Alioto-Pier seeks end to new Newsom-Peskin fee
costing some homeowners more than property tax
Supervisor Alioto-Pier. File photo.
By Pat Murphy
January 24, 2006, 4:15 p.m.
Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier today moved to suspend a new assessment
fee advanced by Mayor Gavin Newsom with support of Supervisor
Aaron Peskin, her office reported.
The $3.00 per square foot of public right-of-way occupancy assessment
has resulted in homeowner assessments higher than their property
taxes, her office said.
"Hundreds of property owners have or are scheduled to receive
letters demanding thousands of dollars annually for sidewalk encroachments,"
Alioto-Pier said in a prepared statement.
Those assessments "go on every year forever," added
an Alioto-Pier legislative assistant.
The new fee went into effect last August.
It was designed to capture situations where a private property
owner had taken over portions of the public-right-of-way, continued
the written statement.
"Unfortunately, in its current form, the ordinance also
captures situations where an encroachment is required by the planning
or public works code or to provide disabled access.
Legislation introduced this afternoon by Alioto-Pier will suspend
collection of the annual fee "and require the Department
of Public Works to provide a report on the types, sizes, and number
of minor encroachment permits."
"This report will be used to design a fee structure that
does not punish property owners for complying with the planning
code or for providing neighborhood amenities.
"Charging for taking over part of the public sidewalk for
commercial purposes is totally appropriate, but charging someone
hundreds of dollars a year because they want to make the street
more beautiful with a tree or a planter box, or repair their sidewalk
just does not make sense," stated Alioto-Pier.