Friday, May 15, 2009

Joint Hearing: San Francisco City Planning Commission & Building Inspection Commission

Your BOMA Advocacy Team attended a joint hearing of the San Francisco City Planning Commission and Building Inspection Commission recently. The following are the highlights from the hearing that affect the commercial real estate industry:

  • The issue of tracking expired permits was discussed. The process, which may not continue due to the lack of staff, is done entirely by staff. That is, both the tracking of permit expiration and notifying the permit holders that their permit is expired is processed manually.
  • Permit extensions--an issue now due to the downturn in the economy--was on everyone's mind. The Department of Building Inspection (DBI) issues, on average, 3-4 permit extensions per year, but could see that number rising as projects are put on hold until the economy bounces back.
  • For projects that are delayed or abandoned, the revocation of a permit may not happen. Each project is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. There is a 3 year permit limit; project sponsors will have to go through the permit process again if the 3 year limit has passed.
  • To assist project sponsors from abandoning their projects, there is proposed legislation, sponsored by the DBI, to grant more than one extension at a time (and still meet the code requirement). It will most likely be effective July 1st, and will give the applicant the chance to get to the project at a later point in the future. We will monitor the progress of the measure and post information on the blog as it becomes available.
  • With regard to the Permit Tracking System (PTS), DBI should have a vendor selected for the internet/intranet based program by the end of the fiscal year. The PTS will create a seamless, real-time permit process where everyone involved can be appraised of any new developments with a permit, as they happen.

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