Port commissioners will decide whether to give the Oakland Athletics four years to complete studies and agreements for proposed baseball stadium that industry opposes.
Port of Oakland commissioners have scheduled a vote for May 13 on a proposal that would give the Oakland Athletics baseball team four years to complete an environmental impact report (EIR), secure land use approvals and reach real estate agreements for a controversial proposed ballpark at Howard Terminal.
Maritime interests and environmental groups have cried foul ball over the proposed ballpark that would be built along the Oakland estuary in the port’s inner harbor. They object to using scarce waterfront property for non-maritime uses and are concerned that traffic to and from the stadium and housing units that would be built alongside the ballpark would snarl port traffic and create safety issues.
Howard Terminal is a small container terminal that is currently being used as a parking lot for trucks and husbanding ships.
The A’s proposal has received strong criticism from members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents dockworkers at the port. A march protesting the notion of building a ballpark at Howard Terminal was a focus of a May Day protest Wednesday.
Business associations such as the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, Harbor Trucking Association and Agriculture Transportation Association have said they would oppose legislation relaxing the environmental laws that apply to the construction of a stadium project at Howard Terminal.
Environmental groups also oppose the project and community activists say that housing that would be part of the stadium project would be too expensive for many residents of Oakland, which has seen a wave of gentrification.
The port said at a special meeting its seven commissioners will decide whether to approve an “exclusive negotiation term sheet” that includes:
• A requirement to complete an EIR studying the impacts of a ballpark surrounded by mixed use development and public access amenities and the port’s right to reject or modify the project based on the findings of the EIR;
• Preliminary terms and principles for further negotiations on the lease or sale of approximately 50 acres of port property at Howard Terminal that includes a 66-year lease for a ballpark and commercial development parcels and sale of other parcels on which housing may be developed;
• A requirement to secure regulatory approvals and a community benefits plan;
• And permit conditions to assure compatibility between the project and current as well as future port seaport operations.