January 20, 2017

Is SF getting ahead of itself on Warriors’ proposal?

 Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos calls this “the most beautiful spot on the waterfront”. Should this land be used for the Warriors’ sports arena or for better public access to the shoreline? Photo courtesy San Francisco Waterfront Alliance.

Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos calls this “the most beautiful spot on the waterfront”. Should this land be used for the Warriors’ sports arena or for better public access to the shoreline? Photo courtesy San Francisco Waterfront Alliance.

Update (June 17, 2013): to tell BCDC Commissioners and state Senators to halt this project from getting further in the planning process, go to No Warriors Arena on the Pier.


San Francisco has been barreling ahead on the Golden State Warriors’ proposal for an event center and multi-use development at Piers 30 – 32  off the The Embarcadero between Bryant and Brannan Streets.  In October the city issued “Findings of Fiscal Responsibility and Feasibility” prepared by Economic and Planning Systems. This report was accepted by the Board of Supervisors. At the request of the city, Assemblymember Phil Ting has introduced AB 1273 which would declare a multi-use development to conform to the Public Trust, even though his district does not include the proposed project.

On May 1, AB 1273 passed out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on a 7 – 2 vote (Nancy Skinner and Mark Stone voting no) despite the opposition of Save the Bay, San Francisco Baykeeper, the San Francisco Waterfront Alliance, Sierra Club California, and the mayors of four East Bay cities (Tom Bates of Berkeley, Stephen Cassidy of San Leandro, Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond, and Jean Quan of Oakland). As the mayors’ letter stated, AB 1273 would diminish the authority of the State Lands Commission and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) in the project approval process. The bill moved to Local Government, where it passed unanimously. Next it goes to Assembly Appropriations.

This project has moved so quickly that the San Francisco Planning Department issued a Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the Draft Environmental Impact Report before the Planning Department had received project designs and building models. The Citizens’ Advisory Committee and its subcommittees have had to cancel meetings for lack of project information. Upcoming hearings before the San Francisco Planning Commission, the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee, and BCDC will require the plans.

BCDC is clearly prepared to do its important job here. Its comments responding to the NOP were detailed, quoting the McAteer-Petris Act and the criteria of the Port’s Special Area Plan (SAP) for allowable development: “The SAP (p. 20) characterizes the Northeastern Waterfront which includes Piers 30 – 32, as a ‘regional recreation and scenic resource.’ Generally, the SAP provides that waterfront development should provide maximum feasible public access—of which visual access is a ‘critical part’ (p. 32), preserve important Bay views and have a low scale height and bulk.”

Also threatening open spaces on the waterfront is the Port’s proposal to turn the plaza behind the Ferry Building into a parking lot. The Waterfront Land Use Plan designates this plaza as open space. Parking over water is prohibited by the Waterfront Land Use Plan, San Francisco’s General Plan, and the BCDC Special Area Plan. The plaza is over water, as is the Ferry Building itself.


To be alerted when it is time to speak up against this and other outrageous waterfront proposals, make sure that you are signed up to receive the Sierra Club Bay Chapter’s updates and alerts.

Or to get involved now, please contact conservation organizer Jess Dervin-Ackerman at (510)848-0800, ext. 304, or jess@sfbaysc.org.

Becky Evans, chair, Sierra Club San Francisco Group


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