January 25, 2012

Appeal Of America’s Cup Environmental Impact Report Rejected

AC34 Venue Rendering: Piers 27-29

Rejecting an appeal we didn’t expect to be successful, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has unanimously certified the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) required to move forward with the construction of venues for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco.

In the words of a plugged-in reader last night:

The appeal was denied, with the proviso that there will be supplemental EIRs. I don't know how much this addresses the ambiguity and structural deficiency of the EIR--perhaps they should split it into a program EIR and a project EIR for those projects that are known to-date.
Key other points that were made included that the mitigation funding was based on an expected attendee size of X, whereas later impact analysis assumed 0.2X. No resolution was reached on who will pick up the tab if mitigation funding predictions turn out to be optimistic. The ACEA voluntarily backed down on the floating jumbotron in the aquatic park, and there was much rejoicing amongst the aquatic park users.

Appealing The Impact Of The America's Cup In San Francisco [SocketSite]
Comments, Responses And Revisions To The America’s Cup Draft EIR [SocketSite]
Rendering Scoop: San Francisco's Major America’s Cup Venues [SocketSite]

First Published: January 25, 2012 8:00 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Man. This is it? They're gonna tear down two much loved venues, Zinzanni and the soccer pitch, to put up a theater with its back to the Bay? So that folks can stare at a glorified TV screen? Couldn't they at least have had the spectators face the water? How lame.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at January 25, 2012 9:22 AM

Zinzani is moving to a nearby location and will be nicer than it has ever been. Anyway, I've worked right next to it since it opened and only know one local who has ever attended and he sure did not think it was a worthwhile evening.

Incidentally, you might as well question uses of 90% of the Embarcadero waterfront. Look at the Ferry Bulding area for example....Sinbad's & Carnelian Room...seriously?

Posted by: anon at January 25, 2012 9:51 AM

anon: likely to avoid having to buy a 70 petawatt projector to compete with the sun against the screen at dusk.

Posted by: EH at January 25, 2012 9:53 AM

Exactly. Seriously anon.ed: broaden your mind and your scope of what we can be.

Think Sydney harbor. Think Vancouver. Think Boston.

San Francisco's waterfront is a treasure, yet much of it sits rotting away right now. It does not have to remain that way. This new facility is just one more way to re-vitalize the waterfront, bring in additional people, revenue and activities.

I agree with anon. San Franciscans need to get rid of the rampant "nimbyism" at every turn, every corner, every project. Progress, growth and change can be done responsibly and with respect to our history and environment, culture and community.

This is one more example of good change.

Posted by: futurist at January 25, 2012 10:08 AM

Don't get carried away. "Broaden your mind" is an odd thing to say. Actually, I am all for this event. But a glorified TV screen/theater, with backs to water and periphery trained at the Embarcadero isn't particularly exciting to me.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at January 25, 2012 10:20 AM

So you're "all for this event"? Really?
And yet you nitpick and complain about two relatively small events, Zinzani and the soccer pitch being relocated?

Seriously? Nimbyism at it's best.

Think big. Move forward.

Posted by: futurist at January 25, 2012 10:27 AM

You're impossible to talk to, and you can't control your words worth a damn. Pass.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at January 25, 2012 10:28 AM

Great! Happy to see this is moving forward.

Posted by: gellan at January 25, 2012 10:33 AM

I have to agree with many. Even though I am a life-long fan of sailing, I am certainly not going to brave the crowds in order to watch the racing on TV exclusively, however huge the screen. Since the boats will, of necessity, be a long way from the SF shore, there needs to be TV but why can't the design allow for us to look directly at the boats (with binoculars, perhaps) as well as at the screen?

Posted by: BT at January 25, 2012 10:34 AM

For all this is going to cost, they should have just rented a couple of barges, topped them with some porta-potties and a hot dog stand, and put them in the middle of the course. It would have ended up being more fun for the spectators and cost about $10 a head.

This is going to turn out like the other races we've had come through here (the bike race that tied up traffic is one example): it's a novelty. Fun for about ten minutes. Great TV pictures and otherwise worthless. Within a year or two, people will get tired of it.

America's cup is a scam: it's a rolling pirate ship. They roll in, take as much property as they can, and then, "whoopsie", they "lose" it and someone moves it to another city, where the scam repeats.

