08.17 Approved Minutes









THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2006, 10:00 A.M.






TASK FORCE MEMBERS:  VOTING:  Eric Bowen (Chair), Adam Hagen (Vice-Chair), Melissa Hardy, Benjamin Jordan, Karri Ving. NON-VOTING: David Augustine (Treasurer/Tax Collector), Richard Berman (Port), Sarah Dennis (Planning Department), Kevin Drew (Department of the Environment), Mike Ferry (Fire Department), Tom Franza (SFPUC), Laurence Kornfield (DBI), Jennifer Matz (MOCD), Marty Mellera (MTA), Virginia St. Jean (DPH).








The meeting was called to order at 10:05 a.m.  Present: Members Bowen, Hagen, Hardy, Jordan (10:30 a.m.), Ving, Augustine, Berman, Dennis (10:20 a.m.), Drew, Ferry, Franza,  Mellera, and St. Jean.  Absent:  Members Kornfield and Matz. 


Chair Bowen introduced Mr. Kevin Westley representing the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.


2.      ACTION:  Approval of the July 20, 2006 Regular Meeting Draft Minutes.  Upon Motion by Member Bowen and second by Member Hagen, the July 20, 2006 Meeting Minutes were approved with no objection. (Absent:  Member Jordan) (Explanatory Document: July 20, 2006 Approved Minutes). 


3.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT and DISCUSSION:  Report on the potential fiscal impact of payroll tax exemptions for gas stations to switch over to biodiesel (Explanatory Document distributed in Task Force Meeting:  SF Businesses Self-Identified as “Gasoline Service Stations” Currently Registered as of August).

SPEAKER:  Member David Augustine


Member Augustine reported the following information:


§         145 total businesses were self-identified as gas service stations as of August 2006.

§         141 were subject to payroll tax; 4 were not.

§         52 entities own only one location in San Francisco; other ownership entities own more than one location and would be considered chains.

§         Total payroll tax paid:  $409,515, Average of $2,512, median payroll tax by ownership: $1,811.

§         Small businesses pay registration fees, but no payroll tax.

§         Pending ordinance that would require all businesses that take advantage of tax exclusions be public information.


The Task Force held a discussion on:


§         Limiting payroll tax-exemptions to franchise owners to apply to only the location of the location that uses biodiesel.


§         What the tax exclusion proposal to the Board of Supervisors should be; e.g. what the maximum fiscal impact to the City should be; how many gas stations should the incentives apply to; should geographical disbursements be imposed throughout the City; should a specific blend level be required; tanks to be utilized: underground tanks switched from existing diesel, new above-ground tank added at gas station similar to propane model or coop model, a tank not in an existing gas station and located some where else and how tax exclusion would apply throughout those three categories.


§         How long should the payroll tax-incentive apply. 


§         Objective to streamline regulations and reduce fees. 


§         Utilizing subsidies and fee reductions as incentives.


Member St. Jean agreed to provide Department of Public Health procedures on the process to convert a diesel tank to biodiesel, a report on comparison of corporate ownership to doing business as, list of above ground diesel storage sites, fee schedule that includes a range of fees for individual and corporate ownership, and a list of gas stations with diesel tanks.  A discussion was held on the responsibilities and high costs of tank maintenance for station owners.


Vice-Chair Hagen stated that he would be meeting with the California Service Station and Automotive Repair Association in Novato to explain the Task Force mission and to research a list of stations that sell diesel in order to target those stations to convert to biodiesel. 


Member Ving reported that a web search produced a list of gas stations, but not what they sell or how many diesel stations there are.


Member Augustine reported that he would add “doing business as” names to the gasoline service station list to provide to the Task Force and forward the clean tech payroll tax exclusion procedures to Member Drew to reference in creating the Biodiesel payroll tax exclusion procedures. 


Public Comment:  Mr. Ron Silberstein stated that he had received a report on how many underground tanks are located in San Francisco.


Public Comment:  Mr. Kevin Westley recommended that the Task Force work on more incentives for independent station owners, e.g. waiving transition fees from every City department, issuing three-year payroll tax credits, reduce or waive business or registration fees, waive ongoing permit fees for tanks for three years, and give the station owners more than what it costs to start the process.


Task Force members suggested that the Task Force move forward and make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors after additional data is received, possibly after the next meeting. 


4.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT and DISCUSSION:  Report on station owners in San Francisco and handbook on the City permitting process by regular gas stations and other agencies (Explanatory Documented distributed in Task Force Meeting:  Biodiesel Dispensing and Storage Site Permitting Summary Version 3).

SPEAKERS:  Members Sarah Dennis and Benjamin Jordan


Member Jordan discussed six scenarios for biodiesel dispensing and storage and the permitting process for each of the scenarios identifying all of the permitting and regulatory agencies that would be involved.  Scenarios are as follows:


§         Scenario 1 – Business dispensing biodiesel

§         Scenario 2 -  Buyers club dispensing biodiesel

§         Scenario 3 – Personal use in a residential and/or commercial area

§         Scenario 4 – Commercial use in a commercial area

§         Scenario 5 – Filling of residential and commercial

§         Scenario 6 – Mobile dispensing of fuel for special events and fleet vehicles, blended or neat


Chair Bowen discussed the feasibility of above ground tanks versus under ground tanks at permitted gas stations.  Member St. Jean discussed the Spill Prevention Control and Counter Measure Plan and expense.  Member Jordan presented questions on how federal and state agencies would view dispensing biodiesel in non-underground storage tank or traditional gas station structures and location.  Next steps discussed include requesting that each agency review the six scenarios and identify the potential for regulating or permitting biodiesel separately or understanding its characteristics as well as identifying fee structures, permitting, and regulatory differences between regular gas station and biodiesel dispensing. Vice-Chair Hagen recommended that a questionnaire be used for this purpose.


5.      DISCUSSION and ACTION:  Amendment to Biodiesel Access Task Force Bylaws to change the meeting room from City Hall, Room 408 to City Hall, Room 278.  (Explanatory Documents:  Notice of Amendment to Bylaws, Approved Resolution 002-06-BDTF, Bylaws Adopted on August 17, 2006).


Upon Motion by Chair Bowen and second by Vice-Chair Hagen, the amendment to the Bylaws and Resolution 002-06-BDTF adopting the amendment to the Bylaws was approved with no objection.  The meeting room has been officially changed from Room 408, City Hall to Room 278, City Hall.


6.      INFORMATION:  New Business.  Member Drew to invite Blue Water Action to discuss marine use of biodiesel.


7.      DISCUSSION:  Future Agenda Items.  (1) Blue Water Action presentation on marine use of biodiesel; (2) Discussion and possible action on payroll tax incentives for gas stations to switch over to biodiesel (Member Augustine) and report on the permitting process (Member St. Jean); (3) report on meeting with the California Service Station and Automotive Repair Association (Member Hagen); (4) Report on agency review of six scenarios for biodiesel dispensing and storage (Members Jordan and Dennis).


8.      PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Members of the public may address the Task Force on matters that are within the Task Force’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.


9.      ADJOURNMENT.  The meeting of the Biodiesel Access Task Force adjourned at 11:30 a.m.



** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Task Force office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) upon request to the Task Force Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at [email protected], or (3) on the meeting website as attachments to the agendas or meeting minutes.



Adopted:  September 21, 2006

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