About GBV | GBD

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As Proposed:
The Greater Buena Vista
Green Benefit District!

2nd Community Meeting Alert - Visioning GBD Services
June 11 2018 | Jr Randall Museum | 199 Museum Way SF CA
Meeting Scheduled From 6:30-8PM

An initial committee of interested property owners is working with San Francisco Public Works (Jonathan Goldberg) to initiate outreach and survey property owners within the proposed district’s boundaries. If survey results demonstrate sufficient property owner support to form a Green Benefit District, then the committee will draft a Management District Plan for proposed district services and improvements. A specialized consultant (Assessment Engineer) works in concert with the committee to draft an Engineer’s Report, which determines the appropriate/fair assessment amounts for property owners based on a specific formula that acknowledges distance from open space(s) being improved, size of property, etc.

FAQ's Section Take The Survey

May 2018 Community Meeting Notes

May 2018 Community Meeting Slides

2015 BVP Capital Improvements Plan

Our Goals

Surveys Conducted 50% (502 of 1000)
Owners Contacted 100% (3172 of 3172)
Funds Raised 11.3% ($3.5K of $31K)
Open Spaces Included 100% (8 of 8)


50% + 1 Vote
Owner Approval

Get Involved

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Become A Block Captain

Block Captains will help with outreach on one or more blocks of the proposed district. Their role is critical as the more one-on-one contact we have with property owners in the district, the better chance we have of gaining the votes to establish a district.

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Conduct Surveys

An initial survey to see who uses our two main neighborhood parks (BVP and Corona Heights) will be conducted on September 12th from 4-6pm. If this goes well we will host additional surveys at different times of the day and different days of the week.

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Provide Special Skills

Do you have special skills with graphic design or preparation of promotional materials? Are you experienced with meeting presentation and process? What about website management or newsletter production? We would love your help!

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I. Engineers

Est. Need - $15,000

II. Management

Est. Need - $5,000

III. Website And

Est. Need - $6,000

  • Essential Tool
  • Development & Updates
  • Neighborhood Outreach

IV. Community

Est. Need - $5000

  • Materials
  • Mailings
  • Printing

FAQ Section

01. Green Benefit District (GBD)

A Green Benefit District (GBD) is an innovative tool that allows residents to directly invest in specific enhancements to open spaces in their community, providing services that are above and beyond baseline City services. These additional services and improvements are funded by a local property assessment, which appears on the City’s annual property tax bill. This is the main difference between a tax and an assessment: funds collected for an assessment are locally controlled by the neighborhood GBD, not the City. GBDs are authorized by state and local law (San Francisco Business Code Article 15A).
Yes, there is one in the Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill neighborhoods. Currently, there are three other neighborhoods exploring formation of a GBD, including the Inner Sunset, Dolores Park, and Buena Vista. The GBD program is modeled on San Francisco’s successful Community Benefit District program, with 15 districts throughout the City. Whereas CBDs focus on economic development in primarily commercial areas, GBDs focus on public realm improvements in primarily residential neighborhoods.
No, the assessment is not permanent. A District can exist for 5 to 15 years, as determined by local property owners. If property owners are interested to renew the District after this term is up, the formation process must start over.
We are in an exploratory phase for a Buena Vista GBD and do not yet know how much the assessment would be. Before we can answer this question, we need to introduce and explore this concept with other neighbors to determine if there’s any interest in a GBD in our community.
We do not yet know this. The Buena Vista GBD must first go through an extensive community engagement process to identify the specific types of services and projects desired, and also to evaluate the willingness to pay among property owners. Ultimately, the District budget will depend on: the number of properties within the District boundaries and assessment methodology.
Each property owner’s annual assessment is legally required to be determined and calculated by a licensed Assessment Engineer. This Assessment Engineer creates an “assessment methodology” that is applied to all properties in the proposed District, which is used to calculate annual assessments. Assessment methodologies are based on parcel characteristics, such as land use, building size, lot size, or street frontage. The Assessment Engineer consults with local property owners to determine an assessment methodology that is fair, representative, and proportional across all assessed property owners.
Assessment rates can be decreased by any amount, but any increase is limited to a maximum of the percentage increase in the Bay Area Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 3% - whichever figure is less. Changes to annual assessment rates must be voted-on and approved by the GBD Board of Directors.
No. San Francisco’s Article 15A expressly prohibits a GBD from replacing City services and improvements. A GBD is legally required to fund services and improvements that are above and beyond the City’s existing baseline.
This designation “above and beyond” does not depend on the nature of the activity (i.e. weeding, sweeping) but on the current level of service being provided. Other activities that might be prioritized (i.e. programming and educational classes) and that do not exist are more obvious as extra services. A GBD also requires City agencies to clearly identify what they are supposed to be providing, and holds the City accountable to that baseline (non-performance is reported to the Board of Supervisors).
The City had countless priorities that are perennially underfunded from one collective pot of funds. Parks and open spaces get a small slice – less than 2% – of the City’s annual budget. Furthermore, our local priorities for neighborhood parks and open spaces barely get attention or any funding at all.
Our efforts seek to leverage RPD’s existing funding and services with additional resources that are determined and controlled by neighbors.
A community process determine the specific services and projects to be provided by a GBD. Types of additional services and projects:
*Grant writing and fundraising
*Advocacy for local neighborhood priorities and to address urgent community concerns
*Design and planning
*Specialty landscape projects that leverage existing RPD efforts
*Environmental management and restoration projects, such as erosion control, water conservation, and carbon sequestration
*Security projects (perimeter lighting, hazardous tree pruning, path repair)
*Community-initiated art projects
*Enhanced community programming in partnership with education and recreation providers (i.e. Randall Museum, Nature in the City, health activity specialists) to conduct classes in the park for all ( i.e. yoga, Tai Chi, Birds & Mammals of Buena Vista/Corona Heights, Art In the Park)
The formation process requires continuous community engagement and outreach. Members of the community can provide input on priority services and projects at multiple stages – including the neighborhood-wide survey and an interactive workshop. If there’s local interest to initiate the development of a Management Plan, stakeholders will determine the priority projects and services for a Greater Buena Vista GBD.
State and local law requires that a non-profit organization, representative of the neighborhood, is established to implement the GBD’s community-derived goals. The organization is managed by a Board of Directors (10-25 people) that would represent the diverse open spaces and residents of the district. The limits of the Board’s governance and spending authority are pre-defined in the GBD’s Management Plan. Moreover, the GBD is subject to standard non-profit rules of governance, including ethical rules governing disclosure of conflicts of interest and prohibitions against self-dealing.
GBD assessments are quite different than parcel taxes. GBD funds can only be spent in the neighborhood where they are collected, and are managed by our own neighbor-residing Board of Directors that has established a non-profit organization for this purpose. Parcel taxes get spread across the City and we have no control how or where the funds are spent.

