Background

 In November of 2012, a group of community leaders from the Dogpatch and Potrero Hill neighborhoods convened with Build Public, a local non-profit organization, to explore the potential of forming a GBD. Their goals were clear: a desire to improve maintenance of existing publicly accessible green spaces, including open space, and parks, informal community gardens, and sidewalk greenings; to develop new “green infrastructure”; to improve the long term ecological health of the neighborhood; and to fund the creation of new open spaces, parks and gardens. The Dogpatch & Northwest Potrero Hill GBD’s budget and assessment will grow in exact proportion to, and at the same rate as, new residential and commercial development to ensure that new development contributes its fair share toward offsetting the expenses. 

A Dogpatch & Northwest Potrero Hill GBD Formation Committee was established in 2012 to guide the formation process for the GBD and ensure that a diversity of community opinions and voices were incorporated into the Dogpatch & Northwest Potrero Hill GBD’s vision, mission, and budget proposals to the community. The Formation Committee members include landowners, tenants, developers, condominium owners, renters and advocates for improvements to Public Realm areas. After eight months of extensive community outreach, ten public meetings, and a professionally designed survey that showed statistically significant support for formation of a GBD in the neighborhood, Northwest Potrero Hill and the Dogpatch emerged as the two areas with the greatest support for the formation of a GBD. Because of this support, the Formation Committee voted to move forward with the formation of the GBD in these two areas.

The community's feedback informed the Management Plan which was drafted by the Formation Committee and Build Public during the Fall and Winter of 2013. The Management Plan underwent thorough city review through 2014 and was approved in March of 2015. A property owner petition was circulated District-wide in the Spring of 2015, which received sufficient support to trigger a City-initiated ballot process, again of property owners within the proposed District. Though only a simple majority of supportive votes were required to form the GBD, the GBD received over 76% of affirmative votes. On July 31, 2015, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the creation of the first ever Green Benefit District!


Timeline 

Nov 2012 – GBD idea originates, initial Formation Committee convenes

Spring 2013 – Green Spaces Survey

The Formation Committee solicited opinions from the community as to the types of public benefit services desired, and the level of assessment residents would be willing to pay. Over 650 neighbors shared their opinions and priorities through a Green Spaces Survey, conducted by third party consultants. The information gathered in the survey helped the Formation Committee prepare a Draft Management Plan, which was presented to the community for feedback through a series of workshops.

Oct - Nov 2013 – Community Workshops

Eight distinct community workshops and presentations were conducted in the Fall of 2013 to solicit feedback and to share ideas regarding the GBD. Feedback was incorporated into the Management Plan and Green Vision Plan. See Outreach page for details.

Feb 2014 – Mar 2015 – Management Plan Development and Review

The Formation Committee used the survey and community feedback data to draft the Management Plan, the governing document for the district, and the Green Vision Plan, a visioning document that organizes and prioritizes aspirational projects for the community. The Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and City Attorneys then reviewed and requested edits to the Management Plan. Once all parties agreed on the final Management Plan language, the City Attorney issues an opinion, hopefully a recommendation, to the Board of Supervisors.

April 2015 – Petition Phase

The approved Management Plan and Green Vision Plan can be found on the GBD Resources page. The Formation Committee created and distributed a Petition of Support to all property owners within the proposed District. The Committee must receive support for formation of the District from property owners who will be paying 30% or more of the total assessment budget. Once that has been accomplished the Formation Committee then submits the Petition and responses to OEWD, who submits a Resolution of Intent to the Board of Supervisors to begin the Ballot Phase. 

May-June 2015 – Ballot Phase

Upon successful submission of the Petition to OEWD in the Petition Phase, the Board of Supervisors adopts a Resolution of Intent to form the District, which sets an official ballot process in motion managed by the San Francisco Board of Elections. Ballots are mailed to all property owners within the proposed District, who then have the opportunity to vote for or against the GBD. Voters must return the ballot in 45 days. In order for the Board of Supervisors to adopt the GBD, a simple majority of over 50% of ballots returned must be in support of the District.

Nov 2015 – Assessments Begin

Within six months of Board of Supervisors approval, the Assessor's Office begins collecting the new assessment revenues and sending these monies to a newly formed GBD nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of local property owners and non-property owning stakeholders. The GBD Formation Committee assisted in the creation of this nonprofit.

December 2015 - New GBD Board elected and operational