Having been denied a restraining order to halt construction of the temporary Navigation Center which is being assembled upon the Port’s parking lot parcel known as Seawall Lot 330, adjacent to the Watermark and across from Piers 30-32 along the Embarcadero, the neighborhood group fighting to block the opening of the center filed a new legal motion and request for the court to set aside the City’s approval of the project, arguing that the Port failed obtain proper approvals from the State Lands Commission.

But the Honorable Ethan P. Schulman of California’s Superior Court has denied the neighborhood group’s request, the notice of which was just delivered to the attorneys involved, and cleared the way for the new Embarcadero Navigation Center to open next month.

From the ruling: “In short, in 2011, [California’s Legislature] lifted the restrictions it had previously placed on Seawall Lot 330, including the requirement of prior State Lands Commission approval of non-trust leases, and that action was never rescinded. The City therefore was not required to obtain such approval before entering into the Memorandum of Understanding governing the Emarcadero Navigation Center, and [the challenge] to the Port’s action fails.”

And why were the aforementioned restrictions lifted in 2011? In order to help clear the way for the 34th America’s Cup (AC34) held in San Francisco.

37 thoughts on “Judge Denies Request to Block Navigation Center”
  1. Honestly, this should be the standard now. If the neighbors/neighborhood associations are fighting the development of real homes on adjacent city-owned properties, navigation centers should be created. They can either choose development or navigation centers. Forcing for “no development” should not be a choice during a housing crisis like ours, it’s discriminatory.

    1. Isn’t that incorrect in the context of this neighborhood? That area isn’t anti-development. There are likely tens of thousands of new condos and rental units in that area of “East Cut” (or whatever they call it) that have come online in the past 10 years. So many towers.

      1. “That area isn’t anti-development”

        It absolutely is. Previous proposals for that and other similar sites in the area have been killed, at least in part, by neighborhood opposition.

        ” There are likely tens of thousands of new condos and rental units in that area of “East Cut” (or whatever they call it) that have come online in the past 10 years.” –> “tens of thousands”

        No, there aren’t.

        1. You’re right… not 10s of thousands, but a large number, especially compared to other areas of the city:

          Lumina 650
          Solaire 400
          Mira 392
          399 Fremont 445
          Jasper 320
          The Harrison 298
          The Avery 548
          333 Fremont 83
          33 Tehama 403
          Rincon Green 326

          I’m probably missing some… that’s just from walking around work. There’s so much construction in that area. Plus ORH and Infinity completed in 2008.

          Regardless you can easily look up stats and see it’s where a large amount of new SF rental / condo stock is being added.

          1. The ones you mentioned just happen to not block anyone’s view of the bay. How about 429 Beale? Last “concern” is regarding changing wind dynamics will funnel bay bridge pollution into the existing units. LOL.

            Let’s not forget to objects for the Warriors stadium I mentioned below already.

      2. The same neighbors were also against Warriors Arena plans – a location which makes more sense from transportation point of view. Neighbors argued about views – even though the view from the street would be just as blocked as it is by the Ferry Building. The neighbors arguments were also – I’m just gonna say it – dumb. “There are many cars that drive by Embarcadero every day”… Yep, scraping bottom of the barrel.

        1. @martin a stadium is a private endeavor for private profit. Objecting to it creating congestion and a mess on transit is 100% different than objecting to a public good like a navigation center.

          1. It’s not just for profit. It’s for public to benefit as well:

            * Public gets access to entertainment easily accessible by transit – 2 ferry docks, 2 muni lines, Regional Rail (Caltrain + BART).
            * Public gets rid of ugly parking lots which add pollution and traffic to neighborhood with no benefit to residents
            * Public gets a restored pier – the perimeter of which will be publicly accessible 24/7 – similarly to how one can walk around the baseball park.
            * Port gets revenue so it can rebuild the seawall rather than asking taxpayers for more bonds.

            As for profit, can you give me an example of construction that’s not done by for profit? Do workers volunteer their time? Do companies donate materials? All this will require some kind money to pay for it.

            Furthermore, EVERYTHING constructed there will require revenue for maintenance, and that revenue will come from people who will benefit from whatever is built there.

        2. To be fair, I think the cost of rehabbing the piers alone to support such a structure was in the tens of millions. I think cost was just as much a factor in the Warriors abandoning Piers 30-32.

        3. The latest NIMBY gem I ran across today (in a suburban context) is a mid-sized 70 unit apartment complex would generate hordes of PEDESTRIANS down his street (there is no car access to the proposed project from that street)

  2. You are all crazy to think that this will even partially help the current pathetic state of SF’s inability to handle the mentally ill and drug induced. This is a joke! They will still wander the streets all day and night.

    1. The drug addled homeless who are strung out on heroin won’t be wandering the streets all day and night. They’ll just be lying there, mostly.

      1. Au contraire. They snap out of it around 3 am at which time they bellow and rant at enormous volume through the canyons of SoMa. Double panes Windows cannot block the sound of these [people].

    2. “Adding shelter beds and navigation center slots is worse than not adding them.”

      That’s you. And it’s a blatantly ridiculous claim.

