While San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected an appeal of the approved, but hotly contested, plans for a temporary Navigation Center to be constructed on the Port’s current parking lot parcel known as Seawall Lot 330, across from Piers 30-32, at the end of last month, a group of neighbors has just filed suit in Superior Court seeking to definitively block the shelter.

According to the filing, “San Francisco unilaterally approved a mega-housing project on San Francisco Bay-front land burdened by the public trust, which prohibits housing without prior State Lands Commission approval, among other requirements, and without any environmental or design review.”

As such, the lawsuit seeks to have the State Lands Commission “act to protect the public” from the development which would provide temporary shelter, storage and infrastructure for up to 200 currently homeless individuals, along with administrative, community, dining and supportive services space intended to help transition its population to more permanent housing over the next few years.

In addition, the filing seeks a temporary restraining order and stay to keep any development from progressing until the lawsuit is decided, or perhaps until the Port issues an RFP for the lot (which shouldn’t catch any plugged-in readers by surprise).

58 thoughts on “Lawsuit to Block Hotly Contested Navigation Center Has Been Filed”
  1. It is heartbreakingly obvious that homelessness is a regional problem, not just specific to cities like San Francisco. It stands a much greater chance of being contained and dealt with when all the cities in the Bay Area come together with a regional plan to combat it. Period End Of Report.

  2. I am not a fan of NIMBYs but bravo to the folks who live in this area for filing the lawsuit. Breed has so far been a disaster as Mayor. The homeless problem has gotten noticeably worse under her. “Homeless” are now camping in RV’s along Diamond Heights Blvd. In quotes as these are likely city employees who live here during the week and commute to their Sacto homes on weekends. Check out Lake Merced – sometimes close to 30 plus RV’s. A danger to traffic and a violation of parking laws but the city allows this violation because these are presumably city or first responder folks living there. Their workday home in SF and their “real” home somewhere east of here.

    It is a regional problem but good luck on that. 40,000 units could be built along El Camino from SSF to Millbrae but those cities block it. There is a reason why the BA is in decline and the population is starting to fall. The BA is the poster child on how not to run a major metro area.

    1. Bravo, why? You complain about the Mayor doing nothing for the explosion of homelessness but then say bravo when someone proposes a solution? Maybe you’re part of the problem. Just sayin.

    2. You call her a disaster because the problem is getting worse, yet you cheer when she is blocked trying to do something about it?

      If Breed is a disaster because of the homeless problem, then just about every mayor in the old US of A is a disaster. LA? NY? Portland? Seattle? It’s not even a regional problem it’s a national problem.

      Will you tell us what your solution is?

      1. Steve – the cities you mention with this problem ‘just happen’ to be Democrat strongholds. Maybe the solution is obvious.

        1. Name a major city that doesn’t skew blue in elections. Oh right, you really cant, because urban areas universally skew blue relative to the national average. Meanwhile, rural Republican areas have some of the most deep and pervasive poverty in the country as well as the highest rated of opioid deaths. But don’t let facts stop you from spinning an anti-reality Hannityesque narrative.

        2. Interesting that democratic strongholds are also the most prosperous. NY, LA, and SF have the 3 largest economies in the US respectively. Homelessness is everywhere. Down to the smallest of islands. It is not partisan driven.

    3. The Bay Area has the fastest growth in all of California and population in San Francisco continues to grow faster than the housing stock. It literally cannot grow any faster given our housing construction.

    4. Sorry, Dave, could you direct us to the statistics that the Bay Area population is starting to fall? Thanks!

    5. The homeless problem has gotten noticeably worse progressively under each and every San Francisco mayor since Frank Jordan. Maybe you just weren’t here to see it until recently, and so you think things now are different and specific to the current mayor.

  3. Yaaayyyy! I hope they win. Doing just something/anything about the homeless problem is NOT the answer.How about doing the RIGHT thing to solve the problem that the City helped create in the first place? What do we do when we’ve built 100 navigation centers and still have 8000 homeless?

