Master Plan hinges on land swap

By Graham Henderson
Staff Writer

The future construction in the Balboa Reservoir is hinged on the approval of changes to the reservoir’s ownership between City College and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, according to City College administrators.

Negotiations over the ownership of the Balboa Reservoir, currently owned by City College and the SFPUC, are almost complete, according to Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration Peter Goldstein.

If an agreement is reached, the City College board of trustees could vote to approve the deal on Nov. 20.

“The future of City College’s academic facilities are dependent on this land swap being finalized,” said Goldstein, one of the negotiators working on the deal. The negotiations have been going on for several years, Goldstein said.

The land swap is required for City College’s Master Plan to move forward because some of the buildings to be built are planned for land currently controlled by the SFPUC.

Currently, the reservoir is divided into two portions, the southern and smaller portion of the reservoir is owned by City College, with the SFPUC owning the northern portion, which is larger. The proposed swap will redivide the reservoir, dividing the reservoir in half but with the split running east and west, instead of north and south. The SFPUC’s western portion would again be larger, with City College owning the smaller eastern portion, running along Phelan Avenue.

Even though the proposal would give City College a smaller piece of land than the SFPUC, City College’s parcel is more valuable because it boarders on Phelan Avenue, Goldstein said. City College will continue to use the western portion of the lot for parking, renting the land from the SFPUC for a small, symbolic price, said James Blomquist, associate vice chancellor of facilities panning / management.

For the land swap to go forward, the board of trustees, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the SFPUC and the Mayor would each need to approve the plan according to the agenda for the Nov. 20 board of trustees meeting.

The board declared its intent on June 12 in a published notice of the proposal. A unanimous vote is required to approve the land exchange.

Joe Gilmartin, Superintendent for Proven Management, said that 95 percent of the dirt being used to fill in the reservoir is coming from an excavation site at Candlestick. The dirt will be sealed with a different material.

Currently the Balboa Reservoir is divided North to South but the completion of City College’s Master Plan is contingent on the land swap with the SFPUC. If approved, the land would be divided East to West. GRAPHIC COURTESY OF THE SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION