OAKLAND (BCN) – Following a recommendation by the Oakland Planning Commission on Wednesday evening, the City Council will consider whether to certify an environmental report for a new Oakland A's ballpark in the city.
The City Council likely will consider whether to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report at a February meeting, city officials said.
The Planning Commission recommendation is just another step toward a final approval or denial by the city of the waterfront project.
"(The) Planning Commission recommendation to send the Final Environmental Impact Report onto the City Council for certification is a huge win for our entire region and puts Oakland one step closer to building a landmark waterfront ballpark district with the highest environmental standards," Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement Wednesday night.
"For this EIR, our City provided an extended public comment and review period and responded to more than 400 comments in writing," Schaaf added.
"A new waterfront neighborhood will provide a long-term home for our beloved Oakland A's, 18 acres of beautifully landscaped public parks, 3,000 units of much-needed market rate and affordable housing, and bring more than 25,000 union construction and 7,000 permanent jobs to our region," Schaaf said.
Not everyone is as excited as the mayor.
"We are disappointed," said leaders of the East Oakland Stadium Alliance, a coalition of groups advocating for keeping the Oakland A's in East Oakland. "(T)he lack of thorough analysis and the inadequate response to public comments by the City of Oakland and the A's has resulted in a Planning Commission recommendation that continues to put our community and Port at risk."
EOSA leaders said, "The Final EIR fails to address" significant concerns around traffic, air quality, and among other things, toxic remediation at the proposed ballpark site at Howard Terminal.
"Given the serious flaws in this document, it is our hope that the City Council will give greater diligence to reviewing the report, acknowledge their obligation to protect our community from harmful development, and vote no on certifying the EIR," EOSA leaders said.
But commissioners were very positive about the EIR, said Dave Kaval, president of the Oakland A's, in an interview Thursday even as the A's consider moving the team to Las Vegas.
Commissioners commented on the report's "quality, thoughtfulness and robustness," and two said it was the best EIR they've ever read, Kaval said.
In baseball terms, Kaval labeled the recommendation by the Planning Commission as "probably a solid single" for Oakland. He added that it's important to keep the runners moving.
Oakland needs to take more steps to keep the A's in the city. A number of documents need to be prepared by the city and sent back to the A's, Kaval said, emphasizing that a lot of work in the city's court now.
The A's are still putting a lot of effort into the possibility of moving the team to Las Vegas. A study revealed that Las Vegas is a feasible market for the A's, Kaval said.
The next piece is deciding on a site for the team in Las Vegas, he said, and the A's now have a handful to pick from.
The chair of the Oakland Planning Commission did not respond to a request for comment Thursday morning.
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