations.

UPDATE: Central SoMa Plan

UPDATE - March 29, 2018

The Planning Department has published a "Response to Comments" on the Central SoMa Environmental Impact Report. They are available here: These are the responses to the comments we received on the Draft EIR, which was published in December of 2016. This document, along with the Draft EIR, will be before the Planning Commission for Final EIR certification on Thursday, April 12, 2018. At the same hearing the Planning Commission will be considering for adoption the rest of the proposed Central SoMa Plan legislation and accompanying implementation documents. 

Please note that the public review period for the Central SoMa EIR ended on February 13, 2017. The Planning Commission does not conduct a hearing to receive comments on the Responses to Comments document, and no such hearing is required by the California Environmental Quality Act. Interested parties, however, may always write to Commission members or to the President of the Commission at 1650 Mission Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, 94103, and express an opinion on the Responses to Comments document, or on the Commission’s decision to certify the completion of the Final EIR for this project.

There will not be a hearing on the Central SoMa Plan on March 29th. As noted above, the Planning Commission will hold the hearing on April 12th. The hearing will be at City Hall Room 400 after 1:00 p.m. 

Please check the Planning Commission agenda page on Monday, April 9th to see where the Central SoMa item is on the agenda.


Original Post - March 5, 2018

The Central SoMa Plan passed important milestones last week. On Wednesday, February 28th, Mayor Farrell and Supervisor Jane Kim introduced the Planning Code and Zoning Map amendments, forwarding them onto the Planning Commission for their consideration. You can see the Mayor and Supervisor's press release here.

On Thursday, March 1st, the Planning Commission unanimously supported the initiation of the proposed amendments to the General Plan, including the Central SoMa Plan. You can see their Resolution to Initiate here.

In terms of next steps, the Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled an informational hearing on March 22nd to consider the Plan's remaining issues. The soonest the Commission could act to approve the legislation would be March 29th, upon which time it would return to the Board of Supervisors for their deliberation.

The Central SoMa website has been updated with all of the relevant information.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

San Francisco Seawall Resiliency Project - 100+ Year Old Seawall Repair Estimated to Cost $5 Billion

BOMA San Francisco Government Affairs Policy Advisory Committee (GAPAC) members were honored to met with Steven Reel, Project Manager for the Port of San Francisco in late 2017.

Mr. Reel spoke about the San Francisco Seawall Resiliency Project. The Port of San Francisco is leading the San Francisco Seawall Earthquake Safety and Disaster Prevention Program, a citywide effort to create a more sustainable and resilient San Francisco waterfront by addressing immediate life safety upgrades to over three miles of the city’s northeastern waterfront stretching from Fisherman’s Wharf to Mission Creek.

The overall cost is estimated at $5 billion dollars with some of the initial funding coming from various sources including possibly through the State of California (AB 2578) via a measure introduced by Assemblymember David Chiu.

About the Seawall 

San Francisco’s Embarcadero Seawall was constructed more than a century ago and is the foundation of over three miles of the city’s northeastern waterfront stretching from Fisherman’s Wharf in the north to Mission Creek in the south.

The Embarcadero Seawall supports key utility networks and transportation infrastructure for the BART, Muni, and ferry transportation networks. Additionally, the Seawall serves as a critical emergency response and recovery area and provides flood protection for downtown San Francisco.

With over $100 billion in assets and economic activity along the waterfront, the Seawall underpins the Historic Embarcadero Promenade, many of the city’s iconic tourist destinations, parks, restaurants, and local businesses – all drawing in the more than 24 million people who visit the waterfront each year.

All of today’s activity along the northern waterfront is made possible by the Seawall at its base.

UPDATE: San Francisco's Accessible Business Entrance Program Educational Workshops - BOMA MEMBER COMPLIANCE REQUIRED BY MAY 23, 2018

UPDATE - March 24, 2018

BOMA San Francisco members,

Here is an opportunity to learn about this new program and how building owners can comply.

In 2016, a law was passed requiring building and business owners to make all primary entrances from the public way accessible for people with disabilities: The Accessible Business Entrance Program. The Program helps people with disabilities gain greater access to goods and services offered by businesses and helps businesses better comply with existing State and Federal accessibility

If your building has a business that serves the public, this new law may apply to you. The first compliance deadline is May 23, 2018.

The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, in partnership with the Office of Small Business, SF Planning, Public Works, Mayor's Office on Disability and Access Appeals Commission are hosting educational workshops to help building owners understand the requirements of the Program.


