One of the few gas stations in San Francisco today is at the center of an existential struggle over the city’s approach to climate change, affordable housing, and city property.
Twin Peaks Auto Care on Portola Drive, a decades-old gas station, leases land from the city. However, with the lease almost expiring, the company applied to the city for a 25-year extension in addition to the option for an additional five years. The proposal causes consternation among the regulators. Some of them argue that in the age of extreme climate change, a 25-year contract is far too long to continue a fossil fuel business on urban lots.
“I cannot support a 25 to 30 year lease for a gas station on public property,” wrote District 6 supervisor Matt Haney on Twitter. “State and city climate goals call for fossil fuel phasing out much sooner. Our city has declared a climate emergency. There are many other uses for location, including affordable housing.”
“We are in a climate emergency. The fossil fuel-burning gas station will definitely not behave like that for the next 25 years,” he continued. “I appreciate the small business owner, but we should change the lease in the short term to make it more appropriate for the public and the environment.”
The San Francisco Examiner reports that the president of the board of directors, Norman Yee, who represents the Twin Peaks Auto Care district, supports the extension of the lease and describes the company as “very popular in the neighborhood.”
The oversight body was due to rule on the matter on Tuesday but instead postponed the vote pending further investigation into the matter.
“I feel we need more time for the Real Estate Department and the business owner to discuss and negotiate terms, especially when it comes to ensuring terms are compatible with our environmental goals and not selling fossil fuels through the US Year 2040, ”Yee said at the meeting on Tuesday.
It is not yet clear when the board will address the issue again.