What is a Community Benefit District and How Does it Work with Japantown?

Over the past several years, the security and cleanliness within Japantown has deteriorated and merchants and businesses as a whole have not had an adequately funded collective program to promote the district. To make this historic ethnic cultural center and business district successful all property owners must look at new ways of beautifying and enhancing health and safety in the area.

A committee of concerned Japantown stakeholders has come together to determine if there exists enough support for forming a CBD in Japantown. They have not reached an opinion on the formation, but do agree a survey of all property owners is an appropriate next step.

If the survey shows there is enough interest in forming a CBD for Japantown, a detailed plan would be developed to be proposed in a voter intiative that would require the Board of Supervisors' approval.

The survey of the property owners will be mailed by Nov. 1, 2006. Survey replies will remain confidential and will be used exclusively for formation purposes of this CBD. Completed surveys should be returned by fax or the included self-addressed envelope by Friday, December 8, 2006 so that they can be included in the survey results.

This new Japantown CBD could fund special improvement services in the public rights of way over and above those currently provided by the City. These services would be funded by a property owner voted-upon assessment that would be paid by each benefiting property owner.

Special benefit services could include and is not be limited to:
  • Marketing and promotional activities, events and festivals, as well as serving as an advocacy group of the community,
  • Security services (above and beyond that of the San Francisco Police Department),
  • sidewalk sweeping/steam cleaning, the removal of bulky items, and graffiti clean-up,
  • Tree planting and maintenance, and beautification programs,
  • Heritage related public art, and holiday decorations.
The services of this proposed CBD would be funded through an assessment placed on each and every private or publicly-owned parcel in the finalized boundaries of the new district. The property owners would determine the boundaries of the district, the priority of each type of service, as well as the exact costs of funding these services.

For more information, contact Bob Hamaguchi, Executive Director of the Japantown Task Force, at (415) 346-1239 or the CBD consultant, Marco Li Mandri of New City America, at (888) 356-2726.

Japantown Community Benefit District Committee Postpones Formation

Press Release
May 15, 2007

A group of property owners has been meeting over the last six months to consider the formation of a community benefit district in Japantown. At their meeting on May 15, it was decided to postpone further consideration of forming a CBD until next year.

The committee has developed a Preliminary Plan that it was prepared to seek a petition to put the Plan on a ballot of all effected property owners in July. It sought feedback of the Plan through outreach to a sampling of property owners that had not participated in the development of the Plan. The feedback was encouraging that a CBD could be a vehicle to improve the cleanliness, security, promotion, and preservation of the Japantown area, but would require changes to the Preliminary Plan.

Another key consideration in their decision was to allow the Better Neighborhood Plan (BNP) process to develop before formation of a community benefit district. BNP is a planning effort being led by the SF Planning Department. It calls for working with the Japantown community to determine the priorities of land use, building form, open space, transportation, housing, and above all, cultural preservation. The process will take a year and the result will be a zoning plan of Japantown that will be approved by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. It is expected that the community benefit district development will be leveraged by the results of the BNP.

Downloadable Documents
English Versions
  • New! Draft Peace Pagoda Designation Report (5/17) Click Here
  • New! Japantown Management Plan (4/17) Click Here
  • New! Japantown Engineer's Report (4/17) Click Here
  • Letter to Japantown Property Owners Click Here
  • Japantown Property Owner Survey Click Here
  • Frequently Asked Questions - Community Benefit District
    Click Here
  • Japantown CBD Committee Postpones Formation - May 15 Press Release
Japanese Versions
  • Letter to Japantown Property Owners Click Here
  • Japantown Property Owner Survey Click Here
  • Frequently Asked Questions - Community Benefit District
    Click Here