San Francisco city officials will be holding two public hearings next week to take comments on a redevelopment plan for the Hunters Point Shipyard and Candlestick Point that would potentially include building a new football stadium and more than 10,000 homes.
The project, the outlines of which were approved by San Francisco voters in June 2008 with Proposition G, possibly includes building a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers, a bridge across the Yosemite Slough, 10,500 residential units and spaces for other business and community uses.
A draft environmental impact report on the project was released Nov. 12, and written public comments on the report will be taken until Dec. 28, which some local groups say is too short to review a document that has more than 4,000 pages.
The 45-day time period is the minimum required under the California Environmental Quality Act guidelines for the public and state agencies to review and comment on a draft EIR.
Saul Bloom, founder and executive director of Arc Ecology, a San Francisco-based environmental advocacy group, said November is “a horrible time to release a document like this.”
He said the fact that the time period includes the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays makes it near impossible for anyone to read the entire 4,400-page report.
“There’s a history of this community and others asking not to release documents during this time of year,” Bloom said. “A number of folks feel this is done specifically to undermine the public’s ability to read the documents.”
He said Arc Ecology and several other groups plan to submit a letter to Mayor Gavin Newsom to ask him to extend the public review period by an additional 45 days.
The letter asks why Santa Clara, “whose recent DEIR evaluated the impacts of just a stadium project, was able to provide a longer public review period without the complication of the holidays?”
Sam Singer, who is representing Lennar, the company developing the project, said despite the criticism, he feels the overall community has been supportive of the redevelopment plans.
“This is San Francisco. Everyone has an opinion and we value peoples’ opinions,” Singer said. “But there has been significant, if not overwhelming public support for the redevelopment.”
He pointed to Proposition G, which was approved by more than 60 percent of San Francisco voters.
Bloom said his organization is not opposing the project as a whole, but is “making sure the public is fully engaged in the process,” and that the 45-day review period “just doesn’t pass the sniff test.”
Joy Navarrete, an environmental planner with the city’s Planning Department, said a decision about whether the review period will be extended could be made at either the Redevelopment Agency Commission’s hearing Tuesday or the Planning Commission’s hearing Thursday.
The Redevelopment Agency hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday in Room 416 at City Hall, while the Planning Commission hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in Room 400 at City Hall.
The draft environmental impact report is available at the Planning Department’s Web site, http://www.sfgov.org/site/planning_index.asp.