May - June 2010
Sierra Club Yodeler
Vol. 73 No. 3
Can San Francisco build a massive soccer complex in Golden Gate Park without performing any environmental analysis?
The city's Planning Department has given the proposed soccer complex at the western end of Golden Gate Park a "categorical exemption" from the environmental review required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This designation is supposed to mean that the project fits into one of a set of categories adopted by the agency as not having "significant effect on the environment". Nowhere, however, in the long list of exemptions that have been established by the San Francisco Planning Department is there one that could include the proposed project, and for a good reason: the complex would significantly change the western end of Golden Gate Park in multiple environmental categories including aesthetics, historic resources, biological resources, noise, lights, and traffic.
Soccer itself as a sport, played by adults and children, is not in question - not in any question. What is in question is the location of the proposed soccer complex. This new facility does not belong at the western edge of San Francisco, intruding into the `pacific' scene of Ocean Beach and the quiet of Golden Gate Park. Even for soccer players, coming from all over the city and beyond, this site at the edge of the city is inconvenient. A better siting would be closer to the center of the city, in some other park.
The issue of artificial turf, however, presents special problems. Biologically, it is the equivalent of pavement. Never has it been more important not to pave park space. If the field surfaces have to be artificial, they should go on a space that is already paved. The conversion of pavement to artificial turf is nowhere near as dire as converting soil and vegetation into tire crumbs covered with green carpeting.
The Sierra Club and others are appealing this categorical exemption to the Board of Supervisors.
Write to the Board of Supervisors at:
City Hall, #2244
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102.
Urge the Board to site the proposed soccer fields at an already paved location, not in Golden Gate Park, and in any case to require a full Environmental Impact Report.
For more information, see sfoceanedge