SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A group of residents in San Francisco’s South Beach neighborhood opposing a SAFE Navigation Center in the area filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city, seeking to stop the center’s construction.
Behind the fencing and green tarps, sits the site of San Francisco’s next homeless navigation center. There are already construction trailers sitting on the former parking lot.
That lot — already a source of so much contention — is now also home to a lawsuit trying to block the construction. The suit was filed in Sacramento County Superior Court by Safe Embarcadero for All, a collection of area residents.
“The lawsuit is really a last resort for us. We didn’t want to file a lawsuit because it’s expensive, it’s acrimonious. But we’re really backed into corner where the city wasn’t engaging with us,” said Wallace Lee of Safe Embarcadero for All.
The lawsuit claims that the City of San Francisco acted outside of the public trust because the seawall lots are covered by the State Land Use Commission. It also says the city has cut a sweetheart deal for itself with the Port of San Francisco by only charging $400,000 for land that is valued at over $100 million dollars.
“The city has obligations as trustees of the property to get fair market value if they’re going to use it for a non-trust use and they haven’t done that here,” Lee said.
The suit also claims the city ignored environmental regulations. Lee and other members of Safe Embarcadero for All say they want to help the homeless, just not in the middle of residential areas.
“It’s not reasonable to put a navigation center in a densely populated residential area when the way that the city runs them, it’s undeniable that they have negative impacts on the surrounding community. And those negative impacts shouldn’t be put where there are 10,000 residents,” Lee told KPIX 5.
In a statement, the San Francisco City Attorney’s officer said all environmental and land use laws were followed. It went on to say: “The City is trying to put roofs over people’s heads and get them indoors. Others are filing baseless lawsuits to keep people out in the cold. Rather than trying to shift the problem to someone else’s backyard, everyone needs to do their part.”
Residents have also complained that Mayor London Breed failed to include them in the decision-making process when she first announced plans for the SAFE Navigation Center back in March.
Breed and the area’s supervisor Matt Haney have said the center would have its own round-the-clock security, as well as police officers patrolling the surrounding area on foot daily.