Thursday, January 31, 2019

San Francisco eliminates parking requirements for all uses

From an update by Reuben Junius & Rose, a leading SF land use firm (full disclosure:  where I used to work):

San Francisco Eliminates Parking Requirements Citywide

January 30, 2019 | Chloe Angelis

On December 11, 2018, the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance (the “Ordinance”) eliminating required parking minimums citywide for all uses. The vote was 7-4, with Supervisors Cohen, Safai, Stefani, and Yee voting against it. Mayor Breed signed the Ordinance on December 21 and it went into effect on January 21.

Those in favor of the measure called it a forward-thinking policy that brings the Planning Code in line with the City’s Transit-First Policy. Proponents also argued that parking increases the cost to build housing and takes up space that could otherwise be devoted to walk-up residences, retail spaces, or landscaped areas. Those against the change expressed concern that it would hurt seniors and those in parts of the city where public transit options are lacking. To that point, Supervisor Cohen at one point asked that District 10 be carved out from the Ordinance, citing the lack of reliable transit in the area. She later withdrew that request.

In reality, the Planning Department and Commissioners have long been pushing back against proposals that include large amounts of parking, and developers looking to build less than the required amount could already circumvent the minimums by providing increased bike parking instead.

The elimination of the parking requirements was initially recommended by the Planning Commission as part of legislation to amend Better Streets Plan improvement requirements and curb cut restrictions. That legislation aimed to modify the triggers that would require project sponsors to construct streetscape improvements and to expand curb cut restrictions for off-street parking and loading to most zoning districts and certain designated streets, including those on the Citywide Transit Network and any officially adopted bicycle routes or lanes. The substance of that ordinance (BOS File No. 180914) was approved by the mayor on November 20, 2018, and the elimination of parking requirements was pulled out as a separate piece of legislation.

Historically, new residential projects in R districts were generally required to provide one parking space for each dwelling unit. Required parking minimums also applied to most non-residential uses, depending on the specific use type and zoning district.

With the enactment of the new changes, parking will not be required for any use type anywhere in the city.  Accessory parking is still allowed, up to a maximum amount. Previously, a use that triggered a minimum parking requirement could typically include accessory parking up to an amount not exceeding 150% the required number of spaces. Now, there is no minimum number of spaces that must be provided, and most use types may provide up to 1.5 spaces for each one space that was required under the old rules. You can review the maximum parking ratios for each use established by the new ordinance here.

The Ordinance does not amend Section 151.1, which regulates permissible off-street parking in the following districts: NCT, RC, RCD, RTO, Mixed Use, M-1, PDR-1-D, PDR-1-G, and C-3 Districts, and to the Broadway, Excelsior Outer Mission Street, Japantown, North Beach, Polk, and Pacific Avenue Neighborhood Commercial Districts.

As always, parking in excess of the maximum accessory amounts may be permitted only as a separate use, where the zoning controls for the particular district allow.

Notably, the Ordinance includes a grandfathering provision which carves out any project that submitted an environmental or development application prior to the effective date of the Ordinance. Which means that if you already have an application on file, the old rules will continue to apply.

January 31, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Real Property Law Schmooze is on! "Where Do We Go from Here? Fair Housing and Community Development at a Crossroads"

From Lisa Alexander...

[for a version of this post with links, please go here]

Real Property Law Schmooze
"Where Do We Go from Here?
Fair Housing and Community Development at a Crossroads"
Invitation-Only Faculty Workshop
January 31 - February ​2, 201​9
Texas A&M University School of Law
Fort Worth, Texas

The flagship event of the Program in Real Estate and Community Development Law at Texas A&M University School of Law, the Real Property Law Schmooze is an invitation-only workshop focused on the intellectual engagement of property law scholars. This annual event affords property law scholars the opportunity to share unpublished works-in-progress or early-stage ideas with other leading property law scholars at Texas A&M University and beyond. For the past two years, the Program has invited between 15-20 external property law scholars from law schools across the country to the Schmooze. The Schmooze has also been highlighted on national property law blogs.

The 2019 “Where Do We Go from Here? Fair Housing and Community Development at a Crossroads" Schmooze invites 20 legal scholars with expertise in either fair housing law, urban and rural property law, and/or community development law to present unpublished works-in-progress or early-stage ideas. In the wake of the 50th ​anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, and as federal support for fair housing, affordable housing, and community development dwindles, the papers will loosely relate to strategies that can help the fair housing and community development fields bridge longstanding conflicts and come together during this critical time. [Participants may ​submit their papers here.]

Vicki L. Been, the Boxer Family Professor of Law at NYU Law School, Affiliated Professor of Public Policy of the NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, Faculty Director at the NYU Furman Center, and Former Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development for the City of New York, will be the Program in Real Estate and Community Development Law’s Distinguished Real Property Law Keynote Speaker on February 1, 2019. Her presentation, "Inclusive Communities: Learning from its False Premises, Fears, and Framing Choices, through the Lens of Gentrification," is open to the entire law school, including all first-year Property Law students, as it is also co-sponsored by the Texas A&M University School of Law’s Faculty Speaker Series. Professor Been will also participate in the Schmooze.

