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  • Archive for January 30th, 2015

    Jan 30

    FORMULA RETAIL IN SF – WATCHING STATEWIDE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The wonderfully named “California Peculiarities Employment Law Blog” has a piece on the recently passed “San Francisco Retail Workers Bill of Rights.” Everyone in the commercial, industrial, and/or retail real estate industry should be aware of this law as proponents are already trying to get it adopted in other jurisdictions and there are strong indications that statewide legislation will be introduced.

    Although the measure targets the working relationship between “formula retailers,” defined as businesses with 20 or more locations worldwide that employ 20 or more employees within San Francisco, it also has a huge impact on commercial real estate landlords that have such businesses as tenants.  In particular there is language in the measure that creates “successor employer” obligations similar to AB 350 which was defeated over four years ago, and the measure will apply to certain classes of property service personnel such as janitors.

    A large coalition of employers has already started meeting with legislators to prepare to push back on any bill that would attempt to bring this law to the state as a whole.  We also want to make sure that if you hear of local efforts to push such a measure, you coordinate with other employers, employer groups, and your local association, to educate policymakers as to why this restrictive policy would actually hurt the very employees it ostensibly is meant to help.

    A more detailed review of the measure can also be found here by Clicking here.

    The San Francisco Chamber led the opposition to the measure that went into law without the Mayor’s signature.

    You can read their letter by Clicking here.

    Jan 30

    EV-CHARGING AND PARKING ACCESSIBILITY

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Over the past six months, there has been a growing level of controversy focusing on whether electric vehicle parking spaces should be accessible to those with disabilities.  In response, the Building Standards Commission directed the Division of the State Architect (DSA) to convene a group of stakeholders to identify key issues and make recommendations that would be used by DSA in developing amendments to California’s disabled accessibility building standards.  To date, DSA has conducted six workshops with the seventh planned for February 11th.

    BOMA has been represented at each of these gatherings and the Governor’s Office is now actively engaged with this group as well.

    Of the many issues that have been identified, the two of greatest concern to industry is “what” and “how many.”  Regarding “how many,” some advocates would like to see every EV-charging station (100%) meet the dimensional specifications required for “van-accessible” parking spaces.  This would require parking spaces to be roughly 17-20 feet in width instead of the standard 8-9 feet, effectively taking out at least two parking spaces for each EV-charging station installed.  On behalf of our members we supporting the currently held notion that EV-Charging is a “service” and should be treated no differently than other services which require the standard “4%” accessibility application rule.  Moving to a “100%” suggested by the advocates for the disabled community would unnecessary complicate compliance and could ultimately cause less EV-Charging installations to happen.

    We are participating in the February 11th workshop and are providing comment on the draft regulation prior to being submitted to the Building Standards Commission for processing in the Triennial Code Cycle (effective 1/1/17).

    Jan 30

    EV-READY BUILDING STANDARDS SET TO TAKE EFFECT 7/1/15

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    In response to an Executive Order issued by the Governor in late-2012, the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) and the Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) have adopted regulations to require the installation of Electric Vehicle (EV) ready infrastructure.  As opposed to installing fully operational (and costly) charging stations for electric vehicles, these “EV-ready” building standards would be limited to items which would facilitate the later installation of the charging stations at a significantly reduced cost.

    For example, new commercial buildings having parking lots containing more than 49 spaces will be required to have an electrical panel with enough empty plug slots to allow for the later installation of EV charging equipment.  In addition, there will also need to be one-inch wide conduit (piping) provided for the later installation of the wiring connecting the electrical panel with a point in close proximity to the designated EV service space.

    Environmental organizations and the Air Resource Board (ARB) had argued for the installation of fully functioning EV charging facilities, however, after hearing concerns expressed by us, the CBSC has chosen to move forward with only “EV-ready” regulations.  Doing this also helps avoid issues related to disabled accessibility that will take much longer to resolve.

    For commercial building parking facilities, the required number of EV-Ready parking spaces shall be 1 EV-ready space for every 50 parking spaces.

    These new EV-Ready building standards will apply to projects for which the permit application is submitted to the local building department on or after July 1, 2015.

    Jan 30

    ENERGY CODE; WIRING ALTERATIONS FACT SHEET

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The Nonresidential Lighting Wiring Alterations changes in the latest version of the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards has caused some confusion and consternation that we have brought to the attention of the Energy Commission.  In order to help with compliance they have put together a fact sheet that may help, and may save some time, effort, and capital.

    Click here.

    For assistance with understanding or locating information in the 2013 Energy Standards, contact the Energy Standards Hotline at: (800) 772-3300 (toll-free in California) or via email at title24@energy.ca.gov.

     

    Jan 30

    PPIC POLL SHOWS QUERIES ABOUT PROPOSITION 13

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The most recent PPIC poll asked Californians about a wide variety of topics.  Collectively we gave Governor Jerry Brown a record-high job approval rating.  His budget proposal also has strong bipartisan support.  Strong majorities favor the governor’s plan to require that state employees start contributing to their retirement health coverage.  Extension of taxes in Prop. 30 are also supported.

    However, of particular interest, are the following results regarding Proposition 13… From the press release:

    The survey also asked about potential changes to Proposition 13 that are being discussed. One is to create a “split roll” in which commercial property is taxed according to current market value but Proposition 13 limitations remain in place for residential property. A slim majority (54%) favor a split roll tax. Support is at its lowest point since PPIC began asking the question in January 2012 (60%). Proposition 13 also requires a two-thirds majority at the ballot box for new local special taxes. Should the vote threshold be lowered to 55 percent? Californians are divided on the question, with 46 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed. When Californians are asked their general views of Proposition 13, a record-high 61 percent say it has been mostly a good thing for the state.

    Click here to read the full release and see the poll.

    Jan 30

    NEW LEGISLATION

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    With the start of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session we are starting to see new bills introduced.  Legislators can introduce new measure up until the “Bill Introduction Deadline,” on February 27.  We expect up to 2,500 introductions, with a large majority of them coming the two weeks before the deadline.  We are reading every bill that is introduced and identifying those that may have an impact on your business.