UPDATE - February 8, 2018

The Accessible Business Entrance program helps property owners comply with state and federal accessibility laws and helps people with disabilities gain greater access to goods and services offered by businesses in San Francisco. Passed by the Board of Supervisors in 2016 (Ordinance No. 51-16), the ordinance requires that existing buildings with a place of public accommodation have all primary entrances accessible for people with disabilities. 

Under state and federal law, a place of public accommodation is generally a business where the public will enter a building to obtain goods and services, such as banks, day care centers, hotels, offices, restaurants, retail stores, et cetera. 

Click here to review the details and compliance deadlines.

BOMA San Francisco's Codes and Regulations Committee will be holding a meeting with San Francisco Department of Building Inspection staff on February 28th at 12 Noon to discuss the requirements. Please email John Bozeman, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Industry Affairs if you'd like to attend at


Compliance with this ordinance is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner. The ordinance is an addition to the San Francisco Building Code and the code only recognizes the owner of the structure. The ordinance, however, does state that it is not intended to interfere with any existing lease agreements between tenant and owner. If the owner has an existing agreement that the tenant shall pay for any accessible upgrades required, the ordinance does not nullify such agreements. It should be clarified, however, that the Department ultimately holds the property owner responsible for compliance.

If the tenant is determined to be responsible, the Department will ask the owner to consider that it may be to his or her advantage to assist in the cost of any remedial work because this ordinance may not have been foreseen by the tenant or owner when the lease agreement was signed.

NOTE: If the owner or tenant claimed and received an Unreasonable Hardship due to excessive cost, the determination of the Access Appeals Commission may include restrictions on the property that may affect what type of businesses are allowed to lease this property in the future without repairing the barriers to access.


UPDATE - September 29, 2017

Here are two important items to review regarding this ordinance that BOMA San Francisco members worked on with Supervisor Katy Tang in 2015 and 2016.
  • San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) is the agency responsible for writing the guidelines regarding implementing this ordinance. The measure is detailed below or you can review the law by clicking hereAccording to SFDBI staff, draft guidelines are still in development. We'll alert you when that document is available. 
  • Supervisor Tang has introduced a companion measure that would extend the compliance time frame for existing buildings owners.
    • The time within which the owner of an existing building with a place of public accommodation has to comply with the mandatory disability access requirements as prescribed in the original ordinance for the primary entrance and path of travel into the building will be extended by one year. Also extended by one year is the time for the Department of Building Inspection to submit a written report to the Board and the six-year limitation on granting extensions of time to comply.
    • Please click here to review the ordinance and email BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Industry Affairs, John Bozeman at if you have any questions. 


Original Post - October 2, 2015

BOMA members have been monitoring legislation introduced by Supervisor Katy TangMandatory Disability Access Improvements.

This ordinance, if passed, would relieve tenants of any responsibility for accessibility improvements or documentation establishing a technically infeasible situation or unreasonable hardship and place it squarely on the building owners.

Additionally, this legislation would establish a Disability Access Compliance Unit within the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) to monitor this program, set fees to administer it, provide guidance and advice on specific situations, as well as issue determinations of technical infeasibility or unreasonable hardship.

Click here for the legislative digest.

