The Oakland A’s stadium saga continued on Thursday, with the latest footnote in the eternal saga.
The SFBay Conservation & Development Commission (BCDC) held a public meeting today to discuss whether to remove Howard Terminal’s designation for port activities, a necessary step toward the A’s building a stadium at the site. The team, the port, and the mayor were among the speakers, along with nearly a thousand written comments from the public.
This meeting was informational only, without any final action at the end. The BCDC will vote June 30 on whether to remove the area’s port use.
The meeting lasted over eight hours, and you can click here to watch the whole thing via Brodie Brazil of NBCS. Continue below for a few highlights.
Last month, the BCDC staff announced support for the project, recommending that the BCDC commissioners vote to remove the port use. The BCDC staff voiced that recommendation again today:
To summarize Cory Mann's presentation: @sfbcdc staff recommends removing Port Priority Use Area from Howard Terminal.— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) June 2, 2022
Next Steps: Final Recommendation by June 17.
Vote on June 30. pic.twitter.com/4mygGXRgVQ
One topic of discussion was climate change, as noted by Casey Pratt of ABC7:
“A key point was just mentioned... Howard Terminal is at risk of flooding in the future due to sea level rise. It’s current uses don’t address sea level rise or toxin mitigation. The A’s project does address those things. So if they leave it as is, it will be a major issue.”
Indeed, last month the project got a conceptual endorsement from the Greenbelt Alliance, a local non-profit environmental group, who praised the plan’s “contribution to climate resilience.”
Team President Dave Kaval provided further details today on the green aspects of the project:
Kaval details the Climate and Community Benefits of the project. pic.twitter.com/Ep7Thlx4gj— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) June 2, 2022
Another topic was the impact of the A’s project on an upcoming plan to widen the inner harbor turning basin, which is a detail the club has already taken into account. A couple of background info links:
The Turning Basin project does not require removing Howard Terminal’s port designation and could happen either way, suggests the BCDC, though they note that such a step might simplify the process.
Kaval talked about how the A’s have designs to accommodate either scenario, whether the Turning Basin project happens or not:
Dave Kaval explains the concession the A's are making for the Turning Basin. pic.twitter.com/T1zV3z5nni— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) June 2, 2022
More from Kaval, via Pratt:
“From the A’s perspective, we’re fully committed to the Turning Basin. That’s why we’ve planned a site plan with or without it. The ball is in the Army Corps of Engineers’ court to determine if it happens or not, and we’ll design the project accordingly.”
The Howard Terminal project has a supporter in Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan, who says the ballpark plan wouldn’t hinder port operations. He spoke today:
Port of Oakland executive director Danny Wan explains the constraints of Howard Terminal in its current uses. pic.twitter.com/ZWZLssF8Vp— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) June 2, 2022
Port of Oakland executive director Danny Wan: "Removing Howard Terminal is not detrimental to the Port's ability to accommodate cargo growth." pic.twitter.com/9Kw2qHEprx— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) June 2, 2022
As always, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf chimed in with strong support for the ballpark project:
Strong statement from @LibbySchaaf here. "I can say confidently that development can happen at Howard Terminal without interfering with Port operations..." "...Howard Terminal is needed and poised for public access development that will meet this region's most pressing needs." pic.twitter.com/XpxgexsLVG— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) June 2, 2022
“Development can happen at Howard Terminal without interfering with port operations. BCDC and Port of Oakland staff have both concluded that Howard Terminal is not needed and will not be needed for cargo handling. Howard Terminal is needed and poised for public access development that will meet this region’s most pressing needs.”
The BCDC staff will deliver a final recommendation in a couple weeks, and the BCDC commissioners will vote on June 30. This vote must go the A’s way in order for the Howard Terminal ballpark project to continue. Note that one commissioner has recused himself due to conflict of interest, specifically his affiliation with another organization known to support the project.
Watch today’s full meeting below: