Supervisor revises proposed art fee 

click to enlarge Supervisor David Chiu has changed his proposed public art fee. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Supervisor David Chiu has changed his proposed public art fee.

A proposed citywide 1 percent art fee on San Francisco development was scaled back Monday to address developers’ concerns, but public art fans were none too happy.

For 25 years, San Francisco has required downtown developments in excess of 25,000 square feet to spend 1 percent of their construction budget on onsite art.

A proposal to expand that fee citywide and to put some of the revenue into a new art fund had been praised as a way to help local artists and increase public art in areas where it’s nowhere to be seen. The money in the fund was to have been overseen by the Arts Commission and spent on such public art installations, art restorations and nonprofit art groups.

But Board of Supervisors President David Chiu amended the proposal Monday to reflect a compromise he worked out with developers and Mayor Ed Lee’s staff.

“I wanted to expand this citywide,” Chiu said. “But I do know that that was creating heartburn in a lot of other quarters around the city.”

The proposal would now encompass more of South of Market and the southern downtown and apply to only commercial development, not residential, in excess of 25,000 square feet.

While the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee amended the proposal at the request of Chiu, two of the committee’s three members, Supervisors Malia Cohen and Eric Mar, were unhappy with the scaled-back version.  

“I really do feel like it should be citywide,” Mar said. “We want to see more public art throughout the city.”

Chiu said that developers raised concerns that a citywide fee “would create additional challenges to finding financing to actually move forward on those development projects around the city.”

The committee is expected to vote next week on whether to send the scaled back proposal to the full board for a vote.

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