Saturday, May 09, 2015

City tries to put neighborhood gas station out of business

By George Wooding in the Westside Observer:

Besides being one of the last surviving independent gas stations in San Francisco, this gas station is the last gas station servicing the Twin Peaks neighborhoods for over one to three miles in any direction...

The City’s Real Estate Department’s standard 20-year lease with Twin Peaks Petroleum expired in July 2014. In anticipation of this lease expiration, the Gharib’s began renegotiating a new lease in 2012.

By June 2013, Twin Peaks Petroleum and the City Real Estate Department had negotiated a new lease allowing the station to plan and operate for another 15 years.

In July 2013, the station received a notice from the Department of Public Health (DPH) that the station site was officially deemed clean. Twin Peaks Petroleum had removed a leaky waste oil tank, cleaned the surrounding soil, and monitored the surrounding area for contaminants for over 20 years.

The station’s “clean” land was now worth much more than if the Gharibs had kept the land contaminated. Suddenly, the City shortened the length of lease terms. Insurance deposits rose from $10,000 to $100,000, and station demolition time frames went from 18 months to 6 months. After two years of negotiations the Gharibs were placed on a month-to-month lease.

On March 23, 2015 the Department of Real Estate finally sent the Gharibs a lease that allows them to remain an additional five years. Twin Peaks Petroleum was offered a five-year term with a five-year option period, with mutual termination rights upon six months’ advance written notice. This basically means that the Gharibs will be allowed to remain for an additional five-year period if they sign the lease.

With only a five-year lease, Twin Peaks Petroleum will not be able to recoup the cost of repairs, permits, or basic station maintenance. The gas station will become a run-down broken mess...

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