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Nonprofit Targets High-Rise Deal on SF Bay

October 2, 2012

By PHILIP A. JAN QUART : – excerpt

(CN) – California officials cannot push through a 16,000-square foot, 12-story condo and health club facility on the San Francisco Bay, an interest group says in court.
The development is the latest thorn in the side of Defend Our Waterfront, a nonprofit formed in September 2012 after area residents learned that the California State Lands Commission terminated public trust interest in Seawall Lot 351 on The Embarcadero at Washington Street in San Francisco.
California allegedly terminated the public trust interest in Lot 351 in a land exchange with the city of San Francisco that is currently the subject of three pending mandamus actions and a qualified referendum set for 2013.
Defend Our Waterfront says the state approved the land exchange on the basis of a California Environmental Quality Act exemption for “settlements of title and boundary problems.”
But it claims that this exemption does not actually apply because there are no title or boundary disputes connected to Lot 351…

Defend Our Waterfront says the commission’s decision must be overturned.
“The commission is engaging in a statewide pattern and practice of reliance on an inapplicable statutory exemption from CEQA when approving land exchange agreements involving public trust lands sans title or boundary problems,” the group states. “Unless declaratory relief is granted, the Commission may continue to approve such agreements via exemption even when unrelated to settlement of a boundary or title problem, and will thereby circumvent the mandates of CEQA.”
The city and county of San Francisco are listed as respondents along with the California State Lands Commission and the Port Commission of the City and County of San Francisco…

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