Community Benefit Districts
Community Benefit Districts (CBDs) strive to improve the overall quality of life in targeted commercial districts and mixed-use neighborhoods through a partnership between the City and local communities. In California, CBDs are also known as Business Improvement Districts. Once an area has voted to establish a CBD, local property owners are levied a special assessment to fund improvements to their neighborhood. The funds are administered by a non-profit organization established by the neighborhood.
Currently, San Francisco has 14 CBDs including Castro, Central Market, Civic Center, Fisherman’s Wharf, Greater Rincon Hill, Lower Polk, Moscone Expansion District, Noe Valley, Tenderloin, Ocean Avenue, Top of Broadway, Tourism Improvement District, Union Square, and Yerba Buena.
For a brief summary of services provided in each district, please click here.
In 2004, the City and County of San Francisco augmented the California Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994 with the passage of Article 15 of the San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code. Article 15 lengthened the initial term that a district could be in place from 5 to 15 years and lowered the weighted petition threshold required to initiate the legislative approval process and the special ballot election from 50% to 30%. This legislation, combined with a new technical assistance program initiated by then Mayor Gavin Newsom through the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), was instrumental in easing the process for the formation of new CBD districts in San Francisco.
In 2012, a CBD Impact Analysis was headed by the OEWD. Data was gathered from City agencies, external data providers, Certified Public Accountant audited financial statements, and a survey instrument administered to CBD executive directors. In summary, the data and research synthesized by OEWD’s evaluation provides strong justification for the continuation of City support for the CBD program, and for making new investments in neighborhood commercial districts. The full report can be found here: 2012-2013 CBD Impact Analysis.
For more information on CBD Districts, click here.
For CBD resources, click here.
In October of 2015, Union Square BID hosted the International Downtown Association Conference in San Francisco. This conference is the largest meeting of BIDs in the world and brought people to the City from as far away as South Africa and Germany. Mayor Lee was a featured speaker for the convention opening and spoke highly of the San Francisco's CBD program and the concept of CBDs/BIDs.
Please send all inquiries to CBD.Assessment@sfgov.org. In the subject line please write "CBD Inquiry (indicate neighborhood)," for example: CBD Inquiry (North Beach).
For more immediate attention please call 415-554-6969 and you will be directed to available staff.
Please click the following link for a PDF version of the map: Overview Map of San Francisco Community Benefit Districts & Business Improvement Districts