    This city is stuck in a vicious cycle. They refuse to address the root causes and to acknowledge that the current population of homeless are there for multiple reasons (not the least of which is drug use). But it’s all for a purpose — Breed and her contingency of modern “progressives” strategy is to spread the burden of homelessness among the taxpayers living in SF, so that the burdened taxpayers will vote for more and more funding initiatives to “solve” the problem (which is now their problem) thereby increasing the City coffers and ever increasing government-industrial complex. This is how government sucks the life out of it’s constituents – create and exacerbate so people will ‘demand” something be done and then gladly and ignorantly pay for it because a) “there, but for the grace of God, go I” and b) it’s in my backyard and I will pay anything for it to go away… This is how police departments got tanks and assault weapons.

    Wake up, sheeple. This City is not here to save you or serve you, it’s here to suck you dry of dignity and whatever money you manage to earn…

    1. It is well documented that drug use is NOT the primary CAUSE of homelessness. If you can’t even tell the difference between correlation and causation, then refrain from making jaw-droppingly ignorant statements and going on borderline nonsensical rants.

      1. you also cant tell the difference. there is no currently proven single cause, but a multitude of causes, of which drug abuse is one, along with losing a job, divorce, housing costs, medical bills. But there are a ton of IV drug users on our streets and without medical intervention theyre not leaving. Im all for the NC in this area, but I think there needs to be more mandatory drug and mental health counseling as part of being accepted into the NC

        1. That’s not the criticism. The criticism is that it’s willfully ignorant to say that these people are all homeless because they’re just junkies. That’s a childishly oversimplified view of the situation to the point where it’s not even worth taking such a narrow and wrong position seriously.

          1. Very few are down-on-their-luck types either.

            In my daily observation from riding BART into SF everyday…it’s major categories.

            -Drug users
            -People that should be institutionalized or need serious medical attention mental/physical
            -Ex-cons that are not able to get a job or place to live. Parole officers visiting encampments in Oakland is a thing.

            Only an smaller fraction are families that were evicted etc etc the disabled vet types etc etc the working poor….those folks in general are able to get into housing if they don’t fall into the above categories.

          2. As we first noted three years ago, “while the reason for one becoming homeless is typically the result of multiple and compounding causes, a quarter (25 percent) of those surveyed in early 2015 reported job loss as the primary cause, followed by substance abuse (18 percent). Having been evicted (13 percent) was the third highest reported cause of becoming homeless, a primary cause which had tripled since 2011.”

            Those reasons and rankings haven’t changed by more than a percent since and are now followed by “Having an Argument with Family/Friend” (12%), “Mental Health Issues” (8%) and having previously been incarcerated (7%).

  4. Considering California and the SF Bay Area is no longer politically diverse….meaning totally controlled by Democrats, this homeless problem should be a easy fix.

    Democrats talk a really good blame game faulting the homeless problem on everybody else except Democrats. Now that they are in total control of the House, state Assembly, and San Francisco city government this “problem” can be fixed if every single housed person opens their homes and takes in one of these “homeless” persons.

    Liberals seem to claim the moral high ground for humanity, so what better way of showing the rest of the world how humane and moral they can be than to open their homes to solving this problem of the unhoused.

    Got a spare room, space in your garage, garden shed, basement…..kids away at school…empty bedroom..enclosed porch…backyard that will support a tent?????

    No city permits needed….no building permits required…..no expensive remodeling…easy pezzy.

    State and city Government can provide tax credits to offset some of your expense, like providing food and incidental living expenses for these folks.

    What are you waiting for? Take in a homeless person. Show the world…lead the way…open your homes….simply bring these poor soles into your homes and get them off the streets.

    Problem fixed.

    1. not all democrats are the same. i think London breed is doing a good job and could be doing a much better one if progressive and conflicted supes like Mar, Ronen and Peskin didnt try to stop every rationale move she makes. The board of supervisors is broken and should be dismantled, or control at least severely restricted

  5. This lawsuit can and will fail, as it should. Same type of not thought out tactics that groups like the Mission Bay Alliance and many others have used and failed with.

  6. Censorship or moderation…….“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
    ― George Orwell

    1. This is a private site, not a government run service or institution. You don’t have a right to say whatever you want without being subject to moderation and being moderated doesn’t infringe on your rights. That belief by be literally the dumbest right-wing belief there is, which is really saying something. Don’t like it? Then see yourself out.

  7. I hope this gets dismissed quickly and with prejudice. We need to say “enough” to the frivolous lawsuits every time a land-use decision is made in this state.

