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Oakland releases Environmental Impact Report for new A’s waterfront ballpark

new Oakland ballpark

The city of Oakland released a Final Environmental Impact Report for a proposed Oakland A’s ballpark and development at the downtown Howard Terminal site, with no significant changes from the draft report circulated earlier.

You can read through all 3,500 pages here. No major changes were added to the final report, as reported in Chapter 2, though responses to the 400 comments submitted on the draft were added: “The Project applicant has not submitted any changes to the proposed Project or variants analyzed in the Draft EIR. However, this section discusses new or updated information that has been added to the public record by the Project applicant, the City, or the Port of Oakland (“Port) that the City has determined relates to the proposed Project, related approvals or requirements, or other information mentioned in the Draft EIR. Although none of the updates discussed here are changes to the proposed Project or the Draft EIR that could result in changes to the environmental analysis in the Draft EIR under CEQA, the City has decided that these changes warrant disclosure in this Response to Comments document for informational purposes for the public and decision-makers of the Project.”

The bottom line, says Mayor Libby Schaaf in a statement accompanying the release, is that the report should allow the A’s project to move forward:

“Releasing the final Environmental Impact Report is a major milestone on our path to build a new waterfront ballpark district that will create up to 18 acres of beautiful public parks, more affordable housing, and good jobs for Oaklanders. The 3,500-page document is thorough and exhaustive, and it ensures that the project is environmentally safe and sustainable. The completion of the EIR also keeps us on track to bring the project for a final vote to the City Council in 2022–and brings us one step closer to keeping our beloved A’s rooted in Oakland.”

The release of the report clears the way for certification by the city, according to a city press release. First, the Oakland Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing on the Final EIR on January 19, 2022 at 3 p.m. During the hearing, the Planning Commission will consider whether the Final EIR was completed in compliance with State law, represents the independent analysis of the City, and provides adequate information to decision-makers and the public on the potential adverse environmental effects of the proposed Project, as well as ways in which those effects might be mitigated or avoided. Upon receiving a recommendation from the Planning Commission, the Oakland City Council will consider certification of the Final EIR at a future hearing date, likely in February 2022. A “yes” vote on certification of the EIR does not mean the project is approved, but it is an important first step needed before project approvals can be considered or granted by the City and Port.

There are still plenty of approvals required from the city as well throughout 2022.

The release of the report prompted an immediate response from the East Oakland Stadium Alliance and Mike Jacob, Vice President and General Counsel of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association:

“Our coalition will be thoroughly reviewing the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) over the coming weeks to determine whether it responds adequately to the serious concerns identified by hundreds of Oakland community members, businesses, labor leaders, and government agencies, or remains a seriously flawed document.

“During the Draft EIR phase, our coalition and others submitted detailed comments urging the City to revise and recirculate the Draft EIR, which was inadequate on numerous fronts, but that request was ignored. It is also troubling that the FEIR was released just before the holidays, when Port stakeholders are working around the clock to keep goods moving during an unprecedented supply chain crisis and community advocates are focusing on issues like feeding and housing those in need.”

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