Friday, November 22, 2013

You're Invited to a Reception in Support of San Francisco District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell - December 2nd

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please join Ken Cleaveland, Tom Hart and Chris Wright for a reception event in support of District 2 San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell.  

Monday, December 2, 2013 
5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. 
The Russ Building - Shorenstein’s Executive Offices 
235 Montgomery Street, 16th Floor 
San Francisco, California 94104

Suggested Contribution
$500 - Friend 
$250 - Supporter 
Make checks payable to: 
Re-Elect Supervisor Mark Farrell 2014

To RSVP, please return this form to
or email Ken Cleaveland at

Thursday, November 21, 2013

UPDATE - San Francisco's Formula Retail Use Restrictions: Study of Proposed Changes

Formula Retail Chain Stores header

UPDATE  - November 21, 2013

BOMA San Francisco Members:

The San Francisco Planning Department will commence an economic impact study of proposed changes to formula retail use in San Francisco in the near term.  More details from the San Francisco Business Times, here.

Original Post - July 31, 2013

In an effort to "protect San Francisco's vibrant small business sector and create a supportive environment for new small business innovations," Section 703.3 of the San Francisco Planning Code mandates specific controls on formula retail uses.

Formula retail uses are commonly referred to as chain stores.  Under Section 703.3 of the San Francisco Planning Code they are defined as “a type of retail sales activity or retail sales establishment which, along with eleven or more other retail sales establishments located in the United States, maintains two or more of the following features: a standardized array of merchandise, a standardized facade, a standardized decor and color scheme, a uniform apparel, standardized signage, a trademark or a servicemark.” In other words, retail stores with multiple locations and a recognizable appearance.

Study of Proposed Changes to Formula Retail Use - Public Comment Opportunity

The San Francisco Planning Commission held a hearing on formula retail recently. You can review the materials that were before the commission here.  In response, the Commission passed a resolution authorizing a study of the issue and seeking public comment on the scope of that study.

Click here for the draft scope. To provide comment on the scope of work for this study, please reply to  BOMA members are encouraged to comment on this scope by August 12, 2013.

Due to the multiple proposals pending to amend the City’s formula retail controls, the City seeks to secure a consultant and complete the study by this fall so that the pending proposals to change formula retail can be informed by data and public comment. The Department will schedule a hearing on the draft study prior to completion of the study. After completion of the study, the Department will use the study to make policy recommendations to the Planning Commission. Ultimately and with benefit of public comment, the Commission will make policy recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

REMINDER - Mandatory Soft Story Retrofit Program Workshop - November 21, 2013

BOMA San Francisco Members:

If your property portfolio includes soft story (wood framed) buildings please note that there will be a workshop produced by the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection to review the Mandatory Soft Story Seismic Retrofit Ordinance.  BOMA San Francisco members helped to craft this new law as it moved though the legislative process at San Francisco's City Hall.

Workshop topics will include:
  • Soft Story Program 2013 for Stronger Seismic Safety
  • How to Complete the Screening and Optional Evaluation Forms 
  • Compliance Tiers and Engineering Criteria
  • Financing Options
  • Products for Seismic Retrofit
If you are an engineer, architect, or contractor interested in providing services in response to this program, there will be sign in sheets where you may provide your information and will be made available to attendees.

Thursday, November 21, 2013 
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. 
San Francisco Public Library 
100 Larkin St. (at Grove) 
Koret Auditorium – Lower Level 
Enter 30 Grove St., proceed down stairs

UPDATE - SFPUC: The Commercial Fats, Oil and Grease (FOG) Control Ordinance

BOMA San Francisco Members:

UPDATE - November 20, 2013

The Commercial Fats, Oil and Grease (FOG) Control program, instituted in 2011 and administered by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), was recently lauded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Gina McCarthy.

From a recent article on the topic in the San Francisco Examiner:
And no other city in America has anything like it, said McCarthy, who watched as a pair of SFPUC workers took away a barrel of grease from Johnny Foley’s restaurant near Union Square.
“This is innovation, not regulation,” said McCarthy, who added that the EPA has no plans to bring grease recycling to Washington, D.C., or other cities but is “hoping other cities see how this works.”

