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Exclusive San Francisco Neighborhood Finally Gets Its Street Back

An overview of the Presidio Terrace neighborhood, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, in San Francisco. Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Residents of a mansion-lined private street in San Francisco have managed to get their street back, months after discovering it had been sold to a private couple for just $90,100.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in late November to return Presidio Terrace, the oval street that was once home to Calif. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, to the homeowners. They lost the rights to that street by failing to pay $944 in back taxes.

Tina Lam and Michael Cheng, who live in San Jose, Calif., bought the road earlier this year and threatened to charge residents for parking. Homeowners of the 35 multimillion dollar mansions in the neighborhood said they were never warned the street was up for sale.

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The board, in a 7-4 vote, decided the city’s tax collector had not made a sufficient effort to alert homeowners of the pending sale.

“I believe the vote today to rescind this sale was the best possible outcome,” Supervisor Mark Farrel, whose district includes the street, told SFGate. “The speculators get their money back — no harm, no foul. The back taxes the Presidio Terrace owners owe will be paid immediately. And, we are moving to implement policy reforms (to) the current broken process that allowed this sale to happen in the first place, so that this situation does not happen to any San Franciscan ever again.”

The saga of Presidio Terrace isn’t quite over, though. Lam and Cheng say they bought the street in a legal auction and complied with all laws and should remain the lawful owners. Their attorney says they plan to sue the city over the decision to return it to residents.

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