Gun club told to vacate Lake Merced after 78 years 

click to enlarge On the move: The Pacific Rod and Gun Club is losing its month-to-month lease Aug. 15 after diagreements with the SFPUC. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • On the move: The Pacific Rod and Gun Club is losing its month-to-month lease Aug. 15 after diagreements with the SFPUC.

The only gun club in San Francisco has less than 30 days to pack up and find a new home.

The Pacific Rod and Gun Club was notified last week by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission that it’s 78-year-old month-to-month lease will end Aug. 15, after months of negotiations to create a new lease went stale.

An eviction notice sent to the gun club from the SFPUC says the desired lease would be month-to-month but require the club to provide liability insurance, abide by anti-discrimination laws and share profits with the SFPUC for any nonlease agreement uses.

“They have a lease for fish and firearms,” said Steve Ritchie, assistant general manager for water. “But if they’re all of a sudden hosting baseball games, charging for it and keeping the revenue, some of that revenue should be shared.”

Ritchie said the proposed lease agreement is not uncommon. Other entities using city property have similar agreements. But the gun club took issue with the new lease and did not sign it by the July 9 deadline.

A spokesman for the gun club did not return calls for comment Tuesday.

The lease is just one point of contention between the gun club and The City. Both parties also don’t see eye to eye on who should clean up the 14-acre plot that has been contaminated by bullet lead and clay pots used by shooters prior to 1994, when those items were no longer used at the site following a state report on environmental impacts.

The SFPUC says it’s the club’s responsibility to clean up, which is estimated to cost $10 million. But club owners received an estimate of about $6 million and don’t believe they should pay the whole sum.

The gun club was established in 1928 as a nonprofit organization aimed at offering development of marksmanship skills, safe and responsible use of firearms and a supervised facility for fishing.

The lease was returned to the SFPUC in May after 62 years of being under Recreation and Park Department jurisdiction.

If the club leaves the property and the 14-acre site is cleaned up, Ritchie said the department would look to expand recreation opportunities on the lake.

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