If you have additional questions, please contact Jonathan Goldberg, Green Benefit District Program Manager at San Francisco Public Works. He serves as the City’s liaison to help neighborhood groups considering the establishment of a GBD. He can be reached at jonathan.goldberg@sfdpw.org

02. Other Benefits Of A GBD

Provides dedicated, reliable resources to implement neighborhood priorities for its public realm that are above and beyond the City’s baseline services in a timely and cost-effective manner, making the district’s public spaces cleaner, safer, more accessible, attractive and lively for the community.
A GBD provides district property owners with direct oversight in how their funds are used in the neighborhood open spaces, and ensures a high degree of transparency though the public engagement process of the non-profit organization established to manage the district. It can also provide a platform to advocate for the delivery of the City’s existing commitments to public spaces.
The GBD staff person will stay on top of open space issues, provide a presence as needed at hearings or participate in planning processes, to help ensure that the neighborhood interests in open space topics are well represented, augmenting existing volunteer efforts in this arena.
A GBD can leverage additional capital for the neighborhood in two ways: (1) using a GBD matching grant line item in the budget, the district can apply for government grants that often require a match and (2) making a focused effort to solicit additional private funding for special projects.
The GBD staff person will work to broadcast existing volunteer work days to generate more participation and solicit volunteer groups and individual volunteers who are available during the week.

03. GBD Formation Steps

Community leaders create a steering committee and explore whether and how a GBD could work. They conduct a professional online survey to develop a more nuanced understanding of the neighborhood’s priorities, concerns and willingness to support a GBD. We plan to conduct a user survey as well at the larger open spaces (depending on volunteer help) to garner additional information on users and their priorities (click here to volunteer). The survey results help to determine whether the initiative proceeds to the next step - and if so, where the boundaries of the proposed GBD might be most effective.
The community must create a management plan that outlines the goals, boundaries, services and assessment methodology for their proposed district. This step includes an extensive public outreach and benefit evaluation process, to ensure that a GBD boundaries contains only parcels that will receive a special benefit from proposed services, activities and improvements. This plan must be approved by the City Attorney's office.
Next, the community launches a petition process to obtain a Board of Supervisors' approval to initiate a ballot. To be successful, the petition must be signed by at least 30% of property owners in the proposed district, weighted by individual property owners' contributions to the district budget.
If the petition phase demonstrates sufficient support and the Board of Supervisors approves, an assessment ballot proceeding is launched. The Department of Elections issues a ballot to the property owners within the proposed boundaries of a GBD. For the district to be formed, a simple majority (50% plus one) of the returned weighted ballots must be in favor. If the vote hits this required mark, the Board of Supervisors will adopt an ordinance to officially establish a GBD.

04. Local GBD's

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 included landowners, tenants, developers, condominium owners, renters, advocates for improvements to Public Realm areas, as well as Build Public to provide formation assistance and support.
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.

Website Link >>

The Inner Sunset has been exploring the creation of a GBD for over 2 years. A number of residents, merchants and other members of the Inner Sunset community have long been involved in local planning issues, interfacing with City agencies and participating in community meetings to advocate for neighborhood-scale improvements. In 2014, the community supported the Inner Sunset Neighborhood Survey to assess the values and needs of neighborhood, as well as to inform future planning efforts. Survey findings demonstrated a desire for streetscape improvements, enhanced pedestrian and bicycle safety, and community spaces.The initiative is now getting close to presenting their case to the Board of Supervisors.

Website Link >>

05. How To Get Involved

There are several opportunities to volunteer your talent! To learn more about ways to get involved read our Volunteer PDF Guide
You can also email or call us with the information below.
The Survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and is essential to the success of the GBD information gathering process.

Contact Us

Send us an email Message | Call us at 415-324-8606 | Or complete the form below