Warriors win second court decision in S.F. arena battle

By Roland Li : bizjournals – excerpt

The California Courts of Appeal upheld on Tuesday the environmental review of the Golden State Warriors’ San Francisco stadium plan, allowing construction to begin on the $1 billion arena and office development unless another appeal is filed.

The decision stated that the legal challenge by the Mission Bay Alliance, which has been fighting to block the project, didn’t have merit. The Mission Bay Alliance, which includes University of California, San Francisco staff and donors, alleged that the city didn’t properly study the 18,000-seat stadium’s impact on traffic and the environment. The project also includes two 11-story office buildings…

“The Mission Bay Alliance, Jennifer Wade, and SaveMuni are deeply disappointed with today’s court ruling. Our legal team is reviewing the ruling and considering options. We believe that the proposed Warriors’ arena is incompatible with the Mission Bay South neighborhood and would result in blocked access to UCSF hospitals, dangerous air pollution, and traffic gridlock throughout the community,” said the Mission Bay Alliance in a statement…

The group has said it intends to use all avenues to fight the project.

“We are fully committed to ‘Never at 16th and Third,’” Bruce Spaulding, a retired UCSF vice chancellor who is part of the Mission Bay Alliance, told the Business Times in August. “(The Warriors) must relocate to a different site.”…(more)

More than a million people in SF? Did anyone ask you?

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

New regional plan, adopted with little public input, pushes massive growth for San Francisco – with no promise of money for transit or social equity…

Source: More than a million people in SF? Did anyone ask you?

Developer allies again try to take over Sierra Club

Grassroots Actions

By Tim Redmond :sierraclub – excerpt

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For years, the San Francisco chapter of the Sierra Club has been part of a progressive environmental movement. The Club has worked on clean energy, better transit, and sustainable development – and has opposed giant, out-of-control projects like the Wall on the Waterfront. It’s worked with tenant advocates on affordable housing. The influential Club slate card typically endorses the same candidates as the Milk Club, the Tenants Union, and the Bay Guardian.

But for the past couple of years, developers and their allies have been trying to take over the chapter and change its politics. They want a more growth-friendly board that will support market-rate housing development and big commercial projects – and they want the club’s endorsement to go to developer-friendly candidates.

That would be a huge blow to progressive politics in San Francisco.

Last year, a pro-development slate of candidates was…

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Appellate Court Rejected EIR That Found Insignificant Traffic Impacts, Despite Consistency With Infill-Promoting General Plan Policy

by Amanda J. Monchamp, Genna Yarkin : jdsupra – excerpt

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The Court of Appeal of the State of California, Third Appellate District, overturned an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for an urban, residential infill project, rejecting the threshold of significance the City of Sacramento used to determine that traffic impacts were less than significant at two busy intersections.
  • The appellate court held that consistency with an infill-promoting general plan mobility element policy alone does not constitute substantial evidence that there is no significant impact, even where the policy is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using flexible standards to measure traffic impacts in central city areas.

East Sacramento Partnership for a Livable City v. City of Sacramento et al., No. C079614 (Cal. Ct. App. 3rd Dist., Nov. 7, 2016)..(more)

Good news for people claiming traffic impacts are significant under CEQA. There is also a renewed interest in stadium proximity to airports due to problems with Levis Stadium. Pilots landing in San Jose complain about being blinded by the lights and thrown off course. No accidents so far, but a few near misses.

Sierra Club Opposes the Proposed Warriors’ Arena in Mission Bay

PRESS RELEASE

Nation’s Largest Grassroots Organization Focused on Environmental Protections Says the City of San Francisco Ignored Major Negative Environmental Impacts.

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Today the Sierra Club passed a unanimous resolution opposing the proposed location of the Golden State Warriors arena in Mission Bay.

The Warriors’ ownership is looking to move the team from its current location in Oakland to a site in Mission Bay in San Francisco, which is currently home to a medical campus and an internationally renowned children’s hospital serving the public. The resolution suggests that the City negligently fast-tracked approval of the arena project, ignoring environmental necessities and interests.

“We registered multiple concerns at the project’s onset, but to date, these have not been meaningfully addressed by the City. Our resolution sends a direct message to the City that the Warriors can build a world-class venue, but Mission Bay is not the place. The current project plan threatens to create a huge environmental mess and real health problems for local communities in addition to what would amount to a new, urban nightmare for parking and traffic,” said Sierra Club San Francisco Group Executive Committee Chair Sue Vaughan.

Resolution highlights include:

–   Reliance on Outdated Data:

  • The City relied on an outdated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) from 1998 as the basis for much of the analysis of the Warriors’ arena project. Since that time, the area has changed dramatically with the construction of a baseball stadium, a major hospital and the University of California San Francisco campus. The old EIR does not reflect current conditions.

–   California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Comments Were Formally Presented, Never Addressed:

  • Inappropriate Fast-Tracking of Assembly Bill 900: The proposed Warriors’ arena does not fit the definition of an AB 900 Leadership project. AB 900 was passed by the state legislature during the last recession in order to fast-track infill projects in any CEQA litigation proceedings. These projects were intended to create permanent jobs while minimizing environmental impacts. The arena project, however, was proposed at a time when there was no recession and does not meet other criteria.
  • Negative Local and Regional Transportation Impacts: Supporters of the proposed arena selected the Mission Bay site without proposing adequate transportation infrastructure to match the capacity of BART and other public transit to the current arena site in Oakland, especially an issue when events would happen simultaneously at AT&T Park and in Mission Bay. The City did not effectively analyze the added impacts of more people relying on personal vehicles to access the new site.
  • Not Greenhouse Gas Neutral: The proposed arena does not appear to meet the criteria of being greenhouse gas net neutral; nor is the statement made by project supporters that “greenhouse gas impacts will be less than significant,” adequately supported.
  • Human Impact Not Fully Measured: The City did not take into account how many events would still be held at Oracle arena or the greenhouse gas effects resulting from East Bay workers commuting to San Francisco.

