Appeal filed to block America's Cup EIR approval


Some consider it one of the most iconic views of San Francisco Bay -- the unobstructed panorama visible from the Embarcadero, in the shadow of the giant bow and arrow sculpture. However, preparations for the 2013 America's Cup threatened to change that view.

"The original city's bid contemplated a new marina that would've been in front of the bow and arrow," said Port of San Francisco director Monique Moyer.

The new marina slated to go in the spot just south of the Ferry Building would house visiting yachts too big to fit in San Francisco's other harbors. In other words, critics said, it would let visiting millionaires block the view from a popular walking and jogging trail with their huge boats.

The city's agreement called for the marina to stay long after the America's Cup is over. After a barrage of negative public comments, Mayor Ed Lee told the race organizers, this won't work.

"The mayor called me into his office a little while ago and suggested to me that that was really off the table," said Stephen Barclay, from the America's Cup Event Authority.

But in a press conference, organizers appeared with Lee to announce a compromise. The America's Cup Authority will give up its right to the spot near the Embarcadero, in exchange for rights to build that yacht harbor farther south at Pier 54, in a part of the waterfront near Mission Bay. Pier 54's in what's now an industrial area. It's currently being used to store floats for the Chinese New Year parade.

"Each of us gives up something to get a good compromise, to get this event forward," said Lee.

And there's no time to waste. Boat races leading up to the main event start in just eight months. Waterfront tenants like Teatro Zinzanni and Bauer's Limo have already been asked to relocate and planners have unanimously approved the environmental impact report, including plans for a new cruise ship terminal.

"I know the port's going to act very quickly to get the shovels turning on this because they can't wait and I can't wait for that new cruise ship terminal to show itself," said Lee.

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