SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — After Google received word to move its mysterious barge off Treasure Island due to a lack of proper permits, the tech giant is now under fire for its plans to operate the vessel.

A letter to Google from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission spells out a major flaw in the company’s idea to tow the barge to different locations around San Francisco Bay and set up shop. The tech giant has been told to get proper permits every time the floating marketing center is moved.

“What we told Google’s attorney was if and when the Google Barge is completed then what we’ll need from Google is their plan about where to actually moor it in the Bay and for how long they plan to moor it in the Bay,” Larry Goldzband, Executive Director of the BCDC told KPIX 5.

Goldzband said at this point Google has provided no specific details of its plans for where it will locate the barge and for how long.

According to the letter sent by BCDC, Google is under the impression that if it doesn’t leave the barge docked in any one location more than 30 days, it does not need a permit. The agency said that is not the case.

If the tech company wants to press the issue in court, Goldzband said, “The commission staff has also told Google that when you take a look at previous court decisions we don’t think the courts would actually buy that either.”

Goldzband said not only will the Google Barge need permits every time it ties up to a dock in San Francisco Bay, it will also need separate permits for the land next to the dock. “If Google were to park its vessel here, it’s more than likely that more people will be going there and will have an effect on the Bay,” he said.

Google told KPIX 5 they are reviewing the letter from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

Why would Google believe 30 days is the maximum it could stay? It has to do with the houseboats in Sausalito. That rule goes back to 1984, and only applies to Richardson Bay. The BCDC says everywhere else it’s a case by case basis.


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