UPDATE - May 2, 2011

The 2011 FOG Control Ordinance was adopted by the Board of Supervisors on February 8, 2011; the law goes into effect on April 1, 2011.  If you have a tenant that will be impacted by this new law, please note that they can attend one of two upcoming workshops - click on the image below to enlarge:

Please be aware of the following information regarding this new ordinance:
  • Restaurants will be visited by an SFPUC Wastewater Inspector who will issue them a Wastewater Discharger ID Number and associated (no fee) permit documents.
  • Restaurants will also be assigned a FOG Discharger Category number that reflects their potential to discharge grease to the sewer system and will indicate if grease capturing equipment is required.
  • Restaurants that have grease capturing equipment already in place need to properly maintain and service the equipment and ensure that all wastewater discharge lines that contain grease are plumbed through the grease capturing equipment.
  • Restaurants that do not have already grease capturing equipment will be required to install an approved type of Grease Removal Device within 60 days of notification by the City, unless a determination is made by an SFPUC Wastewater Inspector that it falls under the category of a “Less-Significant Grease Discharger” and thus can install any type of grease capturing equipment.
    • Approved Grease Removal Devices must be certified by a recognized third-party testing agency to show conformance to the following standards: ASME 112.14.3 and ASME 112.14.4. 
  • New restaurants will be required to put in a Grease Removal Device before opening for business unless a determination is made by an SFPUC Wastewater Inspector that it is a “Less-Significant Grease Discharger” and thus can install any type of grease capturing equipment.
  • Food service establishments that only reheat or assemble ready to eat food products are considered “Limited Food Preparation Establishments” and are not required to install grease capturing equipment.
  • Restaurants that undergo certain renovations or remodeling which will result in an increase in the potential for discharging grease to the sewer system will have their FOG Discharger Category reassessed by the SFPUC and may be required to install grease capturing equipment.
  • When a restaurant changes ownership, the new owner must obtain a (no fee) Wastewater Discharger Permit from the SFPUC Wastewater Enterprise.
  • After May 1, 2011, no new garbage grinders can be installed in restaurants and those in existing businesses must be removed or made permanently inoperative.
  • Any establishment found to be causing or contributing to grease related blockages may be direct by the City to install grease capturing equipment within a significantly shorter period of time than 60 days.

UPDATE - January 26, 2011

The Proposed Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Control Ordinance was introduced at the Board of Supervisors on 11/9/10 and was assigned to the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee. The Committee held a hearing on the ordinance on 1/24/11 and voted unanimously to refer it to the full Board of Supervisors for approval.

Click here for a version of the proposed ordinance as it was introduced.  For additional questions on the proposed FOG Control Ordinance, email


Original Post - November 16, 2010

The Proposed Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Control Ordinance was introduced at the Board of Supervisors on 11/9/10 and has been assigned to the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee. A hearing at this committee will be schedule in the near future after a 30 day period has passed from the date of introduction. Click here for a version of the proposed ordinance as it was introduced.  Also, see the Fact Sheet for the Proposed FOG Control Ordinance in EnglishChinese and Spanish.

Background Information: 

Fats, oils and grease (FOG), can be a major problem for San Francisco's sewers and for the bay and ocean that surround San Francisco. When not disposed of properly, FOG can clog San Francisco's sewers costing us all a lot of money —over $3.5 million each year to respond to grease clogged pipes. When poured down drains, cooking oil will harden and build up inside of drain pipes and sewer pipes, constricting water flow the way cholesterol affects blood flow in arteries. Grease blockages can also cause back ups in the City sewer system itself and can lead to sewer overflows onto City streets or into the bay and ocean.

Restaurants, and other food service establishments (FSEs), are a significant source of FOG because of the amount of grease used in cooking and other food preparation work. For several years, the SFPUC has been working - with input from Golden Gate Restaurant Association to develop a plan to prevent FOG from restaurants and other FSEs from entering the sewer system. The proposed FOG Control Ordinance is being developed to resolve/improve the problem.

San Francisco law already requires that restaurants and other FSEs comply with limits for the amount of total oil and grease that can be discharged into City sewers. The discharge limit alone, however, is clearly not working to keep FOG out of the sewers. The proposed ordinance will give local FSEs clear requirements on exactly what type of grease capturing equipment they have to install, resulting in standards and inspections to ensure that any type of grease capturing equipment is well maintained and serviced.