  8. This is a city wide problem, not a Mission District or Tenderloin problem. Until there is a more permanent solution the navigation centers work and reduce crime. I live near the new center near S Van Ness and Division and it has helped quite a bit. Granted we still have a disproportionate part of the problem.

    So instead of complaining and filing lawsuits do your part, because some of us are tired of doing it for you.

    Every district supervisor should be working on this together…..instead of the “not in my district” bullsh*t.

    1. i dont think homeless should be bused to areas where there is not an issue. Most of the westside does not have a homeless. Should one built in outer avenues and then have the homeless bused out here? makes sense to put the shelters where the homeless are. But i do think embarcadero is a good spot as there are plenty of homeless within a few blocks

      1. Jimbo,

        Have you been to Ocean Beach at 7am, it’s a campground. Golden Gate Park, another campground.

        If you don’t think the shelters should be in each district, then please tell your district supervisor (either Sandra Lee Fewer or Gordon Mar depending on which side of the park you live on) they should be helping fund it in a different neighborhood, with their budget.

        1. a NC in the upper haight makes a lot of sense. dont agree with you about ocean beach ( i run there a lot in the morning), and not about the west half of GGP. sounds fair that the budget comes from everyone, but i jsut dont see the logic in bussing homeless from where they are to a completely different area of the city.

        2. I’ve long thought there should be a Nav Center near Ocean Beach.
          I will write to my supe about it. I can’t tell if you’re being facetious but it would be a good spot for a center.
          Also, people talking about busing people between shelters/centers don’t know what they’re talking about. There is a homeless problem in every neighborhood in this city.

          1. i live in the inner richmond and maybe see 1 homeless person per week. same guy. there are even less in mid and outter avenues, and same holds tru for many neighborhoods. they are very concerntrated in downtown, soma, mission, bayview, embaracadero, haight, civic center

  9. It’s a perfectly fine location for a Navigation Center.
    These litigious objectors are entitled NIMBY jerks.

    1. Place one right outside Nancy Pelosi’s house in addition to the Federal Building and why not City Hall.

      Spread it around!

      1. We already had one in front of City Hall. It was called Camp Agnos, and it failed miserably. Agnos lost re-election to a Republican former cop.

    2. Agreed 100%. After all, if they don’t like it, they can, you know… move. That’s probably the same advice these entitled NIMBY jerks would give out to someone who can’t afford to live in the neighborhood anymore–just move! Not to mention that they have the means to do so, more so than someone who’s been priced out.

  10. Let’s put one near the Golden Gate Bridge, right in Union Square, on Nob Hill and at Pier 39. Homeless Inc. ($300 Million/year & counting!) won’t rest until we turn every last neighborhood in SF into a hellhole! Don’t forget that this city is run for the benefit of street folk, NOT anyone just trying to work and support their family. I oughta know because I’m yet another privileged white midwesterner who came out here just to tell Bay Area natives that they need to not be NIMBYs and turn over the keys to the home they struggled to afford over to a crackhead who got sick of loitering around Portland. It’s the San Francisco Way!™

    1. Most of the folks who have found themselves on the street here are FROM here. I know it’s easier to label them as “other” when you think they aren’t from here. A society can be judged by how it cares for the most vulnerable among them. This city is ultra-wealthy and this is a symptom of which the cause may be attributed to entitled schmucks from the midwest that keep coming and driving up the cost of housing.

    2. I’m a homeowner in The Mission who lives a few blocks from a former Navigation Center. The neighborhood was noticeably better when the Center was running than before or after (not to mention the clear benefits for the people sheltered there rather than on the streets). Your stance on this is not grounded in pragmatic reality.

  11. Drain and pave over the Laguna Honda reservoir. It’s not connected to the water system and hasn’t been since the 1906 earthquake.

    Put in a huge navigation center there until development plans are finalized.

  12. What baffles me is why the Port Commissioners are not putting that land to more appropriate, creative use. From the Port website: “Commissioner Gail Gilman was appointed to the Port Commission by Mayor Mark Farrell in April 2018. She has previously served on numerous housing and homeless tasks forces and was appointed in 2017 by Governor Brown to California’s Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council. She previously served on the commission for the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection.

