The next wave in the saga of a major waterfront development in San Francisco is set to hit early next year.
The proposed mixed-use project at Pier 70 has progressed along swimmingly, with voters approving an increased height limit for the site in 2014 and virtually zero controversy arising amid the housing crisis-fueled tension of some developments in The City.
But the draft environmental impact report — released Dec. 21 — for the 35-acre area, bounded by Illinois, 20th and 22nd streets and the San Francisco Bay, suggests a less-than-perfect outcome for the space that will eventually house arts studios, hundreds of market-rate and affordable homes, retail spaces and waterfront parks.
For more than a century, Pier 70 was dedicated to the shipbuilding and manufacturing trades, with ships built there as far back as the Gold Rush. Today, a mix of vacant land, deteriorating buildings and storage and staging areas that restrict public access to the waterfront populate the mostly quiet site, and an $80 million restoration of the 20th Street Historic Buildings kicked off in 2015.
The main areas of concern for the project consist of nine “significant and unavoidable impacts” on transportation, noise and air quality. The draft EIR shows that while there are ways to somewhat ease the impacts of those factors, there is no way to entirely mitigate the complications created by the project.
“Even though mitigation has been applied, it can’t reduce the overall impact to a less than significant level,” said Alana Callagy,…
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