S.F. to expand mid-Market benefit district, add new one in North Beach

Formation of special districts where property owners pay a fee to fund services such as security and graffiti cleanup beyond what The City can provide is an increasing trend and one celebrated by Mayor Ed Lee.

On Thursday, the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee approved moving forward with the renewal and expansion of the Central Market Community Benefit District and the formation of the Top of Broadway Benefit District.

Allowed under a 1996 state law, these districts are likened to a homeowners association, except they are for an entire neighborhood. Eleven are currently in operation, including for Ocean Avenue, Civic Center, Union Square and the Castro district.

Brian Smith, owner of Huckleberry Bicycles, credited the mid-Market Street district, which launched in 2007, for his “very successful” business that opened on Market Street between Sixth and Seventh streets nearly two years ago.

“I don’t think that we could have done it without the foundation that was laid by the CBD,” Smith said. “It is really critical for my now nine employees and thousands of customers to feel safe and comfortable coming to the neighborhood, and coming into my bicycle shop and getting on an expensive bike, riding it around this neighborhood.”

The 141-parcel district, which runs along Market Street between Fifth and 10th streets toward Mission Street, would grow to include a total of 806 parcels, comprising both sides of Mission Street and the area around Sixth Street, formerly overseen by the now-defunct Redevelopment Agency.

Highlights of the Central Market district include removing 6,793 graffiti tags, helping 15,074 visitors, answering 56,034 cleaning and maintenance requests, reporting 17,482 crimes, interacting with 9,026 homeless people and creating 143 marketing events.

For the renewal and expansion to go into effect, a majority of the Board of Supervisors have to vote in favor, along with a majority of the assessed property owners. That vote is scheduled for July 23.

If approved, the assessments would total $1.18 million a year for 15 years. Adding in 3 percent increase for inflation during that time, the district would generate $22 million.

A vote also will occur July 23 on forming the Top of Broadway district, which includes Broadway between Montgomery Street and Columbus Avenue and the east side of Columbus between Grant and Pacific avenues. The 39-parcel district would generate about $106,000 in its first year, and pay for such things as marketing and sidewalk cleaning.  

In February, the mayor hailed these districts as “a prime example of successful public-private partnerships.”


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