San Francisco's Treasure Island project moves forward with vote of approval 

San Francisco’s Planning Commission on Thursday advanced the massive redevelopment of Treasure Island by a 4-3 vote, approving the $1.5 billion project’s environmental impact report.

The report was unanimously approved by the Treasure Island Development Authority, which held a joint hearing with the Planning Commission for more than three hours. Voting to send the impact report back for review were planning commissioners Kathrin Moore and Hisashi Sugaya and commission President Christina Olague.  

A long line of public speakers —mostly in favor of adding 8,000 new residences to the island — touted the project’s inclusion of affordable housing, job creation and potential to make the former U.S. Navy base a transit-oriented, self-contained community.

Opponents, including the Sierra Club and the San Francisco Green Party, called for the document to be redone, contending the amount of allowable car parking is too high, traffic is already a nightmare on the Bay Bridge and the tsunami danger has not been properly addressed.

Earlier this month, planners freed the project from funding through The City’s Redevelopment Agency in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s efforts to eliminate the agencies statewide. Instead, an infrastructure financing district would be set up to allow The City to borrow against future tax revenue that comes from redevelopment.

The financial restructuring resulted in the loss of 400 of the 2,400 planned units that could be made affordable, but several members of the Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative said changes to state law could get the units back into the plan.

Planning Commissioner Michael Antonini said recent setbacks to the plan’s affordable housing units still put Treasure Island above requirements in San Francisco, and that plans to compact the island’s low-lying surface with 1.1 million cubic yards of new material will raise it above the level of downtown.

Aaron Peskin, a former Board of Supervisors president, said the project should not be trusted to deliver on its many promises.

“The public benefits have been eroded,” Peskin said.

The impact report is now set to go before two Board of Supervisors committees in May, and likely the full board by June. If the project wins approval, ground could be broken by 2012.

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