Opponents suing over proposed Beach Chalet soccer field turf replacement

S.F. Examiner File PhotoOpponents of the proposed artificial turf replacement at Beach Chalet are citing the legality of various environmental decisions to back their lawsuit.

Opponents of the proposed renovation of the Beach Chalet athletic fields in Golden Gate Park sued The City on Thursday, alleging that environmental planning for the project failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

A coalition of neighbors and environmentalists objects to the field’s upgrade due to the planned replacement of grass with artificial turf and the installation of 10 60-foot lighting towers. The suit seeks to force The City to consider other alternatives to renovating the playing fields, which are riddled with gopher holes and often closed due to weather.

As with many lawsuits against proposed development, it challenges the legality of a series of environmental planning decisions by the Recreation and Park Commission, Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors and Board of Appeals.

The suit was filed by the SF Coalition for Children’s Outdoor Play, Education and Environment, along with Sunset district residents Ann Clark and Mary Anne Miller. They argue that the project’s environmental impact report violated the law in three ways: by failing to acknowledge the toxicity of the type of artificial turf that The City plans to install, by failing to consider alternative types of artificial turf, and by inadequately considering other locations where the fields and lights could be relocated.

The plaintiffs had lobbied city officials to move the fields to nearby West Sunset Playground.

“The environmental impact report was a thorough study that was certified by the Planning Commission and upheld by the Board of Supervisors,” the City Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “We have every confidence that The City will prevail on the merits.”

sbuel@sfexaminer.com

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