Posts Tagged ‘Environmental Law Clinic’

Arrested Decay: The NIMBYs of San Francisco’s Presidio Won’t Stop Until They Turn the Main Post Into Another Bodie Ghost Town

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

You know about the Bodie, CA ghost town, right? That’s the model for the NIMBYs of the Marina District and points beyond when they oppose activity in the Presidio.

Read below for the update.

Here’s the abandoned Main Post Theatre from a few years back – I’m sure it looks the same now. Do you know who supported the mofos listed below back in the late aughts by paying tens of thousands of dollars to oppose the use of the Main Post Theatre? How about the owners of neighboring movie theatres, how about that?  

Click to expand

I don’t know, this crew doesn’t want new buildings and it doesn’t want the reuse of old buildings. Of course they can sue, in this town, the world capitol of NIMBYism, of course. But is it really true that there’s “nearly unanimous public opposition” against lodges (or inns or hotels) in national parks?

On It Goes:

Press Release (Also distributed via Business Wire 2/2/2012)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 2, 2012

For more information contact:
Gary Widman, (President, Presidio Historical Assn) 415/435-0360, gwidman@mindspring.com
Becky Evans (Sierra Club/SF) 415/775-3309, rebecae@earthlink.net
Deborah Sivas (Stanford Law School, Environmental Law Clinic) 650/725.8571, lyndaj@stanford.edu
Whitney Hall, (VP, Presidio Historical Assn) 707/778-6975, whithall@comcast.net
www.presidioassociation.org

PRESIDIO HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION, SIERRA CLUB SUE SF PRESIDIO TRUST TO HALT NEW CONSTRUCTION

San Francisco….The Presidio Historical Association (PHA) and Sierra Club filed a Federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court late Wednesday to halt proposed new construction on the Main Post of the Presidio of San Francisco, a historic national park in San Francisco. The lawsuit charges the park’s managing Federal agency, the Presidio Trust, with failing to comply with the Presidio Trust Act, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

“The Presidio Trust has violated these statutes in its push to convert the most historically significant site in the Presidio into a luxury hotel despite nearly unanimous public opposition,” said PHA President Gary Widman. “We have no choice but to file this lawsuit to protect this national park, which belongs to all Americans.”

The suit sets a precedent as the first to question activities in a national park that is not managed by the National Park Service.

Recently, the Presidio Trust’s Board of Directors changed restrictive zoning policies that protected the Main Post until now in order to permit construction of a 14-building hotel, a large addition to a historic theater and other structures, a move strongly opposed by numerous nonprofit organizations and private citizens.

“The Sierra Club has protected national parks since 1892, and played a major role in the creation of the Presidio National Park and Golden Gate National Recreation Area,” said Sierra Club spokeswoman Becky Evans. “The unique historic value of the Presidio Main Post should not be sacrificed to build an unnecessary hotel.”

The Sierra Club won a 1986 Federal lawsuit that enjoined the US Army from undertaking new construction in the Presidio, a military base at that time. “By filing this suit, the Sierra Club seeks affirmation of that 1986 decision and seeks the Presidio Trust’s compliance with the Presidio Trust Act and other environmental laws,” Evans said.

The lawsuit asserts that the Presidio Trust ignored its duty to “[protect] the Presidio from development and uses which would destroy the historic…character of the area…and other cultural resources”, and failed to limit new construction to one-for-one replacement of demolished structures as required by the Presidio Trust Act.

The plaintiffs also claim that the Trust’s NEPA process was flawed and that the Trust failed to minimize adverse impacts in its National Historic Landmark District to the maximum extent possible as required by the NHPA.

The Presidio Trust Act (PTA) of 1996 recognized and protected the 1,491-acre Presidio of San Francisco as a unique place of history and open space in a densely populated urban center. The Main Post, established in 1776, was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1962. The Presidio was home to Spanish, Mexican, and American military operations for nearly 220 years until the base became a national park within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) in 1994. More than 30,000 Americans veterans and their families are buried in the Presidio’s National Cemetery, on the western side of the Main Post.

The nonprofit Presidio Historical Association has helped to preserve and present the Presidio’s history for more than 50 years. The watchdog group recently gained attention for successfully fighting the Presidio Trust’s plan to build a massive, contemporary art museum on the historic Main Post.

The Stanford Law School’s Environmental Law Clinic is representing the Presidio Historical Association and the Sierra Club in the lawsuit.

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The complaint is posted at http://presidioassociation.org/issues.htm
Case# CV12-00522, US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division

Presidio Historical Association
P.O. Box 29163
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 752-2270
www.presidioassociation.org