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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sierra Club, Historians File Lawsuit to Stop Construction of Hotel in Presidio National Park

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 2:15 PM

A possible view from a luxury hotel planned for the Presidio - NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Local nonprofits and environmentalists are suing the San Francisco Presidio Trust to try and stop its plans to build an "unnecessary" 14-building hotel in the Main Post of The Presidio National Park.

The Presidio Historical Association and Sierra Club said they were left with "no choice" but to file a federal lawsuit to put the kibosh on the SF Presidio Trust's plan to build a luxury hotel, which the public nearly unanimously opposes, PHA President Gary Widman said in a statement.

The lawsuit filed yesterday in San Francisco claims the Presidio Trust's plans violate the Presidio Trust Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and National Environmental Policy Act and is ignoring its duty to protect the park from being developed. The SF Presidio Trust was established by the Trust Act to preserve the National Park's "significant natural, historic, scenic, cultural, and recreational resources."

"The unique historic value of the Presidio Main Post should not be sacrificed to build an unnecessary hotel," said Sierra Club spokeswoman Becky Evans.

The Presidio Trust has spent more than $1 million in public funds over the past three years to change its Master Plan i order to permit this construction within the Main Post, according to a statement Widman made in November.

"The planned new construction will degrade the historic, cultural, and aesthetic values and character of the Main Post," according to the lawsuit.

The Presidio's historical value dates to 1776, when native Ohlone tribes met the Spanish settlers.

The hotel will fill 70,000 feet of land in the park, a mile from the Presidio National Cemetery where more than 30,000 American veterans and their families are buried, according to the lawsuit.

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Erin Browner

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