Coastal Commission to rule on Beach Chalet soccer project

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Opponents and commission staff say artificial turf and stadium lights don't belong in the coastal zone.

The California Coastal Commission will decide tomorrow (Thu/9) whether San Francisco and its Recreation and Parks Department violated the Coastal Act in approving a renovation of Golden Gate Park’s Beach Chalet soccer fields that uses artificial turf and stadium lights and seating. [UPDATE 3pm: The commission just approved the project. Full story coming soon.]

SF Ocean Edge, a group comprised mostly of environmentalists and neighbors of the site where the park meets the ocean, has been fighting the project since its inception. They got a big boost recently when the Coastal Commission staff recommended rejection of the project, finding that it violated requirements that coastal areas should remain in a naturalistic state and be open to the general public.

“Going into any hearing, you never know what’s going to happen, but the staff report was excellent,” group spokesperson Kathy Howard told the Guardian. “They have a lot of good idea for renovations to the area which would allow more than just organized sports teams to use the area.”

Spokespersons for the Recreation and Park Department didn’t return Guardian calls for comment. The hearing is being held in San Rafael, with this item expected to be heard starting at 9:30-10am, Howard said. Check in here later in the day for a full report.

Comments

that the EIR around the bicycle plan wasn't important and the city should do it anyways no matter what the EIR said?

Posted by So comical on May. 08, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

Beach Chalet is buried in a part of Golden Gate Park that most people aren't even aware exists. There have been athletic fields at that location for more than 75 years.

We must not allow a bunch of NIMBYS and Environmental wackos to turn a sports field into the grounds of the landed gentry where children's soccer is functionally prohibited by gofer holes and mud bogs.

If San Francisco tripled the number of sports fields available to the public and tripled the number of park gardeners assigned to maintain them, there would still be an athletic field shortage in San Francisco.

Children need organized, supervised recreational opportunities. And, soccer is one of the least expensive activities that meets these criteria.

Organized sports or juvenile delinquency and crime? It's up to all of us to speak up.

Posted by Andrew Solow on May. 08, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

disrupt them who they see as their enemies. They do this by acting in as an objectionably manner as possible. They do this out of spite; as retribution for what they perceive as past injustices committed against them -- or what they fear is to come.

This is the signature of reactionaries: they are filled with hatred and lust to punish that which they hate.

That's how I view this soccer field. Of course nobody is against soccer and children playing: we're against having this effrontery perpetrated against us and the original mission of the park in their name. The park was intended to provide a refuge from the built world, something the children themselves are the most in need of.

There is, of course, an alternate answer to the gophers -- steel barriers buried beneath the soil -- but that wouldn't satisfy the righteous sadism of the rightist wackos who would perpetrate this multi-faceted insult.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 09, 2013 @ 8:02 am

Most Soccer players are latinos (in SF). Most of those that oppose the rebuilding of the Beach Chalet Soccer fields are white - coincidence? I don't think so.

Posted by Richmondman on May. 09, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

Your argument might not sound so batshit loony if these supposed anti-latinos that are, in your warped mind, secretly using this to hurt latinos if there was some effort to take away existing soccer fields. But you can't find that because your batshit loony hypothesis has no basis. This isn't about soccer - it's about changing a big chunk of the west part of GGP from one of nature to one of dead plastic.

But I guess you would never understand with all the loony tune thoughts running around in your head. You better get back to your Faux News so you can swallow some more loony tune propaganda.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 8:28 pm

The "children" angle was used to fool those easily fooled - such as yourself - when the real users of this will be adults, something like 85% of the increased usage will be by paying adults.

Big power loves those for who propaganda works like a charm - people like you.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

Oh wait, it doesn't.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 5:42 am

The cry of the spoiled child. You may be bored, sooooo bored about this issue, but the hundreds of people now passionately testified to the commission on both sides of the issue attest to the public interest of this project.

Posted by steven on May. 09, 2013 @ 9:37 am

Why would anyone care about the surface of a few soccer pitches?

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 9:56 am

This is about the legacy and role of the Coastal Act, state vs. local authority, the purpose of Golden Gate Park, an emotional conflict between families and environmentalists, and whether replacing turf with grass represents progress or folly. The public interest in this project is considerable, and if the commission overrules the city, this is going to be a very big story.

Posted by steven on May. 09, 2013 @ 11:37 am

I know or work with ever mentioned it or is even aware of it?

It's a trivial issue - sorry.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

and have no friends.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

politically active. They clearly don't regard a turf issue as vital and why should they?

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

Because it's part of GG Park - and the park should be of nature, not of dead plastic. It can be of nature and still used by humans, just like it's been for almost a century. And it's not just a turf issue because the rain that falls on this part of the park will no longer be nontoxic, it will be toxic - the lifeblood of the park will be a toxic lifeblood, or at least be containing toxic particles.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 8:43 pm

There's lots of things that can be in the public interest that is not widely known because it is ignored by the media or it's not directly known by most of the public. The fact is a lot of people were not familiar with this part of GGP so it, in effect, didn't exist to them.

But the future of GGP is a public interest. The precedence that this project makes for what can go in GGP is a public interest. The undemocratic process that was used to approve this is a public interest.

Just because a big % of the public is ignorant or shows little interest in a topic does not mean it does not effect the public. Big power needs such ignorance or lack of interest to get things they want that in the long run is not in the public's interest.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

The need for more playing fields -- for children and adults -- should not trump the fact that Beach Chalet's fields have to conform to Golden Gate Park's character as a natural park, not a structured playground. Both needs -- for natural havens and large playgrounds -- are important to San Franciscans. But to sacrifice the western part of the park to large expanses of artificial turf, 1,000 person seating, and 60 foot white lights is an absurd trade off. I say we should look hard at constructing more fenced artificial playing fields atop large existing structures like capped reservoirs and parking structures. UC Berkeley had (and may still have?) a great playing field, "Underhill" on top of block otherwise devoted to a parking garage. Wouldn't the Fisher foundation be just as happy to donate their funds to such fields, wherever we constructed them?