“As an organization focused on ensuring the cleanest possible environment, we would be remiss if we didn’t raise a red flag as the evidence does not support the conclusion of the Environmental Impact Report on this project,” said Vaughan. “Based on what we know, Mission Bay is not a good location for a new arena that would host up to 225 events per year.”

Today’s vote by the Sierra Club on this resolution, comes on the heels of a crucial court hearing involving the Mission Bay Alliance (MBA) et al. vs. San Francisco Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure et al. This hearing questioned if the City of San Francisco broke zoning and environmental laws in hastily approving a proposal for the Golden State Warriors to build a new arena in Mission Bay. Oral arguments were heard yesterday by the California Court of Appeal First Appellate District. The Court’s final decision will likely impact whether the Warriors can relocate to Mission Bay.

“We are proud to join other environmental and pro-conservation groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Coalition for Clean Air, Communities for a Better Environment and the Sunset Coalition in raising key questions about the project’s environmental impacts on the area,” said Vaughan. “We call on the City to address the public’s concerns.”

About the Sierra Club

Founded by legendary conservationist John Muir in 1892, the Sierra Club is now the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization — with more than two million members and supporters. Our successes range from protecting millions of acres of wilderness to helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. More recently, we’ve made history by leading the charge to move away from the dirty fossil fuels that cause climate disruption and toward a clean energy economy.

SOURCE Sierra Club San Francisco Bay

Related Links

http://www.sierraclub.org

Millennium Tower residents and Mission Bay Alliance in court

nbcbayarea – excerpt – (includes video)

Condo owner, a lawyer, says building inspectors conspired with Transbay terminal and developer in cover-up

In extraordinary legal claims filed Tuesday, Millennium Tower owners accuse officials with the San Francisco building inspection department and the next-door Transbay Transit Terminal of conspiring with the high-rise’s developer to hide evidence that the building was sinking. Jaxon Van Derbeken reports. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016)..(more)

Beware of retired patent attorney, claims Both City and Transbay knew about the sinking and tilting and hid it from the public and home owners, admits it will be hard to prove but looks forward to the effort.. (more)

and

Mission Bay Alliance appeals Ruling

Members of the Mission Bay Alliance will be appealing a ruling that was levied earlier this year quashing their desperate legal fight to put a hold on the Golden State Warriors’ new arena. Pete Suratos reports..(more)

Proponents claims include: the proposed arena “violated a zoning established by a current redevelopment plan.. the city’s transportation plan can’t accommodate the new arena.. ” They also cite possible health issues from possible contaminants being emitted from this proposed arena … (more)

RELATED:
Sierra Club Opposes the Proposed Warriors’ Arena in Mission Bay
Nation’s Largest Grassroots Organization Focused on Environmental Protections Says the City of San Francisco Ignored Major Negative Environmental Impacts.
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Today the Sierra Club passed a unanimous resolution opposing the proposed location of the Golden State Warriors arena in Mission Bay… (more)

Sacramento Residential Infill Project EIR Violated CEQA By Basing Less-Than-Significant Traffic Impact Finding Solely On Compliance With General Plan Policy Allowing LOS F

by Arthur F. Coon and Miller Starr Regalia : jusuptra – excerpt

On November 7, 2016, the Third District Court of Appeal filed a published opinion mostly upholding the EIR for a 48.75-acre, 328-unit residential infill project (known as McKinley Village) against various CEQA challenges, and finding the Project to be consistent with the City of Sacramento’s general plan.  East Sacramento Partnership for a Livable City v. City of Sacramento (Encore McKinley Village, LLC, Real Party in Interest) (3d Dist. 2016) ___ Cal.App.5th ___, 2016 WL 6581170.  In a pointed reminder that a perfectly CEQA-compliant EIR for a large infill project is difficult to prepare, however, the Court found merit in a single argument of the petitioner and appellant neighborhood group, ESPLC – its argument that “the EIR ignored [certain] significant traffic impacts.”  Specifically, the EIR failed to adequately support its less-than-significant (LTS) impact conclusion concerning such impacts, in light of a substantial project-caused degradation in level of service (LOS) at affected intersections and streets that was nonetheless compliant with the General Plan’s policy that LOS F was acceptable for the area.  Accordingly, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment upholding the EIR, and ordered it to issue a writ directing the City to set aside its certification and correct this lone deficiency prior to considering recertification… (more)

Livable City must not mean the same thing in Sacramento.

Clearing CEQA: Study vindicates California environmental law as having less impact on development than previously claimed

By newsreview – excerpt

1 Center benefited from recent Steinberg CEQA tweak

Environmental regulations may not strike most developers as a harmonious complement to their industry, but a new study indicates that stubborn criticism of the California Environmental Quality Act may be wrongheaded.

The study, “CEQA in the 21st Century,” concludes that the act does not significantly impede business—and ties projects up in litigation far less than its critics believe.

“I think it’s bringing a little more proportionality into the discussion,” said Ethan Elkind, director of the Climate Change and Business Program at the UCLA and UC Berkeley schools of law, who helped review the report. “CEQA isn’t just about litigation; it’s also about having to do … reviews on projects that have a significant impact on the environment.

“It’s really the state’s bedrock environmental law.”… (more)

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