By ELIZABETH WARMERDAM: courthousenews – excerpt
OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – Neighborhood groups in San Francisco’s North Beach sued the federal and city transit agencies over a “massive excavation project” in the popular tourist area.
SaveNorthBeachVillage.org and NoNorthBeachDig.org sued the Federal Transit Administration and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in Federal Court.
The plaintiffs challenge “the so-called ‘Pagoda Option,’ a massive excavation project located in the heart of the historic North Beach area of San Francisco, within an historic district and adjacent or proximate to multiple properties and parks. The ‘Pagoda Option’ is associated with but is not an essential part of a proposed subway (Central Subway Project) connecting San Francisco’s South of market area with Chinatown. The ‘Pagoda Option’ represents a potential means of removing the tunnel-boring machines to be used for subway construction from the completed tunnel. This lawsuit does not challenge the whole subway project but rather the superfluous and historically destructive ‘Pagoda Option.'”…
“On October 25, 2013, more than five months after the FTA Determination and just six days before the deadline for claims seeking judicial review of the Pagoda Option, SFMTA issued a ‘Construction Update’ stating for the first time that the Pagoda Option includes a large excavation at 1455 Stockton Street, in North Beach. The excavated area will be at least 20 feet wide and 27 feet deep. None of defendants’ environmental review documents – not the SEIS, not the ROD, not the ‘North Beach Retrieval Option Review,’ not the Addendum, and not the FTA determination – disclosed or evaluated any construction activities at 1455 Stockton Street,” according to the complaint.
This location, as admitted by the FTA and SFMTA, is an historic resource. A March 2008 “Historic Property Survey Report” attached to the ROD stated that the address was eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places for its historically significant architecture and as a significant contributor to the North Beach Historic District.
“The Cavalli Building, located at 1435-1445 Stockton Street is an historic resource within the North Beach Historic District. It is immediately adjacent to and will be impacted by the Pagoda Option excavation now planned for 1455 Stockton Street.
“The building at 635-39 Green Street (also known as 36 Card Alley) is another historic resource within the North Beach Historic District that would be impacted by the Pagoda Option excavation,” the nonprofits say.
They claim the transportation agencies violated law by failing to evaluate the potential use of historic resources and by approving a transportation project that will use historic resources or parklands when feasible alternatives exist.
They seek an injunction requiring that the agencies take no action to implement the Pagoda Option and withdraw their approval of the Pagoda Option.
They are represented by Nicholas C. Yost with Dentons US LLP…