PHOENIX – Plans for a San Francisco arena to host the Golden State Warriors won a court victory this week.
A panel of appellate court judges Tuesday upheld a lower court decision affirming San Francisco's environmental review and approval process for the basketball arena.
The 3-0 ruling by the First District Court of Appeal of the State of California upheld a July Superior Court ruling and allows the National Basketball Association's Warriors to move ahead with the project. The proposed Chase Center arena, which would allow the Warriors to abandon their current home in Oakland, is privately funded but city leaders have touted the benefits it would bring in tax revenue.
The opponents who filed the lawsuit early this year call themselves the Mission Bay Alliance. The group says it is concerned how the project will affect the University of California San Francisco medical campus in the area, as well as the quality of life in the neighborhood and the environment.
Key to the lawsuit was the Alliance's claim that the city's environmental review process did not live up to the requirements of California law, a charge city officials have consistently rejected. The court's Tuesday ruling seemed to validate the city's stance, with the judges finding no evidence that the city failed to properly consider the arena's impact on the university facilities or the environment.
"Although in some instances defendants' analysis of potential environmental impacts might have been expanded, as is commonly the case, in general the record reflects a thorough and exhaustive study of all environmental impacts to be anticipated," the court said in its ruling.
"We conclude there is no merit to plaintiffs‟ objections to the sufficiency of the city's environmental analysis and its approval of the proposed project," the ruling said.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera hailed the decision, calling it "thoughtful and comprehensive."
It shows that a rigorous environmental review was conducted, said Herrera. "Both the trial court and the appellate court have affirmed that convincingly. We're confident the environmental review and approval process for this project will withstand any legal challenges," he said. "This event center is an important civic priority that has been thoroughly scrutinized and has won overwhelming support every step of the way."
The Alliance has not ruled out further resistance to the project, and told local media it was reviewing its options.