I am curious, why do you do a simple link to DNAL entries on this blog instead of a link to DNAL and the content of the entry?
Because then I only have to edit it in one place.
True, but I am le lazy, and having to click on two different links to consume any comments is hard. #FWP
Then subscribe to the DNA RSS feed too. Problem solved. See? I'm a problem solver.
Truly you are an exemplar of efficiency.
The amazing thing is that any business gets done at all in SF based on these rules. Imagine how awesome a place it would be without the insanity!
Having been loosely involved in pushing paper for NYC businesses, this does start to make NYC seem downright reasonable.
So [rather than dig up their web page], what's the stated mission of the PUC workforce other than collecting PUC fees? I'm aware that the costs of obtaining rights-of-way for 'private' utilities to.. y'know, keep the lights on.. can be staggering in certain developed areas - so is the mandatory contribution keeping civilization from collapsing worse?
Are these "utility hookup fees"?
It seems legit to say that there are extra one-time costs associated with hook-ups that further strain capacity. Some municipal infrastructure stuff will wear out faster than planned. For really large developments, new infrastructure may be needed up-front.
I guess you are saying (in small part) that you'd rather see those one-time hook-up-related costs distributed to all rate payers rather than charge them to new developments? 'Cause when you write "But, it's funny, because I get a bill every month for the water and electricity that I use that charges me for exactly the additional load that I have placed," that just seems.....
If anyone can place new hook-ups with no hook-up fee, then your usage rates would have to go up in response to other people's development (or would have to be higher than "actual costs" to begin with).
$40K or whatever it is may be way to high. The money, as you say, may go to the wrong fund rather than legitimately covering one-time expenses related to increased load. The bureaucratic process may be needlessly cumbersome. I believe you on all those things. I'm not defending your $40K bill.
But that one specific part of the argument that says new hook-ups ought to be covered by usage fees doesn't make sense to me.
These are not hook-up fees (for any reasonable definition of "hook-up fees"). You get charged this shit if you add a second refrigerator to an existing kitchen on the same circuit, or add a second sink to the same source and drain in the same room. Assuming you did your remodeling in a fully legal, permitted manner, which of course you would.
Thanks. Learning is fun.
So, since they aren't usage fees:
I presume you probably don't really want to take this on but.....
CA law (constitution and legislation) requires that fees like this must be for actual costs of providing specific benefits to your property. In theory, you should be able to demand a breakdown of how that $40K is spent to specifically benefit you and your property.
So like an actual hook-up fee: fine (provided its a reasonable estimate of actual expenses). What it sounds like you are talking about: theoretically against state law.
I learned that investigating the possibilities for implementing retail space vacancy taxes here in Berkeley. As a tiny town, commercial real estate has a less than huge number of owners. In some retail districts they seem to keep rents very high, even when the result is years and years worth of lots of vacancies.
So the question we faced is -- and this relates to your observations about fees discouraging new business in The City -- can Berkeley impose a tax or a fee of some kind on vacant retail spaces? Essentially, it would be intended as a punitive measure to encourage the lowering of retail rents. Makes a little sense? Arguably, anyway?
Can't be done, at least not in CA. The punitive fee would deliver no specific benefit to the owner so it would violate CA law -- and arguably the federal constitution (on uncompensated taking). Which sucks.
Some jurisdictions have the crude approximation of a "blight tax" or "blight fee" but these do no good if the property is maintained: vacancy is not in and of itself "blight". Vacancy is by right. A cleanly vacant property can't be penalized.
The same problem that prevents Berkeley from having a retail vacancy tax with any teeth could be a partial solution to excessive fees in San Francisco -- although I don't anyone who'd have obvious incentive to take on that legal fight. In theory though....