SF Board of Appeals ignores San Francisco Local Coastal Program
San Francisco On Wednesday, August 1, 2012, the SF
Board of Appeals heard our appeals of the Local Coastal Zone Permit. The BOA ignored the San Francisco Local Coastal
Program requirements and turned down our appeal.
Joining SF Ocean Edge in the Appeal were the San
Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Golden Gate Audubon Society, and the Golden Gate Park Preservation Alliance.
Background for the past appeals:
On May 24, 2012, the San Francisco Planning Commission voted to approve the Local Coastal Zone Permit. The SF
Recreation and Park Commission then approved the project. This was despite testimony from many organizations and individuals
who disagreed with the placement of this project within the Local Coastal Zone, as well as the Planning Department’s
acknowledgment that it had received over 1,000 emails, the majority of which opposed the project.
The Appeal Brooke O'Hanley, an associate at the environmental
law firm Lozeau - Drury LLP, represented SF Ocean Edge in the BOA Appeal. Before she entered the law profession,
O'Hanley played professional soccer for the Women's United Soccer Association. O'Hanley's legal and environmental
background includes completing her BA at the University of Portland and then going on to obtain a Masters in Environmental
Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara and a J.D. at the University of Maryland School of Law. She has interned
at the US Environmental Protection Agency and worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the
Department of Veteran Affairs. According to O'Hanley, “I am so thankful for the Environmental
Ethics and Policy program at the University of Portland. UP's Environmental Science Department - with its idealistic
and passionate faculty - helped to install in me that I have a moral obligation to try and protect our fragile earth.
This program propelled me into a lifelong commitment to environmental protection."
Impacts on the Local Coastal Zone The proposed soccer complex project would destroy one of the
few open grasslands in Golden Gate Park by removing over seven acres of natural grass and replacing it with artificial turf
in a area that is located in the tsunami zone . The complex would also install over 150,000 watts of sports
lighting on 60 foot poles, that would be lighted from dusk until 10:00 p.m. every night of the year. The poles are
much taller than the trees that separate the fields from the Great Highway and the beach. Bright lights disrupt
the natural environment and affect migratory birds and other wildlife, as well as detracting from the natural beauty of the
area. Located right next to Ocean Beach, the banks of lights would ruin the beauty of Ocean Beach for strollers
at sunset, for people enjoying the fire rings in the dark, and the Dark Sky for families studying the night sky. Even
during the day, the light poles and banks of sports lights will be visible from the Great Highway Promenade as well as from
Ocean Beach, detracting from the naturalistic beauty of Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park.
The value of Ocean Beach Ocean Beach, located immediately adjacent to the project site, is an important
coastal resource, visited each year by thousands of San Franciscans and tourists alike. Amy Meyer, former
Recreation and Park Commissioner, co-chair of the citizen panel for the just-finished Ocean Beach Master Plan (SPUIR 2012),
and an activist on behalf of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area for 42 years, says, , "I care very much about the impact of the Beach Chalet Athletic Fields project,
because both federal and city park lands would be severely detrimentally affected. I am concerned about the negative impacts
of installing sports lighting next to Ocean Beach and placing an artificial turf surface in Golden Gate Park... . . Increasing
the amount of 'dark sky' available to the public is a national park goal, not only in San Francisco but throughout the National
Park System. Keeping the skies as dark as possible at the western end of our city is our contribution to this goal.
Reasons include natural habitat for birds and wildlife, and preservation of opportunities for astronomical observation."
- the Hybrid Alternative SF Ocean Edge
proposes a feasible win-win solution - the Hybrid Alternative. The more urbanized West Sunset Playground fields are
scheduled for a renovation with natural grass. The Hybrid Alternative would simply swap field renovation methods.
It would renovate the fields at West Sunset with artificial turf that is safe and with appropriate lighting, and renovate
the Beach Chalet Soccer Fields with real grass and no lights. Katherine Howard, a landscape architect and member
of the SFOE Steering Committee says, "We support youth soccer. Switching the proposed Beach Chalet artificial
turf fields and sports lights project with West Sunset's natural grass renovation gives children renovated playing fields
and protects the beauty and naturalistic qualities of Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park for children today and for future generations
to enjoy. The Hybrid Alternative is a win-win solution for everyone."