Plans for a Golden State Warriors arena in the Mission Bay district of San Francisco cleared a crucial hurdle Tuesday when a state appeals court upheld the environmental review and permits for the project.
A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal in San Francisco rejected claims by an opposition group, the Mission Bay Alliance, that the project's environmental impact report didn't adequately evaluate impacts on traffic, noise, greenhouse gases and air pollution.
"Although in some instances defendants' analysis of potential environmental impacts might have been expanded, as is commonly the case, in general the record reflects a thorough and exhaustive study of all environmental impacts to be anticipated," Justice Stuart Pollak wrote for the court.
"We conclude there is no merit to plaintiffs' objections to the sufficiency of the city's environmental analysis and its approval of the
proposed project," Pollak said.
The 11-acre project at Third and 16th streets would include an 18,000-seat basketball arena, which can also be used for concerts and events, and two 11-story office and retail buildings. The site is next to the University of California at San Francisco's Mission Bay campus and hospital.
The alliance, made up of UCSF donors, doctors and stakeholders, contends the project will create traffic congestion, impede access to the hospital and increase noise and air pollution. It was joined in the challenge by SaveMuni and Jennifer Wade, the mother of a young son with a heart condition.
Mayor Edwin Lee said in a statement, "We are thrilled with Tuesday's ruling. As a world-class city, we've just upped our game with a world-class arena that will bring home our Golden State Warriors."
Warriors President Rick Welts posted a statement saying, "This decision clears the path for us to build a new state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue and bring the Warriors back home to San Francisco."
"We look forward to breaking ground soon," Welts said.
The team is expecting to move in 2019.
The decision could be appealed to the California Supreme Court, which grants review of only a small percentage of the cases appealed to it.
"Our legal team is reviewing the ruling and considering options," the alliance said in a statement. "The Mission Bay Alliance, Jennifer Wade, and SaveMuni are deeply disappointed with today's court ruling."
"We believe that the proposed Warriors' arena is incompatible with the Mission Bay South neighborhood and would result in blocked access to UCSF hospitals, dangerous air pollution, and traffic gridlock throughout the community," the statement said.
The 61-page appellate decision upheld a ruling issued by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong in favor of the city in July.