Community Forms the Soma West Community Benefit District
Board of Supervisors votes to approve the formation of the largest community benefit district in the City to address cleaning and public safety, Mayor Breed to sign legislation
San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed, Supervisor Matt Haney, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and the SoMa West Steering Committee today announced the establishment of the SoMa West Community Benefit District (CBD). The SoMa West CBD is geographically the largest of the 17 CBDs citywide, and will help ensure a welcoming, clean, and economically vibrant local community.
“I am focused every day on keeping our communities clean, safe, and vibrant,” said Mayor Breed. “The formation of the SoMa West CBD demonstrates that these neighbors, merchants, property owners, and stakeholders are committed to meeting the challenges we see on our streets every day. I am proud that they have come together to work collaboratively to improve their neighborhood, and I am committed to working with them to make our streets cleaner and safer for everyone."
The SoMa West CBD was formed after a majority vote was cast by property owners in the area based off weighted assessments, and the Board of Supervisors today voted to approve the formation. It will raise approximately $3.74 million per year in special assessments from those properties to carry out its management plan over the next 15 years. The boundaries of the District include approximately 2,765 parcels located on approximately 100 whole blocks, including blocks and partial blocks bounded by 5th Street and 6th Street on the east, Minna Street and Folsom Street on the north, South Van Ness Avenue and the U.S. Highway 101 Freeway on the west, and Townsend Street on the south.
"I’m excited that the SoMa West CBD will help provide cleaner and safer streets for the residents, and build community across the diverse neighborhood,” said Supervisor Haney. “West SoMa is one of the highest needs areas in the city that deserves urgent focus and action. I’m happy to see that we were able to include a more affordable assessment for nonprofits, and a commitment to an inclusive, diverse board with broad representation from community organizations, tenants, small businesses, and property owners.”
The services that the SoMa West CBD will provide include:
- Maintenance teams that sweep, scrub, and pressure wash sidewalks and public spaces to remove litter, graffiti, and trash;
- Beautification and activation improvements to make SoMa West more visually attractive, which may include green spaces, wayfinding signage, trashcans, public art programs, and public space activation programs;
- Safety improvements, which will include a pedestrian and bicycle safety program;
- Marketing and district branding to promote SoMa West as a regional destination; and
- A community grant program that will allow area nonprofits and cultural districts to apply for funding for programming.
The formation of SoMa West took more than two years of outreach and planning by property owners, businesses, renters, nonprofits, and other stakeholders looking to mirror the successes of CBDs throughout the City. Approximately 90 public informational sessions and planning meetings were held during the planning process. The steering committee included a diverse mix of 35 local merchants, property owners, renters, and area nonprofits that reflect the neighborhood. Technical assistance was provided throughout the process by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, which will continue to work with the new CBD to ensure the smooth operation of the District and help ensure it follows all legal and community obligations.
“As a resident and service provider in the neighborhood, I am excited about the potential of the SoMa West CBD. This tremendous effort by residents, business owners, and community members has embodied United Playaz’ motto, ‘It takes the hood to save the hood,’ and we are looking forward to the positive impact that it will have for Western Soma,” said Misha Olivas, Director of Community and Family Engagement at United Playaz and a Western SoMa resident.
“Throughout the years in Western SoMa, residents, property owners, businesses, and stakeholders have wanted a safer, cleaner, and a more vibrant neighborhood. Those of us living and working here have always believed in our neighborhood. The past two years has seen the neighborhood unify and work to this goal to form the SoMa West CBD. We are all pleased to say that the SoMa West CBD will now be a reality for everyone’s benefit,” said James Spinello, chair of the SoMa West CBD Steering Committee. “It has been an incredible journey listening to and hearing from our neighborhood. SoMa West CBD will be a combined effort to make our neighborhood a wonderful place to live, work, and visit. We are excited for the future and look forward to showing everyone the success of SoMa West in the years to come.”
More information on the SoMa West Community Benefit District and the Management District Plan can be found at: http://oewd.org/community-benefit-districts.