Neighborhood and environmental groups today filed an appeal of the final environmental impact report for the America’s Cup sailing race in San Francisco, the same day Mayor Ed Lee announced a new development agreement with race organizers.
The appeal was filed by the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, San Francisco Tomorrow, the Golden Gate Audubon Society and Waterfront Watch in response to Thursday night’s unanimous approval by the Planning Commission of the report analyzing the impact of the America’s Cup race.
America’s Cup World Series races are scheduled to start in August 2012, followed by the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup Challenger Series in July 2013 and the America’s Cup Finals in September 2013.
The groups filing the appeal are asking for expanded environmental analysis of issues including the impacts on neighborhoods near the waterfront, said Jon Golinger, president of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers.
“The approach they took was to say this project occurs only on the waterfront, but the truth is, what better place to view the races than up on Coit Tower or Russian Hill?” Golinger said.
At a news conference announcing the new development agreement today, Lee said that the city can not afford to delay work on the America’s Cup because it needs the jobs that will be generated by the project.
Plans for the America’s Cup include the construction of a new cruise ship terminal at Pier 27, as well as venues for entertainment and spectator areas, team bases and media and hospitality services.
The groups who filed the appeal have been working closely with the city during the environmental review process and do not intend to delay the project’s approval, Golinger said.
He noted that the EIR is currently scheduled to go before the Board of Supervisors in mid-January, and argued that the city could probably complete the needed additional analysis before that time.
“They expected this,” Golinger said of city officials. “This is part of the process, it’s not a lawsuit and we have no intention of pursuing litigation. We just want more eyeballs on these issues.”
Word of the appeal came shortly before Lee announced a new agreement with the America’s Cup Event Authority in which the race organizers gave up development rights to Piers 14 to 22 ¬Ω in exchange for rights at Pier 54.
The agreement means that a new marina planned for the scenic area in front of the “Cupid’s Bow” sculpture along the Embarcadero will now be located in the busier Mission Bay area south of AT&T Park, according to Monique Moyer, executive director for the Port of San Francisco.
The marina project had drawn objections due to its likely impact on views of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island.
The Port Commission is also scheduled to vote today on environmental documents for the James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27 and other America’s Cup-related development on Port-owned property.
In addition, the commission is voting on relocation plans for Port tenants affected by the project including Teatro ZinZanni and Bauer’s Transportation.