Treasure Island Plan Gets Boost from State Appeals Court

by / Thursday, 10 July 2014 / Published in News

From The San Francisco Chronicle

July 8, 2014- A proposed residential and commercial development on San Francisco’s Treasure Island has taken a step forward with a state appeals court ruling upholding the city’s favorable environmental review of the $1.5 billion project and rejecting opponents’ claims that it was vague about the design plan’s cleanup of toxic substances.

City supervisors approved construction on the former Navy base and adjoining Yerba Buena Island in 2011. The project, scheduled to take 15 to 20 years, includes up to 8,000 homes, 25 percent of them classified as below-market affordable housing, along with commercial and office buildings, 500 hotel rooms, a ferry terminal, and 300 acres of parks, playgrounds and open space.

A suit by Citizens for a Sustainable Treasure Island, led by former Supervisor Aaron Peskin, contended San Francisco’s environmental study was inadequate because it lacked details of street layouts and building design or of plans to remove the many hazardous materials in the soil, groundwater and existing buildings.

But the First District Court of Appeal, in a ruling made public Tuesday, said the study contained all available information about the project “while providing for flexibility needed to respond to changing conditions and unforeseen events.”

The court also said the Navy is required to remove all toxic substances – including oil, pesticides, asbestos, lead paint and low-level radioactive material – from each parcel before transferring the land to developers. The environmental report details the locations of known hazards and the procedures the city and the developers would use for any further cleanups, the court said.

Justice Ignazio Ruvolo wrote the 3-0 ruling.

“After several years of unnecessary and costly litigation, we can finally begin building more homes for people who want to live in San Francisco,” said Chris Meany of the firm Wilson Meany, which is developing the project along with Lennar Corp.

Citizens for a Sustainable Treasure Island is considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court and has asked the Navy to reassess its 11-year-old environmental review of the project, said Saul Bloom, who also directs the environmental nonprofit Arc Ecology. “Our main concern is about radiological and other contamination that was clearly understated in the (city’s) environmental impact report,” he said.