Environmental groups appeal final EIR on Lennar’s Candlestick/Shipyard plan

Lennar's massive redevelopment plan hits a potential roadblock

The Sierra Club, the Golden Gate Audubon Society, the California Native Plant Society’ and San Francisco Tomorrow have filed an appeal with the Board of Supervisor’s and the city’s Planning Department over the Planning Commission’s June 3 certification of the city’s controversial final environment report (FEIR) for Lennar’s Candlestick Point/ Hunters Point Shipyard redevelopment project.

The move means that the FEIR, which otherwise would not have come before the Board for review, now heads to the Board for a hearing within 30 days of the group’s June 21 appeal filing. The move also means that the City, which laid out an aggressive schedule for seeking approvals from a myriad of government agencies and departments, cannot seek further approval actions on the project until the Board holds a hearing, which will likely occur on or before July 20.

The San Francisco Bay chapter of the Sierra Club, the Golden Gate Audubon Society, the California Native Plant Society’s Yerba Buena Chapter and San Francisco Tomorrow cited nine major deficiencies in their appeal , but noted that by removing plans to a) build a bridge over Yosemite Slough, b)erect luxury condos on state parkland and b) compromise clean-up efforts at Parcel E2, which is the most polluted land at the shipyard, resolution of many of these disputed issues could be expedited.

“If the Board of Supervisors acts promptly, revisions to the EIR may be made quickly and result in a minimal delay in the progress of the project,” the appeal warns. “Alternately, resolution of many of these disputed issues may be expedited by a decision to remove from the FEIR and Project Plan the provisions for the bridge over the Yosemite Slough, the transfer of land in Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, and compromised clean-up efforts at Parcel E2.”

In their appeal, the four groups noted that they each group and its members represent “a sizeable constituency that has been actively participating in the development of the EIR” for almost a decade and that has conducted or funded studies to inform the Draft EIR and has filed comments to the DEIR and other planning documents.

“Unfortunately, the data, comments and testimony provided by the Appellants and their members have been dismissed or outright ignored by the Planning Department and the developer in this process, resulting in fatal flaws in the FEIR and necessitating this appeal,” the four groups state.

‘Because many portions of the FEIR are inaccurate and incomplete, the Planning Commission erred in adopting several findings and certifying the FEIR,” the appeal concludes. ‘Therefore, we are appealing the FEIR because:
1.    The FEIR failed to adequately analyze an alternate Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) router around Yosemite Slough;
2.    The FEIR failed to adequately assess impacts resulting form the landfill cap on Parcel E2, which is a lower standard for the clean-up than required by San Francisco voters as expressed in Proposition P;
3.    The FEIR inaccurately and incompletely assessed the impacts from transferring approximately 20 acres of public shoreline land in Candlestick Point State Recreation Area to the developer for construction of high-end housing;
4.    The FEIR failed to analyze those elements of the project’s Sustainability Plan that could have significant environmental impacts, including two proposed heating and cooling plants (which appear to be power plants) to serve at least 10,500 units in the Project and a Project-wide recycling collection system;
5.    The FEIR failed to adequately consider impacts to the bird-nesting island component of the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area’s proposed 34-acre Wetland Restoration Project, which is already permitted and planned for construction this year;
6.    The FEIR failed to adequately address impacts to eight MUNI lines, which would significantly increase transit times, increase delays during peak hours, potentially dissuade ridership, and/or require increased service, busses, or drivers;
7.    The FEIR failed to adequately assess impacts resulting from the construction and maintenance of the Project’s underground utility matrix;
8.    The FEIR failed to adequately address the fact that the Project will result in increases in air pollution that will exceed existing air quality standards—indeed even though the FEIR admits exceedences of air quality levels will occur, those statements are underestimates because the FEIR failed to consider that the development in combination with other development plans will result in significant traffic congestion on Highway 101 and Interstate 280 and fore more traffic onto surface streets; and
9.    The FEIR included conclusions based on false, inaccurate and/or biased statements as “evidence,” including (but not limited to) that one cannot have an ‘undisturbed nature experience” in an urban area as a rationale for dismissing impacts that will inevitably result from construction of the bridge over Yosemite Slough and/or the reduction of public land in the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area.

In their appeal, Mike Lynes, Conservation Director Golden Gate Audubon Society, Linda J.Shaffer, Vice President, California Native Plant Society, Yerba Buena Chapter, Jennifer Clary of San Francisco Tomorrow, and Arthur Feinstein, Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Chapter, promised that each of the abovementioned deficiencies will be further documented by additional submissions to the record prior to a hearing on this appeal by the Board. So, stay tuned.