AUCKLAND. On Friday, the city released its 3,500-page final environmental impact report, a key document whose approval is critical to transforming Auckland’s waterfront stadium proposal into more than just a field of dreams.
The report states that there are no major environmental barriers to the team’s plan to build a 35,000-seat stadium at Howard Terminal in the Port of Auckland and flanked by its 3,000 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of office space and 270,000 square feet of retail space, as well hotel rooms and parks.
Since being drafted in February, the report has gathered about 400 comments or questions from various government agencies, civil society organizations and individuals about the project’s potential impact on traffic, air quality, infrastructure and other environmental elements.
The next step will be the consideration of the report by the city planning commission on January 19. If the commission is pleased, the report will be forwarded to the council for possible approval next month. During this time, the council may also consider the financial terms of the proposed project, on which the city and A are negotiating.
“This is a huge milestone,” A President Dave Kavall said in a telephone interview Friday.
Throughout the year, the five pushed the city to faster implementation of the report and threatened to move to Las Vegas if Oakland drags on or the financial deal is not concluded.
Kaval reiterated the urgency on Friday, noting that the team is narrowing down the number of potential sites in and around the Las Vegas area.
In Oakland, the project sparked controversy. While he has received support from building unions and a loyal fan base, some fear he could displace residents in the area through indirect housing price increases, disrupt a nearby port, and create traffic problems as people try to maneuver around rail tracks and the interstate highway. 880 to get to the stadium.
According to the environmental impact report, concerns about traffic, pedestrian crossings and the disposal of toxic materials from the development area can be reasonably mitigated.
The groups that make up the East Oakland Stadium Alliance – mainly the port businesses and their unions – called the environmental report “inadequate.”
“During the EIR project phase, our coalition and others provided detailed comments urging the City to review and re-release the EIR project, which was inadequate in many ways, but this request was ignored.” – Mike Jacob, Vice President, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association said in a statement on Friday. “It is also worrying that (the final report) was released shortly before the holidays, when port stakeholders are working around the clock to ensure goods are moved during an unprecedented supply chain crisis, and community advocates are focusing on issues such as food and shelter for those who needs it. … ”
Even if the report is ultimately approved, other important steps need to be taken before construction begins. The city and families are still negotiating the terms of the financial deal, and issues such as affordable housing and community benefits remain sticking points.
City leaders want the upper class to make at least 15% of the 3,000 housing units affordable and spend at least $ 50 million on affordable housing elsewhere in Auckland. Kaval said on Friday that the city and the team have not finalized the housing plan, but “the city knows exactly our position.” He did not go into details, but earlier this year expressed opposition to the plan.
There is also the challenge of financing $ 400 million for infrastructure works such as improving roads and sidewalks, sewers, water supplies and electrical lines, and building pedestrian bridges to transport people to and from the site.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has previously signaled its intention to join the city in forming a special financial district to help fund infrastructure improvements, but its support has been sluggish and optional.
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The city’s planning commission will meet on January 19, 2022 at 15:00 to review the environmental impact report. To watch this meeting, go to https://www.oaklandca.gov/boards-commissions/planning-commission/meetings.
To read the final EIA and other project documents, visit https://www.oaklandca.gov/projects/oakland-waterfront-ballpark-district.