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San Francisco Planning Commission Approves Proposed Warriors Arena

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The San Francisco Planning Commission approved the design and environmental study for the proposed Golden State Warriors multi-use arena and two office towers in the city's Mission Bay neighborhood on Thursday.

However, the 18,000-seat arena, which is proposed to occupy the site of what is currently a parking lot across the street from the University of California at San Francisco's newly built medical center at Third and 16th streets, still faces opposition.

The Mission Bay Alliance, which is comprised of UCSF stakeholders and concerned citizens, maintains that the arena will cause significant traffic that could negatively impact patient care and access to the hospital. The alliance has also stated that they feel the arena project is being irresponsibly fast-tracked.

Earlier this week the city's Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure (OCII) unanimously certified a final subsequent environmental impact report on the project.

Thomas Lippe, an attorney hired by the Mission Bay Alliance, has offered the city potential evidence that the environmental report has deficiencies related to air and water quality concerns, as well as traffic issues.

The alliance issued a statement after the report was certified by the OCII, calling it a "rubber stamp process" that demonstrated the city was moving its plan along with "no opportunity for a thorough review."

The mayor, who happens to be one of the project's strongest supporters, appoints the commission members of the OCII. Although those posts are subject to confirmation by a majority of the Board of Supervisors, critics have expressed skepticism regarding whether the commission is a fair judge on the matter.

The mayor and the president of the Board of Supervisors also appoint members to the San Francisco Planning Commission, who approved the design and environmental study of the arena Thursday.

A Draft Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) prepared by the OCII found that "implementation of the proposed project would lead to significant, unavoidable project-level and/or cumulative impacts related to transportation and circulation, noise, air quality, wind, and utilities and service systems."

The concerns initially expressed by UCSF Medical Center personnel regarding the arena were assuaged in a preliminary agreement that included the creation of a special transportation improvement fund for the neighborhood and a limit to be placed on events at the arena in special circumstances.

Mayor Lee has expressed his eagerness to see the Warriors come to the city, saying on numerous occasions that he is looking forward to their 2018-19 season in San Francisco.

© Copyright 2015 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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