On the cusp of next week's likely final approval of the far-reaching America's Cup development agreement, the city, race organizers, the Board of Supervisors, and no fewer than 50 yachting teams have been hit with a lawsuit in San Francisco court.
Waterfront Watch, an umbrella group that lists former Board of Supervisors president and Cup critic Aaron Peskin as its petitioner, yesterday fired off a California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit. Also sued along with the more than 50 potential sailing teams (though the race's organizers would be elated to field one-fifth that number) are the Planning Commission and Port Commission.
The suit alleges that the "Petitioner submitted written and oral arguments objecting to the adequacy of the City's Draft and Final [Environmental Impact Reports] for the project, and presented further written and oral objections to the Planning Commission, Port Commission and Board of Supervisors regarding numerous procedural and substantive violations of CEQA committed by the City in preparing and certifying the EIR, and approving the Project."
It continues, "The City prejudicially abused its discretion by violating the procedural and substantive requirements of CEQA, the CEQA Guidelines, and the City's own CEQA Administrative Procedures in certifying the EIR and approving the Project."
The city certified the EIR for the America's Cup and cruise terminal on Pier 27 on December 15. On Wednesday, the Board of Supervisors' Budget and Finance Committee moved the binding development agreement on to the full board for a Feb. 28 vote.
Asked for more specifics regarding the suit, Peskin noted "they probably can't be talked about just yet." When asked how many members Waterfront Watch has, he would only say "Waterfront Watch is looking out for the best interests of 800,000 San Franciscans."
In doing so, he's willing to settle: "There is an interest on all parties to reach a settlement that reduces the impacts of the America's Cup on the port and city."
The clock is ticking.
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