Posted by voltairesmistress on May. 09, 2013 @ 9:03 am

The city really should be more kid friendly, and putting the brakes on this project doesn't help.

It's remarkable how few kids there are in San Francisco. With the exception of one couple, every single person I know who has had a kid has moved out of the City before their kid turned 2.

Posted by The Commish on May. 09, 2013 @ 9:56 am

school with thugs, it's either mucho dollars for private school or elave the city.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 10:46 am

"Organized sports or juvenile delinquency and crime? It's up to all of us to speak up."

Why don't you go breed in another state you white male toolcart?

In the interim, shut up!

Posted by capitalismthedecay on May. 09, 2013 @ 9:57 am

What a great victory for families and common sense!

Keep in mind that the City Fields proposal for the soccer fields has NEVER lost a single vote before a single public decision-making body, including five City commissions, the Board of Supes, and now the State Coastal Commission. The City's taxpayers have spent a few million dollars in environmental studies and legal fees to win approval of something that our democratic process and planning codes already agreed was a good idea.

It would be welcome to see that, after losing every single public decision, the NIMBY opponents could admit, "You know, we're really the problem here. Our views are not representative of the City."

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

What a great victory for families and common sense!

Keep in mind that the City Fields proposal for the soccer fields has NEVER lost a single vote before a single public decision-making body, including five City commissions, the Board of Supes, and now the State Coastal Commission. The City's taxpayers have spent a few million dollars in environmental studies and legal fees to win approval of something that our democratic process and planning codes already agreed was a good idea.

It would be welcome to see that, after losing every single public decision, the NIMBY opponents could admit, "You know, we're really the problem here. Our views are not representative of the City."
*********

A great victory for families? Nope. If a family wanted to go to that area and hit some balls with their kids and have the dog out there, that's gonna be impossible now. It's an anti-family, anti-kids development. It should remain grass and the fences that were put up not that long ago should be removed.

The fact that it never lost a vote before some incestuous agencies consisting of a very few people is not surprising. When big money wants something - the Fisher family and all those that they influence such as Gavin Newsom, Mark Buell, Phil Ginsburg, it's almost impossible to stop such a thing short of a vote by the public.

You claim that almost everybody was for this. If that was the case, why didn't those in favor of it put it before the public? NOT IN A MILLION YEARS - for they knew better. As long as the few people that really had the power to do whatever they wanted with GGP - even though the park's own governing document outlawed what they wanted to do - that was all they needed. To put it to a public vote would be to take away the power from Don Fisher's heirs, and from Gavin Newsom and his buddies, and the other small group that REALLY REALLY wanted this.

This thing was an education for me. I realized the SF Planning Commission and Rec & Park are each, nothing more than an insider's political club, and thus the members of both can ignore the supposed master plans that were created and that they are supposed to follow. I learned the supes are very clueless about things they shouldn't be clueless about and really only looking for how they can get their next political job in either Sacto or with a big politician (see John Avalos and his "crusade" against investing in oil companies - all the while approving putting 600,000 lbs of oil products in GGP - or Campos and his "effort" to change the name of SFO to Harvey Milk International - or Bevan Duffy making a mint getting in good with Ed Lee, the man with the power at the moment - or Eric Mar who was probably the first to go out of his way to be the late Don Fisher's agent in this thing all the while wanting the public to think he was some big enviro).

The take-away from this is, if you want to stop big power in this City, you have one and only one option, get it on the ballot and let the voters decide. That's what the opponents should have been doing on day one. This one's probably lost but they should get one on the ballot to outlaw future ones because the next thing Ginsburg, Buell, and Fisher's sons in the City Fields Foundation will want is to convert the Polo Fields to dead plastic and toxic tire particles.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 9:14 pm

Public financing promotes to good government which is not beholding to deep pocket financiers. The anti-government "throw the bastards out" idiocy of term limits does exactly the opposite. Term limits gives more power to the mayor too, since the mayor usually works out a way to induce supes to skip out early and appoint a successor. Term limits suck. Term limits were sold as good government by righties who knew what it would really bring, and now well have the bright lights at the end of our park to remind us of what that is.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 09, 2013 @ 10:29 pm

I totally agree - term limits for supes - do suck. They make the supes NOT look out for the future of the City but DO make the supes ONLY looking for what will help them get their next job. I think an effort should be made to get a repeal of it on the ballot.

To show how screwed up it is, your average supe is NOT accountable to the voters for 50% of his term in office if he serves two terms. As soon as he wins the second term, his cares LITTLE for what his constituents think for they can no longer defeat him in the next election.

It thus creates a system where the people with all the POWER have little genuine interest in the consequences of their actions for they will probably be gone from the City in just a few years - see Gavin Newsom who has his eyes on residing most of the time in Wash DC. In the current system, you won't get ppl in there like Quentin Kopp - someone who has always lived in the City and thus cared deeply about it.

LET'S GET RID OF TERM LIMITS!!!

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2013 @ 10:56 pm

Full time supervisors has been a fiasco for the city.

Posted by Matlock on May. 09, 2013 @ 11:47 pm

of pretending to be moderate, and is presenting, of late, as a simple and obvious right wing hack.

This Matlock, anyway.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 11, 2013 @ 8:38 am

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