Shipyard project moves forward 

The stage has been set for a highly charged political debate about a historic redevelopment effort after an environmental impact report longer than 7,000 pages, which took three years to complete, was certified early Wednesday morning.

One of the greatest building projects in San Francisco’s history is planned on and around the shuttered Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, where a hotel, marina, performance arena and more than 10,000 homes could help the area restore long-lost economic prosperity during the coming decades.

An NFL stadium is also proposed, but the 49ers have all but rejected the plan in favor of a shift to Santa Clara.

Environmentalist and neighborhood activists lodged protests in recent months against The City’s environmental review of the redevelopment project, which had to be finalized under California law before any construction-related work can begin.

Appellants argued that city officials must spend more time studying the health effects of construction-related dust and other types of pollution on Bayview residents who have long been exposed to dirty air sullied by power plants and heavy industry.

Among a long list of other arguments, they said The City failed to properly analyze alternatives to a controversial bridge that’s planned over Yosemite Slough, a muddy waterway that’s home to nesting birds and other wildlife.

Uncertainty about the amount of environmental cleanup work that will be undertaken by the Navy prior to development was also a concern.

But the Board of Supervisors rejected those appeals in an 8-3 vote cast just after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday after hours of debate at City Hall. Supervisors Eric Mar, Chris Daly and John Avalos cast the three nay votes. The ruling could be appealed in court.

The vote means that city officials are now free to debate, refine and approve specific building plans in the coming weeks and months.

Plans to redevelop the 702-acre area are widely supported, but fierce battles between political factions have erupted over the specific building plans, which some neighbors fear will push up the cost of living and force them to move.

The redevelopment project could begin after the first pieces of land are transferred to The City next year.

The project would be the second building phase at the shipyard. Master developer Lennar Corp. is preparing to build homes on outlying portions of the shipyard that the Navy transferred to The City in 2004.

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