October 2, 2014

BCDC puts brakes on Warriors’ arena plan–votes to oppose AB 1273 unless it becomes a two-year bill

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.

On June 20 the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) voted 12 – 6 to ask the state Senate to make Assembly Bill 1273, “The Warriors’ Arena Bill”, a two-year bill, allowing more time for project details to be revealed and for amendments to be made to the bill. If the bill is not made two-year, the vote places BCDC in opposition to the bill’s current form. (See “Is SF getting ahead of itself on Warriors’ proposal?“)

The vote sends a strong message to the state legislature, protesting this legislation that would undermine BCDC’s regulatory authority to protect the San Francisco Bay and slowing down the fast-tracked approval process. BCDC’s request for a two-year bill was based on concerns expressed during the meeting that the Warriors’ arena plans have been incomplete, especially in lacking details about the true mass, bulk, and height of the project which would be built over open Bay waters on Piers 30 – 32.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was among the dozens of people urging BCDC to oppose AB 1273. Mayor Quan said, “This bill doesn’t play by the rules. We all have this Bay in common and we need to protect it.”

Two members of the commission, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia, took the lead at the meeting in guiding BCDC to its vote.

State Sen. Loni Hancock traveled from Sacramento to discuss AB 1273 with the Commission, asking the commissioners to strongly oppose the bill. Hancock stated, “AB 1273 is a stunning reversal of decades of decision-making by BCDC to determine Public Trust benefits.”

Despite the Port of San Francisco’s strong support for AB 1273, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was absent from the BCDC meeting.

AB 1273 would circumvent BCDC’s customary regulatory process and take away the Commission’s authority under the McAteer-Petris Act to determine if a major project on the San Francisco Bay meets the requirements of the Public Trust. The bill passed the Assembly and will be heard on June 25 in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.

The San Francisco Waterfront Alliance, Save the Bay, the Sierra Club, and Baykeeper have all strongly opposed AB 1273 and are pleased that BCDC voted to fight to maintain its authority and ensure its full oversight of the Warriors arena project for Piers 30 – 32.

Gayle Cahill, president of the San Francisco Waterfront Alliance, said of the BCDC vote yesterday, “The Warriors want to build an entertainment complex of unprecedented bulk and mass on the San Francisco Bay. We are gratified that BCDC has voted to fight to keep full jurisdiction over this project and sought to slow down the process. AB 1273 is wrong for the Bay and wrong for our waterfront.”

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