Oakland A’s rough shot draws closer to crucial vote
OAKLAND – The city released its latest 3,500-page environmental impact report on Friday, a key document whose approval is crucial to transforming Oakland A’s proposal to build a waterfront baseball stadium in addition to than a simple field of dreams.
The report says there are no significant environmental barriers to the team’s plan to build a 35,000-seat baseball stadium at the Howard Terminal in Oakland Harbor and surround it with 3,000 homes, 1.5 million square feet of office space and 270,000 square feet of retail space, as well as hotel rooms and parks.
Since its release in draft form in February, the report has attracted approximately 400 comments or questions from various government agencies, community organizations and individuals on the potential impact of the project on traffic, air quality, infrastructure and other environmental elements.
The next step is for the city’s planning commission to review the report on January 19. If the committee likes it, the report will go to council for possible approval the following month. At this time, council may also consider the financial terms of the proposed project, which the city and the As have negotiated.
“This is an important step,” A chairman Dave Kaval said in a telephone interview on Friday.
The A’s have been pushing the city all year to move faster on the report and have threatened to move to Las Vegas if Oakland takes too long or a financial deal can’t be made.
Kaval reiterated the emergency on Friday, noting that the team is narrowing down potential sites in and around the Las Vegas area.
In Oakland, the project was controversial. Although it has received the support of building unions and a loyal contingent of fans, some fear it will displace residents of the area by indirectly raising housing prices, disrupting operations near the port and creating traffic problems as people attempt to maneuver around train tracks and Interstate 880 to get to the stadium.
According to the environmental impact report, concerns about traffic, crosswalks and the disposal of toxic materials from the development site can be mitigated in an acceptable manner.
Groups that make up the East Oakland Stadium Alliance – mostly companies that operate in the port and their unionized workers – called the environmental report “inadequate.”
âDuring the phase of the EIR project, our coalition and others submitted detailed comments urging the city to revise and circulate the draft EIR, which was inadequate on many fronts, but this demand has been ignored, âMike Jacob, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association. , said in a statement Friday. âIt is also disturbing that the (final report) was released just before the holidays, as port stakeholders work tirelessly to move goods through an unprecedented supply chain crisis and advocates of community focus on issues such as feeding and housing those in need. . “
Even if the report is ultimately approved, other important steps must be taken before any construction can begin. The city and the As are still negotiating the terms of a financial deal and issues such as affordable housing and community benefits have been sticking points.
City leaders want A’s to make at least 15% of 3,000 housing units affordable and spend at least $ 50 million to build affordable housing elsewhere in Oakland. Kaval said on Friday that the city and the team had not finalized a housing plan, but that “the city knows exactly where we stand.” He did not elaborate, but earlier this year he had expressed resistance to the plan.
There is also the issue of funding of $ 400 million for infrastructure work such as improving roads and sidewalks and sewer, water and electricity lines, as well as building bridges. pedestrians to bring people to and from the site.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors tentatively signaled its intention to join with the city in forming a Special Funding District to help fund infrastructure improvements, but its support was lukewarm and non-binding.
The city’s planning commission will meet on January 19, 2022 at 3 p.m. to review the environmental impact report. To watch this meeting, go to https://www.oaklandca.gov/boards-commissions/planning-commission/meetings.
To read the final environmental impact report, as well as other project documents, visit https://www.oaklandca.gov/projects/oakland-waterfront-ballpark-district.