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–   Reliance on Outdated Data:

  • The City relied on an outdated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) from 1998 as the basis for much of the analysis of the Warriors’ arena project.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

Will Harrington Challenge Hotel on CEQA Grounds?

Posted by David Greenwald : davisvanguard – excerpt

Three weeks ago the Davis City Council tentatively approved the Hotel-Conference Center along Richards Boulevard, and they did so making a Mitigated Negative Declaration arguing that the impacts of the project and the “recommended mitigation measures reduce any potential environmental impacts to less-than-significant levels.”

However, in a letter delivered Tuesday afternoon from Attorney Don Mooney on behalf of Michael Harrington, he argues that “approval of the project would violate the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), Public Resources Code, section 21000 et seq. as substantial evidence in the record of proceedings supports a fair argument that the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center Project may have significant environmental impacts to traffic and other matters such as historical resources.”

“The Initial Study must provide the factual basis and the analysis for the determination that a project will not have a significant impact on the environment,” Mr. Mooney writes. They then present an “expert opinion” provided by Dan Smith of Smith Engineering & Management, who argues that “a ‘fair argument’ exists that the Project may have significant impacts regarding traffic and circulation.”

Mr. Mooney continues, “Mr. Smith identifies significant flaws in the Transportation Impact Study for the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center. Mr. Smith’s comments result in conflicting claims regarding the Project’s impacts to traffic and historic resources. It is the function of an environmental impact report, not a negative declaration, to resolve these conflicting claims.”

City Attorney Harriet Steiner said they have gone over the issue of using a “Neg Dec” versus an “EIR.” She said, “Staff went through an initial study to determine what impacts this project would cause based on the baseline. As we went through that and as we did the analysis we did not feel that there was a fair argument that the project itself would cause an impact that required preparation of the EIR. That is why staff recommended and the city went forward with a ‘Neg Dec.’”… (more)

We are noticing a lot of negative impacts of traffic showing up in arguments against projects. We also are hearing about a shift in attitude by so-called “moderate democrats” who are starting to fight back against the continued use of transportation funds on non-transit and anti-car projects. Appeals cases that reach the high courts are also denying projects based on these arguments.

%d bloggers like this: