October Advocacy Update: Some Crisis Averted; Some Concerns Still Exist
Thursday, October 12, 2017
by: Matthew Vacchi, California Strategies

Section: Government Affairs

In several calls and joining us at our BOMA San Diego Government Affairs Committee meeting, Matthew Hargrove of the California Business Properties Association (CBPA) discussed active and pertinent bills in the State Legislature that have potential impacts for BOMA and the commercial real estate industry as a whole. The State Legislative session wrapped up for 2017 on Saturday, September 16th, and overall the CBPA was successful in identifying and amending bills for the betterment of the commercial real estate industry throughout this year’s session.  None of the bills that moved out of the Legislature to the Governor this session contain major changes for the industry, which is a result of the Legislature’s focus on Federal issues which took attention away from land use and other industry-specific issues. 
Some of the more notable bills discussed during the call were SB 2, SB 3 and SB 35 which relate to Affordable Housing.  BOMA San Diego was a supporter of SB 2, authored by San Diego Senator Toni Atkins.  It is projected to raise several hundred million dollars for affordable housing.  BOMA San Diego has been advocating for affordable housing funding as an important means of making sure there is a balance of housing, including workforce housing, in the San Diego market.
AB 1059 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher was also discussed in some detail. The measure is a proposed ban on Dual Agency transactions/firms in California real estate.  The bill's sponsor, a local tenant rep firm, is pushing for this measure and it is likely to return in the next legislative session.
AB 890 was also discussed, and CBPA will send a veto request to the Governor for this particular bill as it would function as an anti-CEQA reform, although it was noted that BOMA might not have to weigh in on the bill directly.  CEQA reform is an important component of the real estate and economic development picture in California, and something the Governor has championed.  Unfortunately, this measure's focus will only add cost and not live up to its billed expectations.
City of San Diego Proposed Water Rate Alternatives Update - big changes potentially afoot for water rates to City customers
The City of San Diego is embarking on a review of water rate alternatives that could significantly alter the way water is billed to customers in the City's service area.  During the Last BOMA San Diego Government Affairs Committee meeting, Matthew Vacchi of California Strategies gave an introduction and update regarding the City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department’s proposed water rate alternatives analysis. The stated intent by city staff is to achieve better revenue stability and efficient level of water use, while also promoting water conservation.  Several ideas are being researched by the city, including increasing fixed charges and changing to an increasing "block rate" structure. 
You can find more information on the city's efforts here: https://www.sandiego.gov/water/rates/workshop
SD PUD is currently in a stakeholder and community outreach process to gather input and put together several scenarios to eventually be considered by the Mayor and City Council.  BOMA San Diego is currently on the list of stakeholders SD PUD is meeting with to discuss the impact water rates have on commercial properties.  This discussion is currently being scheduled for an upcoming Government Affairs Committee meeting. 
Please stay tuned as the proposal could mean a significant change in costs for you and your tenants.
County of San Diego Climate Action Plan - New plan could impose significant mandates on new and existing commercial buildings in the unincorporated county
BOMA San Diego recently met with the County of San Diego's Planning and Development Services Department to review their draft Climate Action Plan.  BOMA has been involved in the region on this important subject as a stakeholder for the commercial real estate community.  The Climate Action Plans could impose significant requirements on new and existing commercial and residential structures.
The County of San Diego is currently in the process of drafting their Climate Action Plan to be considered by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in early 2018.  This new plan is coming on the heels of the County's loss in court to a lawsuit challenging the plan's sufficiency. 
Here is the link to the County's plan
webpage: http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/pds/advance/climateactionplan.html
The County recently released an EIR analyzing potential impacts of the CAP for review and are collecting comments to compile feedback and assess alternatives.  Their main focus is on reduction measures for the Built Environment & Transportation, Energy, Solid Waste and Waste & Wastewater areas. 
The Built Environment & Transportation sections goals are reductions number and length of trips, development of smarter Land Use plans and encouragement of electric vehicles, among other alternatives.  This could include the requirement for Transportation Demand Management programs and reduced parking on projects, which could ultimately impact tenants and how they accommodate their employees and guests.
The Energy section is concerned with increasing renewable energy supply, streamlining access to renewable energy and improving efficiency.  There could be new mandatory requirements for installation of renewable energy in new and existing buildings, so this is a notable area of concern to BOMA.
The Solid Waste section mainly concerns encouraging expansion of solid waste diversion. BOMA has been involved in the diversion discussion at the city, and will closely monitor this issue to make sure the program is fair and feasible.
Finally, the Water & Wastewater section focuses on encouraging conservation and providing incentives to encourage rainwater collection and use. 
The County’s next steps beyond the current Public Review and Engagement stage include the adoption
of the finalized CAP and EIR following presentations to the County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.  This adoption would lead to the implementation of the CAP, followed by monitoring and review of progress and greenhouse gas inventory, ultimately leading to a full update of the CAP every five years.
BOMA will continue to participate as a stakeholder and argue for fair, feasible changes that result in accomplishing the County's goals without harming the need for access to jobs and other services in the County unincorporated area.

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