Frequently Asked Questions
What is a community benefit district?
A CBD (community benefit district) is a special assessment district that provides for the levy and collection of assessments on properties within a geographically defined area. Assessment revenue collected from the benefitting properties pays the costs associated with the improvements, services, and activities provided to the CBD area.
CBDs serve as highly successful funding mechanisms for district improvements, services, and activities. Some notable CBDs/BIDs include: the Greater Union Square BID in San Francisco, the LA Fashion District BID in Los Angeles, and the Times Square BID in New York City. Existing neighborhood based CBDs/BIDs in San Francisco include the Tenderloin, Civic Center, Noe Valley, and Upper Market/Castro, among other places. There are currently 13 other BIDs/CBDs in operation throughout San Francisco.
What is the Lower Polk Community Benefit District’s (LPCBD) mission?
Our mission is to improve the quality of life for people in the Lower Polk neighborhood.
What is the history of the LPCBD?
In 2001, a group of community stakeholders interested in revitalizing the Lower Polk commercial district formed the Lower Polk Neighborhood Organization (LPN). This neighborhood organization, with a strong membership of residents and merchants, meets monthly to discuss and implement neighborhood programs that focus on key issues of crime, beautification, and strengthening of the community.
The LPCBD Steering Committee was formed in July 2013 to promote the vision for the neighborhood commercial corridor and it includes representation of residents, business owners, nonprofit agency representatives, and property owners.
The Steering Committee’s vision for the Lower Polk neighborhood:
- A clean and safe neighborhood with places to gather and congregate, including public or open space;
- A neighborhood that is welcoming to diverse populations and reflects a mix of businesses that offer goods and services that meet the needs of the residents of the neighborhood;
- A neighborhood that promotes art and culture;
- A vibrant and viable neighborhood commercial district with flourishing small businesses and a community-friendly atmosphere;
- A neighborhood appearance that reflects the local history and culture;
The above is fostered by:
- Utilizing community-based City/NGO/business partnerships to address current issues and to encourage responsible stewardship for change;
- Focusing on distinct architectural elements and street design to promote interesting experiences and qualities;
- Encouraging CPMC to provide access to quality medical care to the residents of the neighborhood; to use local businesses for services and goods; and to hire local residents;
- Utilizing funding from CPMC and others for capital projects focusing on neighborhood and community safety, health, and cleanliness issues and events (such as farmer’s markets and block activations), and for streets and alleys improvements within the neighborhood
Property owners establish community improvement districts to provide a constant funding source for various improvements, services, and activities that benefit all people within a defined geographical area. The improvements, services, and activities can include providing enhanced cleaning and maintenance services, improving security, providing for economic development to promote and revitalize an area, and other programs found to benefit people in an area. The ongoing revenue stream for the improvements, services, and activities comes from the annual assessments that are levied upon properties within the area following a formal petition and ballot approval process by the weighted majority of those assessed and then only after public hearings and approval by the Board of Supervisors.
What are the district boundaries?
Approximately 22 whole or partial blocks, the boundaries of the proposed LPCBD are:
California St. from Larkin St. to Van Ness Ave. (South side only)
Van Ness Ave. from California St. to Post St. (East side only)
Post Street from Van Ness Ave. to Franklin Street (South Side only)
Franklin St. from Post St. to Geary. Blvd. (East side only)
Geary Blvd. from Franklin St. to Van Ness Ave. (North side only)
Van Ness Ave. from Geary Blvd. to Alice B. Toklas Pl. (East side only)
Alice B. Toklas Pl. from Van Ness Ave. to Polk St. (North side only)
Myrtle St. from Polk St. to Larkin St. (North side only)
Larkin St. from Myrtle St. to California St. (West Side Only)
In addition to the above boundary description, the District boundaries also include
Assessor’s Parcel No. 0716 -002, with the following boundaries:
Myrtle Street from Larkin Street to Northwest corner of Assessor’s Parcel No. 0716-002 (North side of Assessor’s Parcel No. 0716 -002 only)
Larkin Street from Myrtle Street to O’Farrell Street (West side of Assessor’s Parcel No. 0716 -002 only)
O’Farrell Street from Larkin Street to Southwest corner of Assessor’s Parcel No. 0716-002 (South side of Assessor’s Parcel No. 0716-002 only)
Southwest Corner of Assessor’s Parcel No. 0716-002 (Westside of Assessor’s Parcel No 0716-002) to Northwest Corner of Assessor’s Parcel No. 0716-002
What services does the LPCBD provide?