    3. Exactly. The effectiveness of these centers is pathetic in terms of putting people into stable situations. So far, they are basically an extra stop on the heroin/meth/withdrawal/misery/crime/arrest/OD/hospital merry-go-around

      1. While I am sympathetic to your point of view, I disagree that the available facts support your conclusion that Navigation Centers are “pathetic in terms of putting people into stable situations”. From More than a Shelter: An Assessment of the Navigation Center’s First Six Months (scroll down to the section headed “Does The Navigation Center Successfully Connect Clients To Housing?”):

        Most [homeless people] who exited the Navigation Center found stable housing or participated in Homeward Bound (an HSA program that provides homeless individuals with bus tickets to reunite with family or friends outside San Francisco). Of those exiting to permanent supportive housing, 88% went to HSA Master Lease units. The remainder went to Shelter Plus Care units (9%) or DPH’s Direct Access to Housing (DAH) sites (3%)…during the first seven months of operation, a quarter of all exits were unstable, with the [homeless person] either leaving voluntarily…or being asked to leave by the Navigation Center. The Navigation Center generally asks [homeless people] to leave when they are violent with staff or other clients or when substance use or personal behaviors begin to pose a threat to community health and safety.

        Emphasis mine. Given the population here, an approximately 25% exit rate to unstable situations sounds pretty effective to me.

        Of course, the Controller’s Office did this assessment back in 2015 when the program was fairly new, so things could have gone downhill since then and effectiveness could be much lower now, but if that’s the case I haven’t seen any evidence of it. If you’ve seen otherwise, go ahead and post it.

        I agree with the implicit point that just “connecting homeless people to housing” should not be the key performance indicator here. One of the key differences between traditional shelters and Navigation Centers is that at the Navigation Centers, [homeless people] do not have to be sober or drug-free to enter the site. The Navigation Centers should be actively identifying the people who are homeless because they are addicted to drugs and the key performance indicator here should be the percentage of those people who are sober and drug-free a year after being housed on the public’s purse.

  3. Well at least the goons have come out of the woodwork and are admitting that this monstrosity (and it is – we rode bikes past it the other day, it’s literally right under & in front of people’s apartment windows) was not about concern for “homeless” at all. It was just nasty payback for opposing the inept SFgov developer giveaways. If anyone wonder why Breed & Conway, Inc. lost at the polls, you need look no further.

    1. Before that it was an ugly parking lot right under and in front of people’s apartment windows spewing pollution from commuters from far away counties. Not to mention hundreds of cars adding traffic.

      Don’t you think that argument you make that “XXX right under & in front of people’s apartment windows” is the ultimate NIMBY comment? Can you imagine what SF would be building if such a comment could be used to block construction?

    2. It’s always amusing when people who probably have a nice place to call home, can play the victim during a housing crisis. ‘The haves’ in this city, can whine and moan about lost views, light, air, noise, and traffic without abandon.

      The stifling of development is utter nonsense and is exacerbating the homeless crisis. Cities are meant to evolve and change to help the greater population. This situation it is a product of NIMBYism, the neighbors had multiple chances to make a positive impact to their neighborhood, but due to their sense of entitlement, the result manifested itself through the pure need for housing. They can point fingers all they want, but they should really look at all the chances they had.

      The sad neighbors claiming this navigation center might be a political revenge plot is disgraceful.

      1. Exactly—the homeless crisis is one that will take the whole city to solve. You don’t get to try to opt out of the solution, through dubious legal means, just because you have more dollars in your bank accounts than others. At the end of the day, you can always move if it’s that bad. Homeless and poor folks don’t have that same freedom.

  4. Many large cities have one of more down trodden areas … only in SF would our esteemed elected officials strive to make sure every neighborhood in San Francisco has a large shared homeless population and all the quality of life issues this group brings to the areas they inhabit.

    1. the embarcadero has been a stronghold for the homeless for some time. the fountain across from the ferry building was shut down years ago due to homeless defecating in it. i agree with you that we shouldn’t build navigation centers in areas where there are currently no homeless, but this area has been full of homeless for years.

    2. Are you serious? The homeless population is concentrated mostly in just a few neighborhoods. Do you see homeless encampments in Pacific Heights, Sea Cliff, Saint Francis Wood, Presidio Heights like there are in SOMA, the Tenderloin and the Mission?

  5. Hope the restaurant right there will stay in business. That’s been a tough spot for food establishments over the years and this one has had a good run so far.

  6. That neighborhood group is truly the scum of the earth. Good old fashioned greedy NIMBY’s, rich and selfish and ugly to the core, people that don’t care about anyone but themselves. They are too [shortsighted] to see that the navigation center will clean up the neighborhood rather than make it worse, and too selfish to put up with the most minor POTENTIAL future inconvenience in order to help someone else.

    If there is any justice in the universe every single person that fought this center will be reborn in the next life with mental health issues leading to homelessness, and then they will get to see firsthand how it feels to have some greedy rich old devil fight against your only chance to escape sleeping on the streets every night because they don’t want to have to look at you.

      1. But your ranting makes me wonder what the current crop of of drug addicted [people] did in their past lives to deserve their current fate. Karma is certainly not a just a purse for your particular prejudices.

  7. Developers take note. Should SF NIMBYs succeed at killing your housing project, offer to lease the land to the city at $1 a year for a navigation center, then ask HOAs and community groups to choose.

    The reality is we need both, let’s empower the NIMBYs!

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