    Ms. Gilman has over 25 years of non-profit experience and extensive experience in real estate development of residential housing, land-use policy, activation of commercial spaces in supportive housing, social enterprise, economic development, homelessness, social services, public policy and community organizing. She has been chief executive officer at the Community Housing Partnership since 2010. She is extensively involved in regional and national public policy efforts related to housing and homelessness. Ms. Gilman received a Master of Non-Profit Administration from University of San Francisco and lives in the North Beach neighborhood along the waterfront.” Will the Port a shelter there?

    The Port has sites all over town. Is this Embarcadero Shelter the first of more being planned on Port sites? Is this how the Commissioners are going to squander further parcels? This shelter has a bad odor about it already.

    1. “Squander”? It’s a freaking parking lot right now!

      And if you haven’t heard, the Port has been working to develop that site into a big tall building full of housing. But this is San Francisco, we’re talking about, so that process takes years. In the meantime, they’re allowing this nav center as an interim use for two years. They even have an early termination clause in the contract to remove the nav center in the unlikely event the stars all align and they’re able to start development early. There’s no squandering going on here, just smart, efficient use of a temporarily underutilized parcel.

  13. How is it that the city lets areas like the tenderloin, 6th & mission, and west soma rot…yet their solution is moving the homeless to the waterfront??

    buy up the SROs and shanty housing in the bad areas, convert those buildings into supportive housing, and rehab the homeless frmo there. DONT MOVE THEM to the waterfront next to condos where people paid millions to live and will ultimately lose 20-30% of their investment just due to terrible city planning. its really a joke.

    1. If you talk to folks who were homeless in the 90s and early 2000s and ask them why is it so worse today they will often tell you that the City makes it easy to be homeless. This NC will draw far more homeless than the planned for amount. Absurd – much as there is a military industrial complex there is a homeless industrial complex. This has become an industry unto itself.

    2. there are plenty of homeless on or near the embarcadero. the Vaillancourt Fountain had to shut off a few years ago because of bathing, defecating and urinating in it. Sue Bierman Park and the lawn across from the Ferry Buildings always have homeless.

    3. donjuan116 inadvertently points out a crying need in the real estate economics literature. What, exactly, is the economic impact on resale values of properties located “next to” a navigation center?

      The fact that the navigation center, if it is allowed to proceed to completion and operation, will be temporary seems to be a reasonably good circumstance for a natural experiment, where homes sold before and after the navigation center is actually in operation form the control groups and homes sold during the time the center is in operation forming the experimental group. The group of neighbors behind the Superior Court suit should pool their funds to hire a professor to do a study, they could shed some important light on this and inform future public policy.

      Do they actually result in a reduction in 20-30% of real property values? Assuming they do, is that amount significantly greater than the impact of the same numbers of people living in tents on the sidewalk or tarp-covered lean-tos in the same vacinity? If it isn’t, aren’t area homeowners better off with a navigation center than if the navigation center was never operated?

  14. there is nothing special about those condos. nor the condos in haight, or castro, or mission.
    to heck and back with those whining NMBYs. let’s move those ‘special condos’ to the Portola Flower District.
    I’ve heard there’s a huge vacant lot with dried flowers.

  15. So I’ve been driving past the navigation center (NC) at 5th and Bryant almost daily. If optics are key to acceptance for placement of NC’s in our neighborhoods then this one is a complete failure.

    Most days there are dozens of people hanging around this NC on the street, step’s, bushes. It looks like Taylor street and Hyde in the TL. Open drug dealing, dogs…mostly pitbulls hanging around.

    To be fair I have not been past any of the other NC’s so I can only assess the optics of this one. And the optics at 5th and Bryant are not promising for what’s to come at SWL 330.

    1. Are you sure that’s the navigation center you’re thinking of? What you’re describing sounds more like MSC South across the street, which is more like the old shelter model and which, unlike navigation centers, offers drop-in services and meals. The Bryant nav center is midblock on the north side, east of the 5th and Bryant on-ramp.

      Stop by the Division Circle nav center for a clearer idea of what to expect on the street. I live near that one, and while the pedestrian-friendliness of the street could be improved, we’ve never had a problem with the nav center attracting undesirable activities. In fact, street conditions have improved since it opened.

  16. UPDATE: The aforementioned temporary restraining order and stay has been formally denied, but a hearing on the merits of the lawsuit seeking to block the center’s opening in December has been set for September 23.

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