Our Government Affairs Policy Analysis Committee (GAPAC) recently met with Supervisor Tang and here are the concerns our members have regarding the measure, as proposed:
  • San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) Staffing
    • Ordinance compliance by SFDBI might be an issue due to workflow demand increase if this measure were to pass.
      • How can building owners be assured that the turnaround time will be a fast one?
  • Lease Negotiation
    • Our members are concerned that allowing SFDBI to be the arbiter of ADA issues in private buildings will impede the lease negotiation process. 
    • This was also an issue in 2013 when we worked with then Supervisor David Chiu on his ADA legislation:
      • Note that the same suggestions our members had in 2013, below, apply to this proposal:
        • Education 
          • Commercial property owners provide an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) disclosure to tenants/potential tenants to help educate them on the requirements of the ADA implications of non-compliance.
        • Compliance 
          • Allow a commercial property owner/tenant MORE time to correct primary entries/path of travel to ADA specific requirements in a tenant space. That is, set a due date for absolute compliance sometime farther into the future (e.g., 5-10 years) with a requirement to update primary entries/path of travel before the due date if new tenant occupies the space. 
            • This suggestion was based on the San Francisco High Rise Sprinkler Ordinance passed in 1993 that had similar requirements for compliance with regard to sprinklers in high-rise buildings. 
        • Lease Negotiation Process 
          • Commercial property owners need to have the ability to negotiate the costs associated with any tenant improvement with the tenant. This includes any costs associated with ADA compliance. 
  • Building Owner is Fully Responsible for ADA Repairs 
    • From our GAPAC meeting, it’s clear this is a major source of contention with our small building owners. 
    • As mentioned above, our members need to have the leeway to negotiate who pays for the tenant improvement. 
    • Perhaps any mention of the owner paying for upgrades can be amended to include owner and/or lessee. 
  • Technical Infeasibility 
    • Readily achievable should be the term used - in other words, easily accomplished and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense for the tenant/owner. 
  • Post 2002 Building Exemption(Pg. 6; lines 11-15 – Chapter 11D; Sec. 1101D) 
    • Building owner/owners authorized agent must provide a written notice of exemption that provides a construction permit application dates on or after January 1, 2002. 
    • SFDBI should already have this information on file. 
As always, our members are appreciative of Supervisor Tang's early outreach to BOMA regarding this ordinance, and look forward to the continued discussion.

If you have concerns about this measure please email John M. Bozeman, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Industry Affairs, at

Thursday, March 15, 2018

BOMA San Francisco Opposes Commercial Rent Tax Measures on June Ballot; Endorses London Breed for Mayor

BOMA San Francisco Endorses Board of Supervisors 
President London Breed's Candidacy for Mayor; 
OPPOSES Propositions C and D that would increase taxes on tenants. 

BOMA San Francisco's leadership has endorsed London Breed for Mayor. We encourage members to learn about her campaign (

Our organization also OPPOSES two commercial rent tax measures - Propositions C and D - on the June ballot in San Francisco. The details of those measures are below.
  • BOMA opposes the proposed measures because they are bad for our tenants who are our city's major employers, and who ultimately pay the tax. 
  • San Francisco is already too expensive and too difficult a place to conduct business without arbitrarily adding to the cost of rent. 
  • Taxing specific industries to fund specific city programs is bad governance. At a time when the City Controller has issued a report showing growing San Francisco budget deficits (reaching in excess of $700 million within five years), elected officials should be having an in-depth and strategic discussion about the City's needs, setting priorities and developing mechanisms to address them ONLY after getting thorough input from the community and all affected parties. 
  • With a $10.2B annual operating budget to work with, the Board of Supervisors should have sufficient resources to manage programs and services without further burdening employers. 
While the various programs and services that are proposed to be funded by each measure may have merit, such "one-off" tax measures targeting commercial rents (with certain exceptions) avoid the much-needed comprehensive budget review that good governance requires. The two commercial rent tax measures on our June ballot abort good-governance and would be very costly to employers, small and large alike.

A Joint Report by the Controller's Office, Mayor's Office, and Board of Supervisors' Budget Analyst in December 2017 shows the City in a deficit starting in FY 18-19 at (88.2) million and in FY 21-22 at (709.3) million. Prudent use of existing resources might help alleviate budget constraints that are projected in the short-term. And now is NOT the time to hike taxes.

Summary of the Two Proposed Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) Measures Targeting Commercial Real Estate 

Current law requires commercial building owners to pay a blend of a payroll tax and .3% on gross receipts from leases to the City and County of San Francisco. That money goes into the City's general fund. There are two new gross receipts tax measures on the June 5, 2018 ballot that would impose additional taxes on commercial rent. These additional taxes would be dedicated to fund specific programs. The two new taxes on the ballot are:

1. 1.7% additional GRT on leases of commercial space (Proposition D)
  • Estimated to raise $70 million annually 
  • Funds low/middle income housing and homeless services 
  • Tax would not apply to gross receipts from leases that have the following uses: PDR, retail and services, entertainment, arts and recreation, non-profit and small businesses 
  • Requires 67% voter approval to pass 

2. 3.5% additional GRT on leases of commercial space; 1% on warehouse space  (Proposition C)
  • Estimated to raise $146 million annually 
  • 85% funds early child care and education, 15% is for general use 
  • Tax would not apply to gross receipts from leases that have the following uses: industrial, arts, or non-formula retail, non-profit and small businesses 
  • Requires 50% + 1 voter approval to pass 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Central SoMa Plan Legislation Advances

The Central SoMa Plan passed important milestones last week. On Wednesday, February 28th, Mayor Farrell and Supervisor Jane Kim introduced the Planning Code and Zoning Map amendments, forwarding them onto the Planning Commission for their consideration. You can see the Mayor and Supervisor's press release here.

