SF judge rules against Warriors Mission Bay arena project opponents

- A San Francisco Superior Court judge today ruled against a group seeking to block a proposed Golden State Warriors arena project in the Mission Bay neighborhood, clearing the way for the project to proceed, according to city officials.
   
The ruling by Judge Garrett Wong rejected without comment lawsuits filed in December and January by the Mission Bay Alliance challenging the city's environmental review and approval process for the event center and mixed-use development at 16th and Third streets.
   
In particular, the group, which says it is made up of University of California at San Francisco donors, stakeholders, physicians and faculty members, argued that the 11-acre project would create major traffic and emergency access issues for the nearby UCSF Medical Center, especially on game days. The lawsuit was joined by the group Save Muni and Jennifer Wade, the mother of a UCSF patient concerned about emergency access for her son.
   
The Board of Supervisors in December unanimously approved the project, which will include an 18,000-seat event center and 600,000 square feet of office space, in December. The project was also certified as an Environmental Leadership Project by Gov. Jerry Brown, indicating it met economic stimulus and environmental building standards.
   
"The fact is that this worthwhile project has been thoroughly scrutinized under the law, and it has won overwhelming support every step of the way, from all parts of San Francisco-- including its neighbors," City
Attorney Dennis Herrera said.
   
Mayor Ed Lee said the ruling validated the city's environmental review process.
   
"The Warriors are inspiring a new generation of fans throughout the Bay Area, and I can't wait to welcome them back home to San Francisco,"
Lee said.
   
Litigation by the Mission Bay Alliance prompted the Warriors to announce earlier this year that the planned opening date of the arena was being delayed from 2018 to 2019.
   
Team president and chief operating officer Rick Welts today said the team looked forward to breaking ground soon.
   
"This decision brings us a huge step closer to building a new state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue, which will add needed vitality to the Mission Bay neighborhood and serve the entire Bay Area extremely well," Welts said in a statement.
   
The alliance also filed a lawsuit in December in Alameda County Superior Court alleging that UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood did not have the legal authority to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Warriors agreeing to traffic mitigations for the project. That lawsuit is still being litigated. 
   
The Mission Bay Alliance, along with plaintiffs Jennifer Wade and SaveMuni, responded on Monday, saying they would weigh their legal options and continue to oppose the arena’s proposed location.
Gerald Cauthen, transportation engineer and co-founder of SaveMuni, said he believes the arena environmental impact report is deeply flawed.
   
The Warriors announced in January that the arena will be known as the Chase Center, after financial services firm JPMorgan Chase paid for naming rights for 20 years.

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