Soil contamination tying up Lake Merced gun club lease 

click to enlarge The Pacific Rod and Gun Club says it wants to “better define” language in a Lake Merced lease regarding liability over soil contamination at the site. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • The Pacific Rod and Gun Club says it wants to “better define” language in a Lake Merced lease regarding liability over soil contamination at the site.

The Pacific Rod and Gun Club is nearing a new lease to remain at Lake Merced, but language regarding soil contamination is delaying the agreement.

Spokesman Tyrone Jue of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which earlier this year took over control of land at the lake, said the club is requesting language to be removed regarding liability over soil contamination resulting from the use of lead bullets and clay pigeons prior to 1994. He said an agreement is not set in stone and the SFPUC has pushed back an eviction deadline to Sept. 5 to allow for continued negotiations with gun club management.

“The technical language is about waiving any previous damages or activities on the land,” Jue said. “That’s obviously an issue for us. It puts The City at greater risk.”

The club was scheduled to be evicted from the 14-acre site Wednesday after spending nearly 80 years there. The club was given notice last month after negotiations to sign a new lease failed. The club is the only tenant without a “modern lease,” Steve Ritchie, SFPUC assistant general manager for water enterprise, said at the time.

Jue said the club is attempting to “absolve themselves of any past or future wrongdoing through this new lease.”

Club spokesman Fred Tautenhahn acknowledged the contamination portion of the lease is still “unresolved,” but he said it’s complicated.

“We will not be ducking any responsibility,” Tautenhahn said. “We just need to better define it.”

The modern lease would extend the existing month-to-month agreement while updating the club’s liability insurance, requiring the club to share proceeds from non-lease-agreement events and create an anti-discrimination policy. It also would increase the club’s allotted use of acreage from the 4 it was originally given in 1934 to the 14 it uses today.

Even if the lease is eventually signed, both Jue and Tautenhahn said both parties would need to have separate discussions regarding cleanup of the contaminated soil, which the two parties also don’t see eye to eye on.

Tautenhahn said the club received an independent estimate of $5 million while the SFPUC said it would cost closer to $10 million.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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