Oakland A’s New Ballpark Seeks CEQA Fast Track Law, Will Vivian Kahn Stop Howard Terminal Plan?

The Oakland A’s are still deep in the “exclusive negotiating agreement” period, where two sites for a new baseball stadium, the Oakland Coliseum and Howard Terminal near Jack London Square, are under scrutiny.

UPDATE: Oakland A’s New Ballpark Landed CEQA Fast-Track Legislation From State Of California

To speed up the environmental approval process, Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval teamed up with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and California Assemblyman Rob Bonta to advocate for passage of special legislation. Called AB 734 (Bonta) , the proposed law simply seeks the same California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemptions for construction of new stadiums that other projects in California have received.

As Kristen Kortick of the law firm of Abbott & Kinderman pointed out, The Los Angeles Rams, Sacramento Kings , Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Clippers, all received California Legislature approved exemptions from the full CEQA process for construction of new stadium or arena projects – the Oakland A’s seek the same approval.

What Assembly Bill 734, would allow Oakland A’s to do is seek the completion and certification of an environmental impact report or what’s called a “mitigated negative declaration” that explains how the new stadium causes the least harmful impacts to the environment. Assembly Bill 734 limits appeals of the new Oakland A’s stadium to 270 days from the Oakland A’s filing of the certified environmental impact report to completed court opinion.

Any opposition to the Oakland A’s ballpark would go to appellate review, and not to court under the proposed law. Abbottt & Kinderman explain that the new Oakland A’s stadium approval process calls for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for all new construction and sets out express benchmarks for projects approvals, public comments, and the timeline for judicial review. This is all well and good, but the Oakland A’s have to get around Jack London Square dweller and urban planner Vivian Kahn.

Recently, a flyer was released by a group called “Protect Oakland’s Shoreline Economy.” While the flyer doesn’t point to any one person, speculation by those not familiar with the history of the Oakland A’s New Stadium at Howard Terminal idea, has pointed to names that have not been involved directly in the project – and all men, as if women don’t count. They have obviously never heard of the great Vivian kahn, and yet it was the Oakland urban planner and member of the Board of Directors of The Jack London Improvement District, Ms. Kahn, who gave Mike Ghielmetti and Doug Boxer a hard way to go when they were leading the charge for a ballpark at Howard Terminal. Take my interview with the group back in 2014:

This is how Vivian, who’s a friend of this blogger, is described on the Jack London Improvement District Board Of Directors file:

Vivian Kahn – Business Owner and Property Owner
Vivian Kahn, FAICP, is a 40+ year resident of Oakland who has lived in the Phoenix Lofts at far-western end of the District for more than three years.  She is an Associate Principal with Dyett & Bhatia, city and regional planning consultants, in San Francisco and is also a partner with her husband Larry Mortimer, AIA,  in Kahn / Mortimer/Associates, a planning and architecture consulting firm based in Oakland.  Vivian’s long involvement in Bay Area and Oakland civic activities includes serving on the Boards of the Greenbelt Alliance, Jubilee West, West Oakland Housing Corporation, and Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity and as president of the Metropolitan Greater Oakland Democratic Club.  Vivian, Larry, and their bully dog Hennessy particularly enjoy Jack London’s many great drinking and dining spots including Bocanova, Heinhold’s, The Fat Lady, Urban Legend, Campovida and Venga Paella.

Kahn’s involvement in the future of the A’s at Howard Terminal remains today, as she’s listed by the Jack London Improvement District as “Currently in discussion with (Oakland) As” as of February and was to report back to the group in March of this year.”

Stay tuned.

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