Posted by: tipster at January 25, 2012 10:42 AM

My guess is that the TV viewing area will also serve as the awards ceremony area and any other Cup events that require a stage. SO they are killing 2 birds with 1 stone so to speak.

BTW, I am local and I have been to Zinzani...I enjoyed it but at the end of the day found it to be overpriced and the venue decrepit. Nobody will miss that venue.
And the 100 people that use the soccer pitch will find another place to play soccer. Anyways, have you seen the 6 giant generators they use to light that pitch? Not a wise use of fossil fuels...

Posted by: mwsf at January 25, 2012 10:52 AM

Yes, I'm very happy to see this moving forward as well. AS for the America's Cup being a scam or not, that is a personal opinion, I guess. Some see it that way (not sure why), others, like myself see it as another way of promoting, valuing and enjoying our waterfront and bay in a world class way.

This new pier upgrade is a great addition to our waterfront, bringing revenue, people and diverse events to the city. Compare this to some of the current rotting, empty piers along the Embarcadero.

Each change, addition, renovation of course needs to be studied in great depth by skilled professionals. This is one example of that. Sure, they can adjust and tweak the seating area and screen perhaps, but the overall project is well designed and a great new addition to the waterfront. Little Zinzani and the soccer pitch will survive, I'm sure.

Posted by: futurist at January 25, 2012 11:13 AM

"broaden your mind and your scope of what we can be. Think Sydney harbor." --good advice that the city planners would have done well to take. But to accept this mini bandshell jumbotron with comparisons to Sydney? That's not broadening your mind, that's just fantasy.

Posted by: James at January 25, 2012 11:18 AM

No, not really a fantasy I feel. And sure, we're not Sydney harbor, we're San Francisco. But my comparison was more about creating a dynamic waterfront full of activities and events, similar to what I've seen and experienced the several times I have been to Sydney.

I think we can achieve that quality here, and I feel that this new pier is one small component of the larger picture.

Posted by: futurist at January 25, 2012 11:26 AM

@ [anon.ed], et al: The image is of Pier 29, where the new cruise terminal would have replaced Zinzanni and the soccer field without an America's Cup. There's no plan for a large waterfront space there and the triangular plaza is intended to alternate between cruise ship-related activities and public events. The generator that permits ships to berth there w/o running their engines 24/7 was completed in 2010.

While there is bayfront pedestrian access planned when no cruise ships are docked, the race course itself is not visible from this location. The big screen will have Telegraph Hill as a backdrop, which is still pretty sweet.

Posted by: Rocco at January 25, 2012 11:29 AM

tipster, you're letting your thoughts be controlled by marketing, which is the only difference between the hardships wrought by the Tour of California bike race and the baseball season. That is, the only reason people don't complain about baseball and football impacts to traffic, etc. is because they like football and baseball.

Posted by: EH at January 25, 2012 11:43 AM

All of us want a dynamic waterfront full of activities and events. But this ain't it. My guess is that this thing will be a huge flop and draw a fraction of the projected crowd. They should just make Larry Ellison pay for the whole debacle - guy buys $100MM trophy mansions like most of us buy designer shoes.

99% of SF and the bay area couldn't care less about sailing (or watching it). In summary, while this may be marginally better than letting the piers rot and decay, it's definitely not the highest and best use for this land. IMO.

Posted by: Legacy Dude at January 25, 2012 11:51 AM

This plan doesn't go far enough. Surely the powers that be in the city could do more to express their gratitude for the cocktail parties, cruises, and other events that they will be invited to as guests of the AC in the next two years. What they should have done is to take inventory of all public property and presented the AC developers organizers with a list to pick and choose from. C'mon, the city didn't even offer Treasure Island which everyone knows is decrepit and therefore worthless.

I mean how else will SF ever become a "world class" city if we don't give it all away?

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at January 25, 2012 12:15 PM

"99% of SF and the bay area couldn't care less about sailing"

right on - we should frankly have filled up the Bay a long time ago and made way for low-income housing;

Posted by: wrath at January 25, 2012 2:10 PM

Stop this welfare for rich playboys. They can finance their own games, without scamming public funds for it.

Posted by: Robert at January 30, 2012 9:52 AM

Restrict it to real yachts, like the Sydney-Hobart race, so we have something attractive to watch. Enough of the ugly catamarans with rigid "wings", known as "s*** on a shingle".

Posted by: LindaP at January 30, 2012 9:56 AM

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