Lennar's litmus test - Page 2

Lennar Corp. is proposing to build 10,500 new homes in southeast San Francisco, mostly on publicly-owned land. Will the Board of Supervisors stand up to its juggernaut?

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Lennar Corp. is proposing to build 10,500 new homes in southeast San Francisco, mostly on publicly-owned land

These included the FEIR's failure to analyze and mitigate for displacement that would be triggered in the surrounding neighborhood by developing 10,500 mostly market-rate housing units in the area and "failure to provide for adequate oversight and enforcement of the terms of the early transfer" of the shipyard from the Navy.

POWER also cited the FEIR's failure to adequately mitigate against the impact of sea level rise, the risks associated with potential liquefaction of contaminated landfill at the shipyard in the event of an earthquake, and health risks related to chemicals of concern at the shipyard. The group also faulted the city's failure to get the Navy to prepare an environmental impact statement on its clean-up plan before the FEIR was completed.

Finally, Californians for Renewable Energy (CARE) filed a five-point appeal June 23 charging that the project contravened the intent of Proposition P (which voters approved in 2000, urging the Navy to remediate shipyard pollution to the maximum extent possible), that the project's FEIR is incomplete because the Navy (which still retains jurisdiction over the project lands) has not yet completed its EIS, and that the FEIR approval process was tainted by 49ers-related political pressure.

"The pre-set goal of maintaining the 49ers in San Francisco has colored the environmental analysis of this decision," CARE noted, referring to the city's rush to get the project's FEIR certified on June 3 — five days before Santa Clara County voters approved a new stadium for the 49ers near Great America .

The appeal filings mean the Board of Supervisors is required to hold a hearing within 30 days, a move that places a roadblock, at least temporarily, in the way of the city's tight schedule to secure final approvals for Lennar's megaproject before summer's end.

Board President David Chiu told the Guardian that the Board's Land Use Committee will move forward with a July 13 meeting to hear a list of proposed amendments related to the underlying plan along with the FEIR appeals.

"We are back at the board Land Use Committee July 12 with 10 items related to the project," said Chiu, who is a member of the Land Use Committee. The three-member committee is chaired by Sup. Sophie Maxwell, who represents the project's District 10; Sup. Eric Mar is vice-chair.

"The next day, July 13, has been tentatively set for a full meeting of the full board," Chiu continued. He acknowledged that the FEIR related materials are dense and complex, telling us that "they form the largest pile on my desk, and it's about five inches high."

But he wasn't about to prejudge the outcome. "We do need to clean up the area and rebuild it in such a way that it will dramatically increase affordable housing and jobs and support a livable diverse community," Chiu said. "Obviously there are still a lot of questions and concerns about the proposed project and the board will push to make sure all these issues are adequately addressed."

CARE president Michael Boyd said he hoped the board would take his group's appeal seriously and fix the plan's fundamental shortcomings. "That means going back to square one," he said.

But others were less sure that the board would seek to overturn the entire plan. "Everyone in the community would like the best level of clean-up," said Saul Bloom, whose nonprofit Arc Ecology has tracked the proposed shipyard clean-up for three decades. "But what's possible and practical? And will the city be supportive of that or the most expeditious solution?"