SF gun club told to vacate Lake Merced premises by April 8 for cleanup work

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner File PhotoPacific Rod and Gun Club members trapshoot at the club’s Lake Merced location. Participants purchase tokens and deposit them in a vending box which gives them a specified amount of clay discs to shoot at.

The Pacific Rod and Gun Club has been informed it must vacate its 80-year-old premises along Lake Merced indefinitely by April 8 to make way for a $22 million project to clean up contaminants in the area.

The spring date – which was confirmed in a Dec. 15 letter to the club from its landlord, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission – provides the club with a 90-day extension on its two-year lease that was set to expire Dec. 31.

“The letter that was sent was not an eviction notice, it was a notification that their lease was being terminated per their agreement [and that] we would be providing a 90-day extension for them to vacate the property,” said SFPUC spokesman Tyrone Jue.

The cleanup project, approved by the SFPUC on Oct. 28, involves removing soil contaminated by lead pellets and clay pigeons used at the club prior to 1994, when it switched to more environmentally conscious alternatives.

The club's lease was taken over by the SFPUC in 2012 with the intent to clean the contaminated area around the lake by 2016 per an order from the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Its facilities include six skeet fields, three trap fields, five-stand sporting clays, a duck tower and an indoor small-bore rifle range. The area also has a clubhouse and banquet facility, a caretaker house, restrooms and parking.

The four main skeet fields and four main outbuildings have been designated by The City as historic resources.

On Monday, President Patrick Gilligan said his club is disappointed that it must vacate but remains optimistic it can return to the site once the cleanup is complete. He previously said the SFPUC could do its cleanup work without closing the club.

“We have feared this day for the past several years and are hopeful, given our strong support network coupled with positive conversations with various city agencies, that this eviction is temporary and our great public facility will be allowed to reoccupy the historical site that we have tenanted for over 80 years,” Gilligan wrote in an email to The San Francisco Examiner.

Once the cleanup is complete, the gun club will have the opportunity — along with other neighborhood and community groups — to present a lease plan for the site, which Jue said could include mixed uses.

The club has been at the site since 1934, using about 10 acres of a 14-acre plot of land.

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