City advised to clean up act on surplus property 

click to enlarge Fire chief’s residence, 870 Bush St. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Fire chief’s residence, 870 Bush St.

Mayor Ed Lee recently took the San Francisco Unified School District to task for failing to sell or lease its surplus property. But a new report suggests The City has idle hands of its own when it comes to extracting revenue from surplus property.

The report, from Budget Analyst Harvey Rose’s office, says San Francisco has failed to do anything with 13 of 15 properties that were listed as surplus property in 2004. It describes San Francisco’s general property management policies as dysfunctional, incomplete and inaccurate, with “numerous errors and misclassifications.”

The report identifies 597 properties overseen by city departments, including 42 buildings previously identified as surplus and “at least” another 26 that could be considered surplus. According to city policy, surplus property should be prioritized for affordable-housing projects, but if that’s not possible, departments should seek to sell or lease them.

“Some properties listed are not owned by The City; others are being used for purposes other than what is listed or are under the jurisdiction of departments other than those listed, and the size of some properties was found to be inconsistent with information available from the Assessor’s database,” the report says.

The report also noted that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Port of San Francisco — departments that jointly control 45 city properties — did not respond to requests for information. A requirement that departments provide The City’s director of property and the Board of Supervisors with an inventory annually has been shirked citywide since 2007, the report says.

Supervisor Mark Farrell, who requested the report, called the results “concerning, at best.”

“To have dozens of potential properties lying around vacant is irresponsible and we need to fix the problem,” Farrell said.

The report suggests that the board should request more-accurate information from departments and try to find out more about the 26 identified dormant properties not listed as surplus — including the landmark fire chief’s residence at 870 Bush St., a multiparcel property at 1500 Cesar Chavez St. and various vacant properties.

According to the school district, 10 unused education buildings are listed as surplus property. After the mayor’s criticism, the Board of Education voted Tuesday to sell a dormant school building to San Francisco State University for $11 million.

Mayor’s Office spokeswoman Christine Falvey said Lee has yet to review the report on The City’s surplus.

“The mayor fully expects every department to report and oversee all surplus property to make sure it is being used to its maximum potential,” Falvey said. “The Mayor’s Office has already been in discussions with the city administrator about this topic, and the mayor will review this budget analyst’s report when he receives it.”


Tangle of tracts

  • 597  Properties owned by San Francisco
  • 42 Properties currently listed as surplus
  • 26 Dormant properties identified as potentially surplus
  • 2 Properties transformed into affordable housing, per city policy

Source: Board of Supervisors budget and legislative analyst

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