- Ambassadors – monitoring street conditions, conducting social service outreach, pedestrian safety, and merchant outreach.
- Cleaning and Maintenance – daily sweeping, pressure washing, garbage and graffiti removal.
- Economic Development – retail attraction, retention and technical support.
- Management – including handling of day-to-day operations, advocacy, grant writing, financials, and all administrative tasks.
What happens to existing City services?
Existing City services continue. The Board of Supervisors, by adopting the LPCBD Management Plan, confirmed its intention to support new services in addition to the City services already provided. A baseline document detailing these services was compiled by the steering committee prior to the implementation of LPCBD services.
How is the LPCBD governed and operated?
The LPCBD Management Plan, approved in both the petition and voting processes, is the legal document that determines the structure and actions of the LPCBD. In developing a governance structure, the Management Plan uses a stakeholder model to ensure representation from all key constituencies and areas of the district. The LPCBD management, a nonprofit organization, was created to manage the district. It hires paid staff and sub-contractors to implement services outlined in the Management Plan. LPCBD’s management currently has hired an executive director, administrative staff and outreach ambassador, and is working with its board, multiple committees and contractors to advance services. The LPCBD also works with the City’s HSA (Human Services Agency) to employ interns to train in the services that the LPCBD provides.
What is the LPCBD’s budget?
Year Fiscal Year Total Maximum Annual Assessment Revenue
1 2014/15 $799,093.54
2 2015/16 $823,066.35
3 2016/17 $847,758.34
4 2017/18 $873,191.09
5 2018/19 $899,386.82
6 2019/20 $926,368.42
7 2020/21 $954,159.47
8 2021/22 $982,784.25
9 2022/23 $1,012,267.78
10 2023/24 $1,042,635.81
11 2024/25 $1,073,914.88
12 2025/26 $1,106,132.33
13 2026/27 $1,139,316.30
14 2027/28 $1,173,495.79
15 2028/29 $1,208,700.66
What is the allocation of funds?
57% – Cleaning, Safety & Maintenance
28% – Operations & Management
11% – District identity, Marketing & Events
4% – Contingency & Reserves
Who makes up the Board of Directors?
Our Board of Directors consists of 11 seats in total. Of these seats, six represent property owners, two represent community- based organizations or residents in the district and three represent non-property owning merchants operating in the district.
When are the Board of Directors meetings?
We value your feedback. LPCBD encourages participation in the public meetings. Meetings and agendas are posted at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library and on our website here. The full Board meets the third Friday of every month from 10-11 a.m. at 1170 Sutter Street, between Larkin Street and Polk Street.
How are assessments calculated and where can I find out the amount of my assessment?
Assessments, which are fees for services approved by district property owners, vary according to property. Each property assessment is listed in the Management Plan, along with the methodology used to determine fees. The plan is posted on the LPCBD Web site. The City Assessor’s office also can be contacted to determine fees. The assessment methodology in the Management Plan was endorsed by the LPCBD Steering Committee as the most fair and equitable method of assessments to parcels included in the district. Annual assessments are based on one or more of four property factors:
- Linear frontage of the lot abutting any public right of way;
- Gross building square footage;
- Location in a particular benefit zone; and
Who collects the assessments?
The LPCBD assessment appears as a separate line item on the annual property tax bills prepared by the San Francisco County Tax Collector. A special assessment bill is issued annually by the Tax Collector’s office to parcels that are currently exempt from payment of property taxes. The San Francisco Tax Collector distributes the assessments collected by the City and County of San Francisco to the LPCBD management pursuant to the management agreement between the City and the nonprofit management corporation for the district.
Who do I contact for services?
For non-emergency services, please call the LPCBD office at 415-775-1180.
Who do I contact for safety or emergency services?
Calls for emergency service should always be directed to the 911 emergency call center.