San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 7-4 on Tuesday to overturnthe
2015 sale of Presidio Terrace,a
privately-owned street in the neighborhood of the same name used by
a few dozen of the city’s wealthiest homeowners, faulting the city’s
tax collector and not the residents for letting an annual $14 tax
bill go unpaid for decades.
Mark Farrell, whose district includes Presidio Terrace, scheduled
Tuesday’s hearing in August, allegedly to “get to the bottom” of the
dispute and let all parties plead their case.
South Bay couple bought Presidio Terrace’s circular street and
accompanying sidewalks at a tax sale to the tune of $90,000 after
the Presidio Terrace Association (PTA) had failed to pay the taxes
on their avenue for 30 years.
to the boardon behalf of the PTA, lawyer
Scott Emblidge claims that a lack of sufficient notice violated
terrace dwellers’ rights:
U.S. Supreme Court and other courts have held that when the
government knows that the owner of the property did not receive a
letter of an impending tax sale, due process requires the
government to do something more.
the Tax Collector did nothing more after learning that the Notice
of Sale was not delivered to the Association. He thereby violated
the residents' and the Association's due process rights.
response,Shepard S. Kopp, attorney for Tina
Lam, one of the terrace’s new owners, called the PTA’s demands
unrealistic and argues that the real injustice would be depriving
his clients of something they bought fair and square:
Tax Collector was not constitutionally required to do more
[...and] he certainly was not required to conduct the wild goose
chase that the PTA suggests was mandatory.
The Tax Collector cannot be faulted for not poring through a 47
page document setting forth conditions, covenants, and
restrictions on that property, looking for addresses which in the
end would still have failed to provide the desired notice.
this month, the city’stax
chief pointed outthat everybody knows they
must pay taxes even if nobody reminds them and said it was the
responsibility of the homeowners to take care of it no matter what,
which seemed like it might be the final word on the matter.
Supervisor Farrell called the sale “inappropriate” on Tuesday. He
agreed that the city owed terrace dwellers more notice before their
street went up for sale. Six of his colleagues—Malia Cohen, Sandra
Fewer, Jeff Sheehy, Ahsha Safai, Katy Tang, and London Breed—voted
in agreement with Farrell.
Hillary Ronen, Norman Yee, Jane Kim, and Aaron Peskin voted against
overturning the legal sale.
important to point out that, prior to the vote, Sen. Dianne
Feinstein, a onetime Presidio Terrace resident,urged
San Franciscolawmakers to break the rules
for the wealthy enclave residents.
Francisco Chronicle’sMatier and Rosspreviously
reportedthis is the second time Presidio
Terrace was sold over unpaid tax bills, the previous incident
occurring in 1970.
victorious Presidio Terrace Association should take note that taxes
on their property are due in April.