Beach Chalet turf foes plan appeal

S.F. Examiner File PhotoGame on: Opponents of a plan to install artificial turf and lighting at the soccer fields at the Beach Chalet want the turf installed at West Sunset Playground instead.

S.F. Examiner File PhotoGame on: Opponents of a plan to install artificial turf and lighting at the soccer fields at the Beach Chalet want the turf installed at West Sunset Playground instead.

Groups opposed to an artificial turf project at the Beach Chalet soccer fields announced Monday that they will appeal the project to the Board of Supervisors.

The Recreation and Park Commission and the Planning Commission on May 24 approved replacing the grass fields in Golden Gate Park with synthetic turf and adding lights to the playing area.

On Monday community groups that oppose the project proposed to renovate the Beach Chalet soccer fields with living grass, improved drainage and gopher nets, though they do not recommend any lighting — a plan called the “hybrid alternative.” Additionally, they propose that the lights and synthetic turf be placed at West Sunset

Playground, which is located about eight blocks south of Golden Gate Park.

“It’s all about location and protecting the habitat and beauty of Golden Gate Park,” said Katherine Howard, leader of SF Ocean Edge. “Everyone deserves to be able to see the nature at the park without it being lit up like “Star Wars.”

The playing fields at West Sunset Playground are scheduled to be renovated as part of the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond. Moving the artificial turf project will cost approximately the same amount and will increase the number of playing fields at West Sunset from four to six, according to Richard Drury, the attorney for the community groups that oppose the Beach Chalet project.

“The City is going to be spending  about the same amount of money either way, so I don’t understand why they would draw a line in the sand and say that the artificial turf has to be at Beach Chalet,” Drury said.

Rec and Park has said the project at the Beach Chalet fields will increase the amount of time the fields are available.

“Right now, Beach Chalet is closed on Mondays and several times throughout the year,” said Rec and Park spokeswoman Sarah Ballard. “The Beach Chalet project goes a long way to increase play time since you can play on the artificial turf in the rain and the field will be lit up at night.”

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