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Los Angeles-based KB Home is finishing grading of its Quarry Heights project in the former quarry on a hillside overlooking Petaluma from the southwest. The builder plans to have models completed by spring for the 142-townhome Stoneridge at Quarry Heights and 130-single-family-home Sterling Hills at Quarry Heights developments, according to spokesman Craig LeMessurier.

The builder's approach to the slow market for new homes in the past four years is build-to-order within three to four months based on buyer selections. A sales trailer will be set up at the site in January. Stoneridge has nine floorplans ranging in size from 1,850 to 2,410 square feet and three to four bedrooms. Sterling has eight floorplans with 1,348 to 2,880 square feet in one or two stories.

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A number of property-related bills passed the Legislature by the end of the 2009-10 session:

* Assembly Bill 737 by Wes Chesbro, D-Eureka, mandates commercial recycling at multifamily complexes and other private buildings, which are said to account for two-thirds of the state's solid waste. The 1989 CalRecycle regulations would call for 75 percent of trash to be diverted from landfills by 2020. The bill awaits the governor's signature.

* Assembly Bill 1693 by Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, would extend the adoption cycle for building codes to 18 months from 12 months. The governor signed it Aug. 17.

Bills that didn't move forward at the end of the 2009-10 session were:

* Senate Bill 7 by Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, would have fixed the state fire code to allow for larger buildings. The adopted 2009 International Building Code, set to take effect Jan. 1, would require exits to be within 250 feet for single-story warehouses. The bill would allow exits to be within 400 feet if minimum clear heights are 30 feet and an early-suppression fast-response, or ESFR, sprinkler system is installed.

* Assembly Bill 1581 by Art Torres, D-Pomona, would have exempted retail projects from the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, if they had significant savings in water and energy use.

* Assembly Bill 2492 by Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, was part of an effort to capture more property taxes from commercial properties than allowed under three-decade-old Proposition 13. It would have considered the property to have been sold if significant holding entities of the property changed hands.

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PEX pipe, or cross-linked polyethylene flexible plastic pipe, is back in the California Plumbing Code, thanks to the Aug. 18 certification of an environmental impact report by the California Building Standards Commission.

PEX was excluded from the 2007 code for water piping, but the commission removed that exclusion in January 2009. A court order required the exclusion to be put back in, which became effective July 1 of this year. The certification of the environmental report complies with a lawsuit settlement agreement, according to the commission.

[caption id="attachment_23912" align="alignleft" width="108" caption="Tom LeDuc"][/caption]

LeDuc & Dexter Plumbing of Santa Rosa has been using PEX for years, particularly in radiant-heating coils embedded in concrete floors and in residential piping, according to President Tom LeDuc.

"It will not deteriorate in the concrete the way steel and copper pipe will," he said. "For domestic water; the system is much quieter than copper, and there is some insulation value to it. PEX also will not burst when it freezes."

PEX isn't used often in commercial applications such as wineries because rigid piping is preferred for exposed overhead racking, he said.

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Basin Street Properties has signed 15,000 square feet of office leases in Petaluma, a market that has struggled since the contraction of the local telecommunications product development cluster several years ago.

Architectural firm Stantec signed a five-year lease for 10,600 square feet at Redwood Business Center in a move from 1137 N. McDowell Blvd.

Telecom startup Cyan Optics added 5,000 square feet in that same building for lab space in a five-year lease expansion deal.

To make way for the expansion of photovoltaic power systems developer Enphase Energy at the Waterfront Office Building in downtown Petaluma, Basin Street Properties relocated from 4,400 square feet in that building to 4,100 square feet at Redwood Business Center.

Josh Lindberg of Cushman & Wakefield represented Basin Street, and Jason Hoffman of Mohr Partners represented Stantec.

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Thomas Faherty and William Bylund, principals of Valley Architects in St. Helena, celebrate 30 years in business this year. The firm works on a number of winery projects such as the Ceja Vineyards expansion in the Los Carneros area of Napa County.

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Submit items for this column to Jeff Quackenbush at jquackenbush@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4256 or fax 707-521-5292.