Ordinance Revisions:
  • The first version of the proposed FOG Control Ordinance  was posted on the website in February 2010. From March through May 2010, SFPUC staff conducted outreach to potentially impacted businesses in the City – such as restaurants, caterers and other food service establishments. Presentations were made at several Town Hall meetings for restaurant owners and managers, in coordination with the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA). Information on the proposed ordinance was also presented to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and to BOMA San Francisco. Additional door-to-door bilingual outreach was conducted to several hundred smaller restaurants in the City.
  • The second version of the Proposed FOG Control Ordinance was presented to the SPFUC Commission on 9/14/10. This version of the proposed ordinance reflected revisions made to address comments received, to make the ordinance language more technically accurate in some cases, and to address several necessary non-substantive, administrative changes.
  • The final version of the proposed FOG Control Ordinance was introduced at the Board of Supervisors on 11/9/10. The only change made to the ordinance as compared to the previous version was the addition of language clarifying or extending compliance and effective dates.
For those interested in reviewing the revisions made in greater detail, the following documents are provided:
  • To view a summary document explaining the rationale for the revisions made from the initial version circulated in February 2010 through to the version introduced at the Board of Supervisors in November 2010, click here
  • To view a redlined version of the revisions made between the first and second proposed versions of the ordinance, click here.
For additional questions on the proposed FOG Control Ordinance, email

BOMA San Francisco Leaders Meet with California Congressman Jared Huffman

California Congressman Jared Huffman

BOMA San Francisco's President, Steven Ring and BOMA San Francisco's Political Action Committee Chair (BOMA SF-PAC) Chair Kathy Mattes met with California Congressman Jared Huffman on November 5th to discuss federal issues currently affecting commercial real estate:
L to R: S. Ring; K. Mattes; Rep. Huffman; K. Cleaveand
  • The need for tax reform that would give commercial property owners a permanent 15 year depreciation allowance for leasehold improvements;
  • Relax restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate;
  • And, re-authorize and improve the Federal law providing re-insurance for acts of terrorism that destroy buildings. 
The Congressman was not sure any of the industry's issues would be acted upon in the current session. BOMA leaders suggested that the Congressman should consider introducing legislation to allow owners of commercial properties to correct Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) deficiencies prior to being sued for a civil rights violation.  BOMA San Francisco members will meet again with Representative Huffman during the BOMA International National Issues Conference in February 2014

This meeting was part of BOMA's continued advocacy efforts on behalf of the commercial real estate industry.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

UPDATE: Tenant Bicycle Access Ordinance - Bicycle Access Plan and Exception Form Due Date Moved to January 31, 2014

BOMA San Francisco Members:

UPDATE - November 4, 2013

The San Francisco Department of Environment has kindly extended the date for BOMA members to submit the Bicycle Access Plan and/or applicable exemptions with the Department to January 31, 2014.


UPDATE - October 30, 2013

With regard to the Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings Ordinance a property owner or manager must file a Bicycle Access Plan and/or any applicable exemptions with the San Francisco Department of Environment by October 31, 2013.  If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact

BOMA members only need to fill out this form if there are specific details and limitations on bicycle access in the building.  This includes the route to elevators or stairs that accommodate bicycle access or the route to a designated area for bike parking and other information as listed in the law.  If you allow full bicycle access in your building without restriction, you do not need to fill out the Bicycle Access Plan.  

It is user friendly and can be submitted online.  You will receive an email confirmation of your submission (please check your spam filter if you do not see it).  The Plan will be kept on file at the Department of Environment and made available upon request to tenants. If you have already submitted a Bicycle Access Plan and would like to update a it, simply re-submit a Plan with the included updates. 

An exemption form is required if
  • Your building’s elevator is not available for bicycle access due to substantial safety risks; or 
  • Alternate covered off-street or alternate indoor no-cost bicycle parking that meets the security requirements of Planning Code Section 155.1(a)(6) and (7), meets the quantity and other requirements identified in the existing Planning Code, and is available within three blocks or 750 feet, whichever is less, that accommodates all tenants requesting bike access. 
The Department of the Environment, after consultation with the Municipal Transportation Agency and Department of Building Inspection, will either approve or deny the exception request. Commercial properties that file for an exception should also complete a Bicycle Access Plan to ensure that tenants are aware of the specified location to park their bicycles. 


UPDATE - May 21, 2012

The Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings Ordinance is now law.  We're honored to work with the San Francisco Bicycle Collation and Supervisor John Avalos' office to make this a reality.

