San Mateo mulls Sharp Park takeover

San Mateo County officials are in talks with San Francisco to take over the management of Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica, but it remains unclear whether an agreement is imminent, officials said this week.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet in closed session on Tuesday to discuss potential lease terms for the 18-hole golf course, which occupies 417 oceanside acres on land owned by the city of San Francisco.

The county expressed interest in taking over the 417-acre Sharp Park, one of only two public golf courses in San Mateo County, as far back as 2012, when the Board of Supervisors voted to explore the possibility.

That vote came after legislation by San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos in late 2011 that would have seen the course handed over to the National Park Service for management.

The legislation, which was defeated by a veto from Mayor Ed Lee, would likely have led to the course’s closure, since the park service had indicated it was not interested in running a golf course.

County spokeswoman Michelle Durand this week said the primary concern for San Mateo County officials is to keep the course operating as a public facility. The county hired a consultant to do a feasibility study earlier this year, but Durand said she did not know the status of that study or of lease negotiations.

The golf course has been the subject of repeated lawsuits by environmental groups alleging that its operation threatens critical habit for the endangered California red-legged frog and the threatened San Francisco garter snake. Groups including the Wild Equity Institute have argued that the course should be converted to a park and wildlife habitat.

The lawsuits have all been defeated however, with the most recent alleging violations of environmental law by San Francisco officials being dismissed by Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong in August of this year.

San Francisco Recreation and Parks spokeswoman Sarah Madland confirmed The City has been in negotiations with San Mateo County for some time over the golf course’s management. She did not know the status of the talks, but said no votes or hearings on the lease are scheduled for the near future.

The city has completed two projects at the course in recent years that were the subject of lawsuits, including a habitat restoration project and a pump house safety project that improved employee access to the site, Madland said.