Union Pacific and Coalition Opposing Oakland Howard Terminal Ballpark File Lawsuit Challenging EIR Certification – CBS San Francisco

OAKLAND (BCN) – The Union Pacific Railroad Company and a coalition of shipping, port and transportation interests have filed separate lawsuits challenging the City of Oakland’s certification of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed new waterfront baseball stadium for the Oakland Athletics.

The project is ambitious: it includes a 35,000 seat baseball stadium and event venue on the Howard Terminal site, up to 3,000 new residential units, up to 1,500,000 square feet of new office/commercial , 270,000 square feet of commercial uses, 3,500 square feet of indoor performance space for events and 400 hotel rooms.

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The project came closer to reality on March 1, when the Oakland City Council certified a final EIR.

An EIR is a government planning document that must identify and consider the environmental impacts of a proposed project as well as alternatives and mitigation strategies. EIR serves several purposes, including helping government officials make better decisions, informing the public of issues, and promoting accountability.

When a final EIR is certified by the government entity and issues a “Notice of Determination”, it triggers a 30-day period during which affected parties may file a lawsuit challenging the adequacy of the report.

On Friday, before the 30 days expired, both lawsuits were filed in Alameda County Superior Court. Everyone tries to put aside

City Council certification of the EIR and sending relevant agencies back to the drawing board.

Although the lawsuits have slightly different goals, both broadly attack the EIR and the process the agencies follow to prepare, notice, release, modify and ultimately finalize the analyses.

Among the many alleged flaws the challengers raise are the EIR’s failure to adequately consider alternatives to the Howard Terminal site and its alleged failure to assess project impacts at the intended location. Each lawsuit urges the court to find that the government officials involved abused their discretion in certifying the EIR.

Union Pacific operates train lines that service the Port of Oakland and pass near the site of the proposed ground-level stadium.

Noting that the project will cause a “significant increase in congestion on local and regional roads,” UP says it is concerned that the volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic accessing the ballpark “will exacerbate traffic congestion and create significant hazards for public safety,” according to a statement.

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In its lawsuit, UP claims the EIR failed to sufficiently consider mitigating environmental impacts through what it calls a “complete separation” between rail and motor vehicle travel.

A UP spokesperson explained that in this context, full grade separation means “that the primary access points to the Howard Terminal are via an underpass or overpass that would be constructed above our tracks. railroads, thus eliminating the contact of vehicles or pedestrians with our level. walkways (on the floor). Specifically, we want developed grade access at Market St. and MLK Jr. St. access points.”

The EIR explored the grade separation by having the carriageway pass the railway tracks, but ultimately decided to address the traffic and congestion through other mitigation strategies.

The UP spokesperson said: ‘The Oakland A’s and the City of Oakland all intend to keep these two streets open, with crossings, which is not only dangerous, but would create traffic jams when trains move or stop in the crossing for associated shunting in marshalling yards.

The coalition trial is led by the East Oakland Stadium Alliance, which describes itself as “a large and diverse group of organizations and members with significant interests in ensuring the continued success and vitality of marine-related industrial uses, including including transportation and union interests, in and around the Port of Oakland.

Other plaintiffs named in the lawsuit include Schnitzer Steel Industries, a metal recycling company located near the terminal, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, as well as business associations in the shipping and trucking industry.

According to the coalition, the project “proposes massive displacement and gentrification of this highly industrialized area”.

Among the many shortcomings raised by the coalition is the allegedly inadequate consideration of the option of building the stadium on the site of the A’s current baseball stadium, the Coliseum.

Many of the coalition’s challenges relate to procedural issues, including its allegation that the city released detailed new information after comments closed, depriving interested parties of the right to review and address the new information.
Justin Berton, speaking on behalf of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, said the lawsuits are expected.

“The City guarantees the integrity of its process and analysis…this particular RIE is extremely rigorous, thorough, transparent and ensures that a waterfront stadium district will be built with only the highest environmental standards. »

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