Scheduled Sessions
Fair Housing & Community Development: Where Do We Go from Here?
Nestor Davidson, Professor of Law, Director, Urban Law Center, Fordham University School of Law
Kristen Barnes, Professor of Law, University of Akron School of Law
Scott Cummings, Professor of Law, Director, Legal Ethics and the Profession (LEAP), University of California Los Angeles Law School

A Second Look at Protected Classes
Robert G. Schwemm, University of Kentucky School of Law
Melvin Kelley, Visiting Assistant Professor, Northeastern University School of Law
Robin Paul Malloy, Director Center on Property, Citizenship & Social Entrepreneurism, Syracuse University College of Law

Implementing Fair Housing and Community Development
Stacy Seichnaydre, Associate Professor of Law & Assoc. Dean for Experiential Learning, Tulane University School of Law
Courtney Anderson, Associate Professor of Law, Georgia State University School of Law
Rigel Oliveri, Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law

Theorizing Fair Housing, Homelessness, and Justice
Lisa T. Alexander, Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law, Co-Director, Program in Real Estate and Community Development Law
Mark Roark, Visiting Professor, Southern University School of Law
Sophia House, Legal Fellow, NYU Furman Center, New York University School of Law
Brandon Weiss, Associate Professor of Law, University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law (Visiting Clinical Professor, Yale Law School)

The Practitioner Perspective Panel
Elizabeth K. Julian from the Inclusive Communities Project (ICP), the named Plaintiffs in the Supreme Court Case, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project

Property, Affordable Housing, and Equality
Michael Diamond, Professor of Law, Georgetown University School of Law
Carol Brown, Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law
John J. Infranca, Suffolk University School of Law

January 30, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Guidebook Released that Provides Communities with Land Use Strategies for Water Conservation – Complementary Workshop on Water Quality Announced

From John Nolon:

Last week, Western Resource Advocates and Pace University’s Land Use Law Center released a guidebook to help growing communities throughout the Interior West to reduce the water footprint of new development.

The guidebook’s January 16th press release states that “While the Interior West is expected to attract millions of new residents over the coming decades, water resources are becoming increasingly scarce in an already arid region, putting greater stress on rivers, cities, farms, ranches, and recreation. The guidebook provides hundreds of techniques, sample codes and policies, and examples to help communities integrate water efficiency and conservation practices into their planning efforts. “This comprehensive guidebook will be an invaluable resource to land use lawyers and planners looking for ways to manage water demands as they face a growing population,” said lead author Jennie Nolon Blanchard, Land Use Law Center attorney and adjunct professor of law at Pace University. The guidebook can be found here:

The Integrating Water Efficiency into Land Use Planning Guidebook

The partner organizations worked for five years training local governmental officials, developing and testing land use tools and techniques, and receiving input from and recommending actions to regional and state agencies. 

This water efficiency project complements the work the Land Use Law Center is doing on water quality protection, focused on the wetter regions of the nation where flooding, stormwater runoff, and sea level rise threaten drinking water supplies.  On March 4th, the Land Use Law Center will conduct a workshop for local officials, practicing attorneys, professors, and students on the complementary tools and techniques it is developing to protect water quality. The program – Calming Troubled Watters: Local Solutions -- will begin at 4 pm, in the Tudor Room of Preston Hall on the Law School’s campus. 

Questions about either of these two water law programs can be sent to Allison Fausner, the Land Use Scholar at the Pace Land Use Law Center and President of the School’s Environmental Law Society. Ms. Fausner can be reached at:

January 23, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Ending the single-family district isn't so simple

I recently published an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about efforts to eliminate single-family districts and how restrictive covenants might make that not such an easy proposition.  

The full op-ed is here.

Here is the beginning:

In December, Minneapolis became the first American city to decide to eliminate single-family residential districts by permitting triplexes in all the city’s residential zones.
Minneapolis is not alone in pursuing a change: Other cities — including Seattle and Portland — are contemplating more dense development in their single-family districts. Legislation in California has contemplated state pre-emption of local single-family zoning around train stations.
California also recently required the permitting of accessory dwelling units (i.e., “in-law” units) in most of the state’s single-family districts.
All these efforts are controversial, but perhaps inevitable: In Minneapolis, 60 percent of the city’s area was designated single-family residential. Many U.S. cities are similarly zoned. If cities want to address housing affordability, racial segregation or climate change in any meaningful way, the single-family district has got to give.
Receiving little attention, however, is the fact that changing the zoning does not ensure the end of the single-family district. Since the Industrial Revolution, this country has had two overlapping systems of land control: one public, implemented through zoning; and one private, implemented through the “restrictive covenant.”
Until the Industrial Revolution, courts disfavored restrictive covenants. But rapidly increasing urbanism and industrialism needed a legal tool to control change. American courts responded by making restrictive covenants easier to use.
By the late 1860s, when Frederick Law Olmsted developed the Chicago suburb of Riverside, Ill., he utilized restrictive covenants to do work now typical of zoning, such as mandatory setbacks. By the early 20th century, whole cities — like Beverly Hills — and neighborhoods within cities — like Country Club in Kansas City, Mo. — were regulated solely by private restrictive covenants that, among their most controversial restrictions, forbade sale to African-Americans.
Racially restrictive covenants were made unenforceable by the Supreme Court’s 1948 decision in Shelley vs. Kraemer. But by then, the public system of zoning, which took off after it was held constitutional in the Supreme Court’s 1926 decision in Euclid vs. Ambler, provided a public alternative to the covenant.
A city could zone out multifamily housing and when mixed with federal mortgage policy that prevented minorities from getting mortgages for single-family homes, create de facto segregation.
Now that Minneapolis and other cities are changing the public regulations, private regulation may well return in force.
Some 20 percent of Americans already live in a community governed by restrictive covenants, such as Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs), where the most common requirement is retention of the single-family residential use. If Minneapolis does not address the private restrictive covenant, it may simply see neighborhoods record restrictive covenants to maintain the single-family nature of the neighborhood by private agreement when no longer mandated by public regulation.

See the rest of the op-ed here.


January 3, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)