A request to renew the lease for a gas station on city-owned land at Portola Drive and Woodside Avenue has turned out to be unexpectedly conroversial. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

A request to renew the lease for a gas station on city-owned land at Portola Drive and Woodside Avenue has turned out to be unexpectedly conroversial. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Vote postponed on controversial gas station lease on public land

A decision on whether to extend a gas station lease on public land for decades was postponed Tuesday amid opposition from those who argued the lease undermines San Francisco’s climate goals and that affordable housing should go on the site instead.

Twin Peaks Auto Care has operated at 598 Portola Dr. for decades, but a proposal to extend its lease on city-owned land for 25 years with a five-year option has fueled mounting opposition in the weeks leading up to the Board of Supervisors vote Tuesday.

Board President Norman Yee, who represents the area, has supported the lease extension, as has the adjacent Midtown Terrace Homeowners Association. But on Tuesday Yee requested a postponement of the vote, which indicated he did not have the six votes needed to approve it. He referred the matter back to a board committee for further discussion. No date has yet been set.

“There are many strong feelings about this item,” Yee said.

Supervisor Matt Haney tweeted his opposition to the proposal hours before the board meeting.

“I cannot support a 25-30 year lease for a gas station on public land,” Haney wrote. “State & city climate goals require phasing out fossil fuels much earlier. Our City has declared a Climate Emergency. There are many other uses for site, including affordable housing.”

Yee has argued that the lease allows the owner to transition away from fossil fuels. But nothing requires it.

Michael Gharib, who acquired the Mobil Oil franchise in 1985, has said he needs the long term lease to help finance an estimated $750,000 replacement of underground single-walled fuel storage tanks with double-walled tanks, as state law requires by 2025.

Yee said the business “is well loved by the neighborhood” and indicated changes to the proposal are expected to address concerns.

“I feel that we need more time to allow the Department of Real Estate and the business owner to discuss and negotiate terms, especially when it comes to making sure that the terms will reflect the compatibility to our environmental goals and not selling fossil fuel by the year 2040,” Yee said.

But some opponents argued after the postponement that The City shouldn’t support any lease extension given the severity of climate change and housing needs.

Shanti Singh, a tenant organizer, said a “gas station on public land is a huge waste of precious resources, especially when Juvenile Hall is closing down right next door and there’s a massive parking lot available.”

“I would like to see a pilot site for social housing, which is on the ballot right now,” Singh said.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsPlanningPoliticssan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott listens at a rally to commemorate the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside City Hall on Monday, June 1, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Will the Biden Administration help SF speed up police reform?

City has struggled to implement changes without federal oversight

Lowell High School (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students, families call for culture shift at Lowell after racist incident

District to explore changes including possible revision of admissions policy

Alan Wong was among California National Guard members deployed to Sacramento to provide security the weekend before the presidential inauguration. (Courtesy photo)
CCSF board member tests positive for COVID-19 after National Guard deployment

Alan Wong spent eight days in Sacramento protecting State Capitol before Inauguration Day

Due to a lack of votes in his favor, record-holding former Giant Barry Bonds (pictured at tribute to Willie McCovey in 2018) will not be entering the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the near future.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Ex-Giants star Barry Bonds again falls short of Hall of Fame

After striking out yet again in his bid to join Major League… Continue reading

San Francisco firefighter Keith Baraka has filed suit against The City alleging discrimination on the basis of race and sexual orientation.<ins></ins>
Gay black firefighter sues city for discrimination

A San Francisco firefighter who says he was harassed and discriminated against… Continue reading

Most Read