Two articles were published in FM World (BIFM’s Facilities Management magazine) regarding the new law:
  • San Francisco beefs up bike access laws | FM World – the BIFM’s Facilities Management magazine
  • Think Tank: FMs vote for cycle parking | FM World – the BIFM’s Facilities Management magazine
What are the next steps for BOMA San Francisco Members?

Please click here to access a FAQ sheet to review what this ordinance now requires of commercial building owners and managers.  BOMA members (and non-BOMA members) will, at a tenant’s request, now have to:
  • Allow bicycles to be brought into the tenant space/or into a bike room on site for tenant employees only.
    • A building owner and manager will have to allow bicycles in the building without restriction (e.g., no prescription on path of travel, elevator use), but if they choose to restrict full access in anyway, they must fill out a Bicycle Access Plan (BAP) and submit that document to the San Francisco Department of Environment.  NOTE: the San Francisco Department of Environment is currently developing the BAP. 
      • If a building owner and manager chooses to restrict bicycle access, they must provide  parking (e.g., a bike room on site) and detail the location of the parking area and access to it in a BAP.
  • OR a building owner and manager can fully restrict bicycle access to the building.
    • If the building owner and manager decides to file an exemption to the BAP then they must locate no-cost secure bicycle parking (e.g., via neighboring garage) within three blocks or 750 feet - whichever is less - for all employees of a tenant who requests bicycle parking. 
The new law does not require building owners to build a bike room or dedicate a specific space for bicycle parking. It does allow the tenant’s employees to bring their bikes inside their rented space if the building owner does not provide them with a separate and secure storage area. If a building owner chooses to build a bike room, this legislation does not prohibit charging a reasonable fee for use.

If you have any questions please contact John Bozeman at or (415) 686-9652 x 116.


UPDATE - April 26, 2012

BOMA San Francisco is honored to be the recipient of the prestigious San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) Golden Wheel Award.  This honor will be bestowed upon the organization on June 5th from 5:30-9:00 p.m. in the Green Room, War Memorial Building (401 Van Ness Avenue).

From the SFBC:
For leading the business community in support of groundbreaking local legislation that will significantly expand bicycling as an option for employees in San Francisco. We were proud to partner closely with BOMA on the Employee Bicycle Access Bill, which was signed into law this year and ensures secure bicycle parking for San Francisco Employees. Thanks to BOMA’s support, San Francisco has the strongest bicycle access legislation in the country.
Thank you BOMA for building bridges and partnering with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition for a stronger economy and a healthier workforce.
Please consider attending this event!  Click here for more information.


UPDATE - April 12, 2012

BOMA San Francisco's President, Meade Boutwell, recently authored an opinion editorial that has been published in Buildings Magazine: San Francisco Approves Bicycle Parking Ordinance.


UPDATE - March 19, 2012

On March 13, 2012, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings Ordinance on a 9-2 vote.  The measure now goes to Mayor Ed Lee's desk for his consideration.

NOTE - the Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings Ordinance will take effect thirty days after Mayor Ed Lee (potentially) signs the measure.  Please be sure to review the ordinance and the FAQ sheet to understand what will be required of building owners and managers regarding tenants' employee bicycle parking in an existing commercial building.  If you have any questions regarding this legislation please contact John Bozeman at or Ken Cleaveland at   Representatives from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition are also available to conduct a site visit of your existing bicycle parking facility to determine if it is acceptable under the requirements of the ordinance.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition distributed a press release on this news which quoted Meade Boutwell, BOMA San Francisco's President and part-time bicycle commuter: 
Members of the Building Owners and Managers Association are concerned about the environment and promote the use of sustainable transportation options, including bicycles. With many companies expressing the desire for bicycle parking and storage, BOMA recognizes the need to provide safe, secure parking for bicycling employees....[t]he opportunity to work closely with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Supervisor John Avalos' office to increase the availability of bicycle parking options for tenants' employees, and help sustain the environment made sense.
On behalf of Mr. Boutwell and the BOMA membership, thank you to the Board of Supervisors - especially John Avalos - and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition for their leadership on the issue of bicycle parking in existing commercial buildings.

BOMA San Francisco Political Action Committee Update - November 5, 2013 Municipal Election

BOMA San Francisco Members:

The BOMA San Francisco Political Action Committee has been working diligently to promote good government in San Francisco.  The following is a brief update of the BOMA SF-PAC board members' efforts regarding the November 5, 2013 San Francisco Municipal Election: