Richmond Review

‘Green Benefit District’ Proposed for Inner Sunset

SB green crowd 3-17

A good crowd was present for a presentation about creating a Green Benefit District in the Inner Sunset District.

 

By Jonathan Farrell

The goal of forming a Green Benefit District (GBD) for the

Inner Sunset District has been proposed. A meeting was held on

Feb. 7, at the SF County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park,

with the purpose of forming a GBD to improve greening and

maintenance of public spaces, with expanded services going

beyond what the City delivers with its baseline services.

“The point is to create funding for needed improvements in

the public realm,” said Andrea Jadwin, a local resident who

supports the plan.

Jadwin noted that about 80 people showed up. The first

meeting’s purpose was for outreach, to introduce the GBD

concept to the neighborhood and to request community engagement

and feedback.

Upcoming project phases will include a survey to determine

community needs and priorities. If there is community support to

form a GBD, an outreach process will follow to help develop

a district management plan. Then, there will be a neighborhood-

wide petition and vote by property owners in the proposed

district. A successful petition vote would initiate a formal ballot

election and vote by property owners within the proposed district.

“Green District Benefits are similar to Community Benefit

Districts (CBD) and Business Improvement Districts (BID),

but are geared towards residential rather than

commercial districts,” Jadwin said.

The Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill neighborhoods

formed the City’s first GBD in 2015.

The initial outreach process for the Inner Sunset GBD began

in 2012, involving regularly scheduled public meetings, a

survey and the gathering of statistical information.

The creation of a GBD takes two to three years.

“There are lots of hurdles and milestones that need to be met,”

said Jonathan Goldberg, the manager of the GBD program

for the SF Department of Public Works.

Early supporters of the GBD concept include the Inner Sunset

Merchants’ Association, California Academy of Sciences,

non-profit group Build:Public and

Inner-Sunset Park Neighbors.

Long-time Sunset resident Denis Mosgofian, who has

served on various committees and advisory boards over the

years, attended the meeting. He said it takes a long time to create

a GBD.

“The forming of a GBD is basically an off-shoot of an existing

law regarding CBDs. Authorized by state and local

law (under San Francisco Business Code Article 15A), a

GBD allows individual property owners to vote to assess their

own property in exchange for control over how the assessment

revenues are spent within their neighborhood,” Mosgofian said.

“Efforts at forming a Community Benefit District

(CBD) was tried back in 2014for the Ninth Avenue area, but it

didn’t make it,” he said.

Like Goldberg, he emphasized that interest in forming a

GBD must come from property owners, who foot the bill for the

GBD. A GBD needs to have a defined area, management plan

and budget in place prior to being

pproved by stakeholders.

According to Jadwin, although it took three years or so

for the Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill neighborhoods to

get their improvement districts, organizers in the Inner Sunset

hope to shorten the timeline to two years.

But, regardless of the pace, forming a GBD will require

community cooperation and determination, she added.

The project must be embraced, she said, or it will die.

There is also the possibility that the benefit district could be

extended to the Outer Sunset District.

“Once completed, it will empower the neighborhood and

hopefully, at some point, will includethe Outer Sunset as well,”

Jadwin said.

 

For more information about the proposal to create a Green

Benefit District for the Inner Sunset District, visit the website

at http://www.innersunsetgbd.org.

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