On Thursday, March 1st, the Planning Commission unanimously supported the initiation of the proposed amendments to the General Plan, including the Central SoMa Plan. You can see their Resolution to Initiate here.

In terms of next steps, the Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled an informational hearing on March 22nd to consider the Plan's remaining issues. The soonest the Commission could act to approve the legislation would be March 29th, upon which time it would return to the Board of Supervisors for their deliberation.

The Central SoMa website has been updated with all of the relevant information.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

2 DAYS LEFT - Register for the San Francisco Mayoral Candidates Forum on March 1st

Bringing together thought leaders from City Hall and San Francisco businesses, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce will host an exclusive networking reception prior to the Business Talks: San Francisco Mayoral Candidate Forum.

This is an opportunity for BOMA members to network with the Who’s Who of the City and business community and get the inside scoop on the latest issues facing businesses in San Francisco. The reception will begin at 4 p.m. in the recently renovated Green Room at the War Memorial Veteran’s Building with appetizers and beverages provided by McCalls Catering & Events.

San Francisco is at a crossroads, with residents deeply concerned about issues such as homelessness, cost of living, traffic congestion and housing. The next Mayor of San Francisco could set the City’s priorities for the next 10 years. Join us to hear from candidates how they will face the most pressing challenges facing San Francisco employers and employees. At the forum will be mayoral candidates: Angela Alioto, London Breed, Richie Greenberg, Jane Kim and Mark Leno.

Tickets: $50 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Join the Smart Energy Analytics Campaign

The Smart Energy Analytics Campaign is a program led by the U.S. Department of Energy that encourages the use of a wide variety of commercially available Energy Management and Information Systems (EMIS) technologies and ongoing monitoring practices to help uncover those energy-saving opportunities and improve building performance for the long run.

Facility managers, energy managers, and operators of commercial buildings across the country are collaborating with utilities, product and service providers through this members-only network of peer-to-peer exchange, with access to experts who can tailor technical support to meet the needs of your buildings.

Why join the Smart Energy Analytics Campaign?

Are you making the most of your meter data? The Smart Energy Analytics Campaign can provide information and connections to key findings and best practices, to help your organization cut through the complexity of EMIS options. The campaign is designed to get you started on the path to ongoing monitoring and analytics.

Please click here for more information.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The East Cut Community Benefit District in San Francisco - Services Available to BOMA Members

Community Benefit Districts (CBDs) in San Francisco strive to improve the overall quality of life in targeted commercial districts and mixed-use neighborhoods through a partnership between the City and local communities. In California, CBDs are also known as Business Improvement Districts. Once an area has voted to establish a CBD, local property owners are levied a special assessment to fund improvements to their neighborhood. The funds are administered by a non-profit organization established by the neighborhood.

About The East Cut Community Benefit District

The East Cut encompasses the Rincon Hill and Transbay areas. These neighborhoods are transitioning from primarily commercial-industrial use into the City's new downtown - an energetic mix of sleek residential and commercial towers, historic properties repurposed for modern living and working, small businesses and corporate headquarters, and new parks and greenspaces anchored by the "Grand Central Station of the West": the Transbay Transit Center and its 5.4 acre rooftop park. The Greater Rincon Hill Community Benefit District is currently the City's largest special assessment district with over 3,300 parcels.

In 2017, the governing board of the Community Benefit District unanimously voted to rename the CBD to The East Cut Community Benefit District in an effort to be inclusive of all neighborhoods within its service area.

Services Provided

The East Cut Community Benefit District crew provides cleaning and beautification including:
sidewalk sweeping, power washing, graffiti abatement, topping off City trashcans, sidewalk tree pruning, weeding sidewalk tree basins, and spot cleaning health hazards.

The East Cut CBD works to connect homeless individuals to services, and acts as the eyes and ears for the neighborhood. It is also the only district in the city with 24/7 neighborhood security in the public realm.

These services are paid for by property owners in the District through an annual assessment.

Interested in learning more about The East Cut CBD services? Email them at and they can arrange a time to conduct a services walk-through at your property. If you are unsure if your building is within The East Cut District boundaries and would like to know more details, feel free to contact us to learn more.