Appeal by coalition slows start of Treasure Island redevelopment project 

The massive redevelopment plan for Treasure Island briefly moved forward Wednesday, but then suffered a new setback as a coalition of environmentalists and critics slammed the brakes on a project already more than a decade in the making.

Earlier in the day, the Budget and Finance Subcommittee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the project’s financial plan for consideration by the full board Tuesday.

But a subsequent appeal of the project’s environmental impact report derailed that timetable and will delay any shoveling of dirt on the ambitious project.

Three environmental groups led by the Sierra Club, along with former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin and Treasure Island resident Kenneth Master, said in a news release that a publicly circulated draft of the project’s environmental impact report failed to describe the project in full detail. They also complained that the project has changed since the report was completed.

The project aims to add 8,000 new homes to the former U.S. Navy base and would increase the island’s population from 2,400 to 19,000. A city budget analyst’s report predicts that this would generate $80 million for The City’s general fund over during 20 years of construction, and $3.3 million annually thereafter.

Kate Looby, senior chapter director of the Sierra Club in San Francisco, raised concerns about the expansion of housing from 6,000 to 8,000 units and the plan to include one parking space for each unit.

“Considering the Bay Bridge traffic, that’s not good,” Looby said.

Meanwhile, affordable housing targets were recently reduced by 400 units, amid a change in project financing sparked by Gov. Jerry Brown’s desire to eliminate redevelopment agencies statewide.

Before the committee hearing Wednesday during a City Hall rally, Supervisors Jane Kim and Ross Mirkarimi called for changes to state law that would restore those units. Kim said Assemblyman Tom Ammiano hopes to legislate an exception for the project, which currently includes 2,000 affordable units.

Kim said the affordable housing issue is critical, but not a deal-breaker for a full board vote.

“Work needs to continue to happen as we lobby,” Kim said.

But at the Planning Commission’s approval of the project’s environmental impact report in April, critic and former Supervisor Peskin predicted that the affordable housing pledge was just the first of many promises that would be broken over the project’s 20-year build-out.

The Board of Supervisors is set to consider the project and the environmental appeal at its meeting on June 7.

Financial impact

Projected ramifications over 20 years of Treasure Island construction:

$3.2 billion injected into city’s economy
1,100 jobs per year
$5.8 billion total development cost for infrastructure and buildings
$157 million cost to The City
$236 million in revenue to The City’s general fund

Source: City Controller’s Office

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