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City approves 1,500 homes at India Basin

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Bayview residents worry about air quality as new large-scale construction looms

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors rejected an appeal on Tuesday for a mixed-use development at India Basin, forging ahead with the 1,500-plus home project even as neighbors say they fear for their health and raise the specter of the Hunters Point Shipyard development.

According to developer BUILD Incorporated, the India Basin project includes parkland, open spaces, and a mixed-use urban village, which will feature “1,575 residential units, approximately 200,000 square feet of commercial space, approximately 15.5 acres of publicly accessible open space, and up to 1,800 parking spaces.”

The project covers 30 parcels on Innes Street, “primarily reclaimed tidal flats, generally consisting of fill materials.”

Years in the making, it now appears that this largely underdeveloped area will soon join in the city southeast building boom.

But on Tuesday, neighbors and environmental groups tried to appeal the project’s environmental impact report, claiming that it was “not adequate, accurate, and objective.” The appellants went on to claim that dust from the construction may stir up health hazards for Bayview residents.

Rendering of a future scene with a large public market sign, small steel pier, and new residential buildings. There are people walking around with children. Renderings courtesy of BUILD Inc.

At the board’s October 2 meeting, Alison Kirk of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District told supervisors that the district is “concerned about the high levels of fine particulate matter that neighbors of the Project will be exposed to during project construction” and suggested that more safeguards are needed.

Bradley Angel of the environmental group Greenaction railed against the board on Tuesday, calling the process “ridiculous” and “an insult to democracy.”

Marie Harrison, longtime community organizer and activist, demanded that supervisors look her in the face during her comments and urged them to hold up development for the sake of Bayview residents.

“Here we are again asking for the same thing,” said Harrison, comments that hinted at the years of conflict around the Hunters Point development.

“You keep ignoring the health risk to our community and people like myself who are already sick,” added Harrison, telling city lawmakers that Bayview “can’t take anymore.”

Board of Supervisors President Malia Cohen, who represents the Bayview, acknowledged that “public comment really reflects the uneasiness that exists in the Bayview when it comes to development an environmental injustices” and said that the city must do more to protect public health

Cohen also said that, ultimately, she could not support the appeal because “from what I can tell there’s no clear violation” of state law.

She added, “The project will undoubtedly be a benefit to the community.”

The rest of the board agreed, batting down the appeal on a 10-1 vote. Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer was the sole dissenting vote.

Although public comment was largely against the project, some Bayview neighbors support it. In July, the India Basin Neighborhood Association urged the Planning Department to approve the BUILD Inc plan, saying that “IBNA looks forward to welcoming new neighbors.”