Marina Green’s pristine views of San Francisco Bay could be blocked by a 300-foot concrete breakwater because a subtler alternative is $2 million more expensive.
The floating breakwater is supposed to prevent waves from slamming into the docks and boats at the Marina West Harbor, which neighbors Fort Mason. It is part of an $18.75 million project to reconstruct all the dilapidated timber at a harbor that has not been renovated since 1963.
“It’s an absolutely necessary item,” said Jim Diepenbrock, director of the San Francisco Marina Harbor Association. “We’re going to spend a lot of money to redo the harbor, and the problem is the wave.”
The breakwater was not part of the original plans for the harbor, and was later penciled in as a cheaper, possibly more effective alternative to a shorter sea wall that would have been located closer to the docks and coastline. But some neighbors say the breakwater will be more obtrusive.
“Initially, they didn’t want anything blocking the public vista,” said Dominic Maionchi, who uses the harbor for his sailboat and is a resident of the neighborhood. “Now, because they didn’t have enough money to do the one that was approved, they’re blocking the public vista.”
Staff of the Recreation and Park Department, which operates the land, said that if it followed through with the initial plans, the project would have run $2 million over its $25 million budget.
“The fixed breakwater turned out to be structurally much more complicated,” said project manager Mary Hobson. “The floating breakwater is within our budget. … It’s only 3 feet tall ... the sea wall would have been 9 feet.”
Hobson said engineers found that the floating breakwater would be more effective than the sea wall’s rubble mounds.
Maionchi and Patricia Vaughey of the Marina-Cow Hollow Neighbors and Merchants said they plan to raise their concerns during public comment on the project, which will be voted on by the Recreation and Park Commission Capital Committee on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
But most people familiar with the overdue project seem to agree that it needs to move forward.
“With the timing and America’s Cup coming, it’s absolutely critical that this harbor be done,” Diepenbrock said.