Naval shipyard’s contested environmental report OK’d

Despite concerns about building homes on polluted land, the planned Hunters Point Naval Shipyard redevelopment project’s environmental impact report was certified late Thursday.

Certification by commissioners overseeing San Francisco’s Planning Department and Redevelopment Agency was a milestone for the project.

The vote could be appealed to the Board of Supervisors and to a court.

Rejection of the 7,700-page report could add costs and delays to the project, which aims to build 10,500 homes, parks, a marina, offices, shops and research space on 702 acres of shipyard and surrounding land over coming decades.

Residents packed City Hall for the hearing, with public comment regarding the environmental impact report lasting six hours.

Supporters of the project said it will provide jobs and community amenities for a neighborhood that has suffered economic misery since the Navy left in 1974.

Many neighbors, however, said the report failed to adequately deal with health and environmental impacts from construction-related dust, air pollution and a bridge over Yosemite Slough.

Most commissioners disagreed and voted to certify the report. Planning commissioners Christina Olague, Kathrin Moore and Hisashi Sugaya voted against certification.

Major concerns remain, however, related to plans to build before the land is completely cleared of contamination.

The Navy has spent hundreds of millions of dollars cleaning the Superfund site, which is planned to be given to The City for redevelopment under an “early transfer” agreement before all pollution is removed. Such a transfer would require approval from multiple agencies.

But commissioners and city officials said the Navy’s cleanup activities are governed by a separate federal environmental review process.

“What we’ve heard today are issues that are not under this EIR’s jurisdiction,” Planning Commissioner Gwyneth Borden said toward the end of the eight-hour hearing.

Related votes on the specific design of the redevelopment project had not been cast by press time.

jupton@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsHunters Point Naval ShipyardLocalRedevelopment Agency

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