The San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously certified the America's Cup environmental impact statement Thursday night setting the stage for a business and construction boom.
Environmental groups said they needed more time to review San Francisco's eight-volume plan for hosting the America's Cup before it went up for a vote Thursday night.
No construction could begin until the environmental impact report was approved. The report spells out the organizers' plan to protect local land, water and air quality.
But environmental groups asked earlier Thursday for the vote to be rescheduled. If the commission approves the plan, the groups said they will appeal to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which could delay final approval until January.
The coalition of 30 groups said in a press release Wednesday that the report "contains strong environmental protections for the Bay's air, water, communities and habitats." Still, it said it wants more information on how the city intends to protect Crissy Field, which is expected to attract the largest crowds.
The groups are also concerned over the impact the America's Cup will have on the city's mass transportation system, nearby neighborhoods and marine mammals in the San Francisco Bay.
Nonetheless, leaders of the coalition said they expect to work out most of the problems and they don't anticipate taking any legal action that could further delay construction.
"We feel confident that by collaborating with the city we can put the biggest environmental issues behind us and move on to support the America's Cup races," said Jennifer Clary of the nonprofit San Francisco Tomorrow.
The America's Cup was expected to attract 5 million spectators over 50 racing days. Preliminary races have been scheduled for the summer of 2012.
City officials hoped the event creates 8,000 jobs and generate $1.8 billion for the local economy.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.