The America’s Cup took a major step forward Thursday night when the environmental impact report was unanimously certified by the Planning Commission.
Event planners can now move forward with the permitting process for important construction projects for the 2013 yachting event.
“I think this is a very momentous situation, as far as the publicity and the recognition worldwide The City will receive,” said Commissioner Michael Antonini. “I can’t think of another event, truthfully, since the ’39 World’s Fair that will be worldwide recognition for The City.”
The public comment period for the environmental report closed Aug. 25, but more than a dozen community members addressed the commission about the event, with some in favor and others against certification.
Members of the Environmental Council, a coalition of community groups that has raised concerns about the report, were among the speakers. In a statement Wednesday, the council asked the commission to delay its vote to allow more time to review a program that will delegate mitigation responsibilities to various agencies. Some groups intended to appeal the decision if the commission did not comply with their request.
However, opponents on Thursday stopped short of threatening to appeal.
“We would urge you to take the time to do it right. It can be done in a timely fashion without rushing it, and we can make this a better event for all of us,” Jon Golinger, president of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers neighborhood group, told commissioners.
Golinger said the report did not adequately evaluate the trash, traffic and noise impacts on neighborhoods.
Commissioners and Planning Director John Rahaim acknowledged those concerns, but said they could be resolved in future approvals needed for the event.
In the coming months, more than 15 other agencies, including the Board of Supervisors, will weigh in on the environmental report and other permits, Rahaim said. He emphasized that the commission’s action signified a complete environmental review, but was not an approval of the project itself.
The San Francisco Port Commission today is expected to consider permits related to the international racing event.
The America’s Cup in 2013 will create thousands of jobs and bring millions of visitors to the Bay Area.
9,200 Staff, volunteers, vendors expected to be needed for event
5.49M Estimated visitors to region
147-880 Spectator boats on the Bay per day
Source: America’s Cup environmental impact report