OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The City of Oakland moved plans for a waterfront ballpark for the Oakland A’s a step further Friday by publishing a draft environmental impact report and setting a public comment period.

The city and the team are looking toward building a ballpark and mixed-use development on Howard Terminal at the Port of Oakland that includes up to 3,000 residential units, a hotel, parks, and commercial and retail space.

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The draft EIR is designed to help members the public, decision-makers and stakeholders assess the impacts from the project’s construction and use, recommend mitigation measures on adverse impacts, and look at alternatives to the project.

“The Howard Terminal ballpark requires the highest environmental standards while giving us an opportunity to expand our entertainment district near Jack London Square, increase housing, provide good jobs, and keep our beloved waterfront working,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf in a press statement.

Members of the public now have 45 days to submit comments on the draft EIR, either by sending in comments or commenting publicly at the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board public hearing on March 22 and Planning Commission public hearing on April 7.

“The Athletics are the last professional sports team in Oakland,” said Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval in a press statement. “We employ thousands of Oakland and Alameda County residents, and local businesses, the City, and County derive significant economic benefits and revenue from our games. While the release of the Draft EIR is a great milestone, it is imperative that the City Council take a vote on the project this year. We look to the City for their support and partnership to keep the A’s in Oakland for generations to come.”

Opponents of the waterfront ballpark project maintain that Oakland Coliseum site is the best place for a new stadium development, and that the EIR is being released amid a legal dispute over whether the project can proceed.

Earlier this month a judge dismissed a suit against the A’s by tenants including the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Harbor Trucking Association and the California Trucking Association, allowing for an expedited environmental review. The group is appealing the decision, saying the A’s did not meet a Jan. 1, 2020, deadline to demonstrate that the Howard Terminal ballpark meets thresholds for greenhouse gas emissions.

Vice President and General Counsel of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association Mike Jacob said in a prepared statement said a coalition of labor, community, and business groups who would be impacted by the Howard Terminal will be doing a thorough analysis of the report.

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We know that Oakland’s working waterfront is no place for a stadium, office, and luxury condominium complex, and this environmental review must ultimately shine a bright light on the many significant adverse impacts of building the proposed stadium complex at this location,” said Jacob. “We anticipate that the Howard Terminal Draft EIR will once again confirm the obvious and what everyone already knows — that the current Coliseum site remains the ideal and most logical location for a new ballpark that will make A’s fans proud to call home.  This is especially true since the Coliseum site already has an approved Environmental Impact Report.

The Howard Terminal site is accessible by little, if any, public transit and therefore possibly more cars and pollution, while the Coliseum site is served by public transit such as BART.

But A’s President Dave Kaval said the Howard Terminal project will make the air cleaner in West Oakland, the neighborhood closest to the project, and historically affected by pollution.

He said the ballpark at Howard Terminal will have the highest environmental standards of any project in California history.

An informational workshop webinar to describe the Draft EIR analysis and conclusions and help the public find information in the document will be held on March 6 at 10:00 a.m. and can be accessed at http://bit.ly/HTDEIRWorkshop.

 

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