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Quid Pro Quo: City Taps Live-Work Loft Owners

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Beware, loft cheaters: the board of supervisors has its collective eye on you. Owners of live-work lofts are technically required to use their homes as studio space, too — that's why the city gave fee breaks to the developers who built approximately 3,000 units on the east side of the city between 1988 to 2000. (Before banning live-work construction altogether, following a 2001 moratorium on such construction.) The rule, as it turns out, wasn't all that enforceable, and the city's now feeling a pang of regret over $10 million or so in lost funds; as the lofts were classified as commercial construction, developers were let off the hook on fees that generally cover schools and other localized services. Perhaps hoping to right past wrongs, Supervisor Sophie Maxwell has proposed imposing quid pro quo fees on live-work loft owners— namely, in exchange for said fees, residents would get "real" neighborhood amenities such as sidewalks and better street lighting in their otherwise industrial areas. People who don't volunteer to pay such fees won't, naturally, get shiny new street lamps. But at least one land-use attorney spies another unenforceable policy: "People don't go to planning school to become cops."
· Fees considered for S.F. live-'work' lofts [SF Gate]