Environmental review for Treasure Island development approved by judge

S.F. Examiner File PhotoA project at Treasure Island could add 8

The project to redevelop Treasure Island received its second piece of recent good news when a judge approved the adequacy of The City’s environmental impact report.

Shortly after the Board of Supervisors approved the project in July 2011, a group called Citizens for a Sustainable Treasure Island filed a suit over the environmental report. Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson ruled Friday that it “provides sufficient analysis to intelligently consider the environmental consequences.”

Project supporters were not surprised by the ruling, said Chris Meany of Wilson Meany, one of the partners in Treasure Island Community Development. “We spent a lot of time, effort and money to ensure this EIR was thorough and exhaustive,” Meany said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that more time and money had to be spent in a courtroom.”

Former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, a member of the coalition that filed the lawsuit, said the group is conferring with its lawyers about a possible appeal. “We are obviously disappointed,” he said, adding that the group has two months to decide its next step.

Jackson’s ruling comes on the heels of news that project developer Lennar has come to an agreement for a $1.7 billion loan for the island development and one at Hunters Point, both of which are shuttered naval bases. That could be finalized soon.

The development plan for Treasure Island calls for 8,000 housing units, which is composed of 6,316 market-rate units and 1,684 below-market-rate ones. The plans also include retail and office space, hotels and new park space.

The project has drawn concern from residents and environmental groups about the cleanup of radioactive material on the island. The Navy used Treasure Island as a site to clean and maintain ships, some of which were used for atomic tests in the 1940s and 1950s. The Navy has met with residents and city officials to offer assurances that the cleanup assessments reveal no major health dangers.

Mayor Ed Lee’s office says the environmental review ruling will help move the project forward.

“The ruling reaffirms the City’s leadership position in environmental planning and smart, green development,” mayoral spokeswoman Christine Falvey said. “We were confident that the appropriate city review of the impacts of redevelopment were considered. Now we can start the work of building San Francisco’s newest neighborhood.”

mbillings@sfexaminer.com

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