Inner Sunset Residents Consider Creating A Green Benefit District [Updated]

Tired of fighting for attention from city agencies, several Inner Sunset residents and merchants are working on a plan that will allow property owners to pool their political and financial resources to support desired improvements and maintenance in the neighborhood.

On Tuesday night, supporters gathered at the County Fair Building to gauge interest in forming a Green Benefit District (GBD), which would provide additional maintenance and capital improvements to parks, sidewalks and open spaces in the neighborhood.

In the city's first GBD, the Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill GBD, landscaping, beautification projects, trash and graffiti abatement, new playground equipment, and spaces for dogs have been some of the top priorities.

Potential priorities and projects for the Inner Sunset GBD will be identified based on a survey of neighbors during the formation process.

Photo: Will Carruthers/Hoodline

Proponents said the Inner Sunset is in need of additional capital improvements and maintenance, but securing funds is an ongoing challenge.

"I'm tired of getting very excited because Supervisor London Breed gave us $100,000 to improve the 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way entrance to the park," said GBD supporter Andrea Jadwin. "Then, it turns out that's not enough to cover a simple sidewalk treatment."

Jadwin, former president of Inner Sunset Park Neighbors, is part of a group that started organizing GBD outreach meetings at the suggestion of SF Public Works (SFPW) director Mohammed Nuru.

In 2015, Dogpatch and Potrero Hill residents formed the city's first GBD, to assert greater control over their area as new development came to the neighborhood. Should the Inner Sunset choose to move forward with becoming a GBD, it will have to undergo a six-step process with the city.

A GBD offers neighbors a "one-stop shop to get things done," creates a "platform for neighborhood advocacy and community building," and provides "enhanced services beyond baseline City services," said an SFPW presenter.

Jadwin said becoming a GBD is also a proactive way to address problems neighbors want solved.

Photo: Will Carruthers/Hoodline

If the GBD is enacted, residents who own property would contribute about $150 per year (based on the size of their parcel) into a fund to pay for pre-identified neighborhood projects.

If the GBD is enacted, residents who own property would contribute an annual assessment based on the size of their property into a fund to pay for pre-identified neighborhood projects. In the Dogpatch and Potrero Hill GBD, a 1,000 sq ft condo owner pays $90/year.

The lengthy process outlined in the presentation will take about three years to complete, said Jonathan Goldberg, GBD Program Manager at Public Works, but the process could stop at any stage if there is not enough interest.

After questions about how votes and dues are calculated, Goldberg told residents that the process would not happen without support. 

"You want to choose something that everyone thinks is fair," Goldberg said, noting that a GBD can't be created if residents don't vote for it.

"It's important to understand that [becoming a GBD] is a lot of work," Jean Bogiages, a founding member of the Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill GBD, said after the meeting.

Still, being a GBD gives "more control to local neighborhoods," she said.

For information about future meetings, visit the Inner Sunset GBD website

Update, 2:45pm: An earlier version of this article stated that a member of an Inner Sunset GBD would pay around $150 per year. Since the project is at such an early stage and assessment rates are still undetermined, the article has been updated with the annual fee a sample homeowner in the Dogpatch and Potrero Hill GBD pays.

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Inner sunset residents consider creating a green benefit district