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Proposed Treasure Island marina faces hurdles

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A Board of Supervisors Committee on Monday approved a resolution placing limits on plans for a new marina at Clipper Cove on Treasure Island, calling on the developer to maintain public access and educational uses and avoid harming the environment. (Photo courtesy Travis Lund/Treasure Island Sailing Center)

A Board of Supervisors committee on Monday sided with community members who fear plans for a private marina at Treasure Island’s Clipper Cove could reduce public access and harm the environment.

Developer Treasure Island Enterprises, LLC, plans to build a marina over a third of the cove with 313 private slips, or parking spots for yachts, that range from 40 to 80 feet long.

The plan has the backing of the Treasure Island Development Authority, but the community surrounding the cove has been fighting against the developers who have wanted to build a marina there for yachts since 1998 after the U.S. Navy abandoned the space.

The board’s Land Use Committee voted unanimously to support a resolution from Supervisor Jane Kim urging that any marina development at the cove not interfere with existing public and educational uses, avoid harming the environment including eelgrass beds in the cove, maintain berths for small craft, avoid obstructing existing views and include financing for dredging to maintain the cove’s depth.

“Clipper Cove is the Dolores Park of the bay,” said Brian Schrier, a sailor who frequents Clipper Cove. “You wouldn’t let somebody mow that over for a parking lot.”

Around 2,000 fourth and fifth graders from San Francisco Unified School District’s sailing and STEM program flock to Clipper Cove each year for its calm water, moderate winds and protection from the heavy tide which makes it the perfect spot to safely learn how to sail, according to the Treasure Island Sailing Center.

“Kids who come through these sailing programs learn how to trust each other and they learn how to overcome fears, fears on the water and fears of people who don’t look like them” said Valerie Santori, a volunteer for the Treasure Island Sailing Center. “If you want to represent the community then you need to support the community and not just sell out for a bunch of pretty boats.”

Kim, whose district includes Treasure Island, said the developers claimed in a letter sent to the Board of Supervisors on Friday that the new yacht marina had already been approved by the Board in 2015. She called out the sponsor’s representative, Jay Wallace, for the letter, saying that in reality, only a study on the proposed marina was passed.

“This board has never approved a 400 slip marina,” Kim said. “I have to express my deep and utter dismay and disappointment with a letter that was submitted by the sponsor to the Board of Supervisors. It just boggles the mind and is a bit insulting to the intelligence of the members of this board.”

The resolution also notes that the proposed project could increase the need for dredging in the cove. But the developers do not want to pay for the entire cove to be dredged.

“At no time in the 20-year process of marina planning has there ever been a hint that TIE (Treasure Island Enterprises) would be required to dredge the entire cove, but that is now apparently a point of contention,” Wallace said in the letter.

“Most people got most of what they wanted and that is good policy,” Wallace said after the hearing. “There are a few items in the resolution that we do not agree with.”

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