MAYOR LEE ANNOUNCES MILESTONE IN PLANNING FOR THE 34TH AMERICA’S CUP EVENTS AND CRITICAL RELATED PORT PROJECT
The America's Cup in San Francisco. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/www.americascup.com
Public Comment Period Opens for Draft EIR for Events, Related Port Cruise Terminal Project; Represents a Key Step Forward in Meeting the Challenge of Hosting America’s Cup Events
by Stephanie Martin
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced the issuance of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR), a critical milestone in the planning for the America’s Cup events in 2012 and 2013 and the associated construction of the James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27 by the Port of San Francisco.
“This is a major milestone for our efforts to bring the excitement of the America’s Cup events here to San Francisco,” said Mayor Lee. “The Draft EIR represents a significant and thorough effort by the City and its partners at the America’s Cup Event Authority and America’s Cup Race Management to analyze the impacts of the events. Now, with the help of further community input, we look forward to refining those plans even further in advance of the project approval process later this year.”
The economic impact of San Francisco hosting the 34th America’s Cup is significant, and includes an estimated 8,800 jobs, distributed widely across occupations from food and beverage to hospitality, transportation, and the construction trades, and nearly $1.4 billion in economic impacts to San Francisco and the Bay Area region.
The San Francisco Planning Department, pursuant to the San Francisco Administrative Code, Chapter 31, has determined that an EIR is required for both projects based on the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Draft EIR presents an analysis of the physical environmental effects of implementing the proposed 34th America’s Cup project and the proposed James R. Herman Cruise Terminal project. The Draft EIR addresses the full range of environmental topics required under CEQA, describing the environmental setting, assessing impacts, and identifying mitigation measures for potentially significant and significant impacts.
As set forth in the Draft EIR, the America’s Cup events in the City are proposed to include two separate nine-day America’s Cup World Series regattas in late summer 2012, followed by the Louis Vuitton Cup, The America’s Cup Challenger Series and America’s Cup Defender Series (if necessary) in July-August 2013 and the America’s Cup Finals from September 7-22, 2013.
If the proposal is approved as described in the Draft EIR, the core and shell of the James R. Herman Cruise Terminal would be constructed to house America’s Cup hospitality functions as part of the larger America’s Cup Village at Piers 27-29, before completion of the remainder of the facility following the America’s Cup events. Other key event locations would include Piers 30-32 (racing team bases), Pier 80 (racing team industrial bases), and park lands along the City’s northern waterfront where spectators would be expected to congregate.
“With our partners, we’ve focused on building a plan that will deliver the greatest America’s Cup ever seen, connecting millions of global fans back to the sport while respecting the needs and values of our host city and its residents,” said America’s Cup Race Management CEO and Regatta Director Iain Murray. “The proposal in the Draft EIR really supports that vision, and with further input from community, will enable us to stage an event that showcases San Francisco on the world stage as a top international destination and model for global sporting events.”
“The energy and commitment shown by the City and its America’s Cup partners with respect to the CEQA process has benefits even beyond the events,” said Planning and Conservation League (PCL) Executive Director Bruce Reznik. “By upholding the engagement process around these key environmental issues the America’s Cup is bolstering the commitment of the state of California to the thorough vetting of environmental impacts prior to the approval of projects.”
“We are witness to an incredible effort by the City to mobilize planning and environmental resources and expertise under a microscope of public scrutiny and compressed time frame,” said San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee Chairman Mark Buell. “This feat makes our job of raising the funds necessary to pay for the environmental review a little easier as our donors will be honored to support the City’s herculean effort.”
The Draft EIR was issued by the Planning Department today. Interested persons may obtain the document at the Planning Department Public Information Counter at 1660 Mission Street, 1st floor, or go to: http://tinyurl.com/meacases.
Oral public comments on the Draft EIR will be heard before the Planning Commission on August 11, 2011 where comments will be transcribed by a court reporter. Written comments will be accepted by the Planning Department until the close of the 45-day public review period on August 25, 2011. Written comments should be sent to Bill Wycko, San Francisco Planning Department, 1650 Mission Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94103, or sent by email to Joy Navarrete, the CEQA coordinator for this project, at firstname.lastname@example.org
After the close of the comment period described above the Planning Department will prepare a Comments and Responses document that will respond to all oral and written comments received. It will be published in Fall 2011 and then brought before the Planning Commission for final certification as required prior to any project approvals.