Thanks to the ongoing support of CAG and the world golf community, and to the grit of San Francisco public golfers, Sharp Park has once again emerged from the breach of San Francisco politics.
The SF Supervisors on Tuesday, Feb. 28 approved the Final Environmental Impact Report for the SF Rec & Park Department’s Sharp Park Restoration Plan, to maintain the 18-hole Sharp Park Golf Course, with minor modification along the edge of the course’s wetlands to improve habitat for protected frog and snake species.
The Supervisors’ approval came on a 9-1 vote after environmentalist groups – including the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Bay Chapter, Surfrider Foundation, a couple of local Audubon Society chapters, and a Center for Biological Diversity offshoot, Wild Equity Institute, dramatically withdrew their Appeal from December, 2015 decisions by the San Francisco Planning and Rec & Park Commissions to Certify and Adopt a Final Environmental Impact Report for San Francisco’s Natural Areas Plan, which includes a Sharp Park Restoration Plan.
In consideration for the dismissed Appeal, the Rec & Park Department agreed that the Sharp Park Plan would not include using dredging spoils – or any other materials – to raise the levels of Sharp Park’ fairways. The Sharp Park Plan was supported by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance.
Golfers delivered nearly 1000 mostly hand-signed letters to the Supervisors in the weeks leading up to the hearing. Fifty golfers – of all ages, genders, colors, persuasions and incomes – were on hand Feb. 28, ready to speak against the Appeal. Most of them happily went home, without testifying, when the withdrawal-of-Appeal was announced. The groups that withdrew their Appeal will not now be able to challenge the Final EIR or the Sharp Park Project in court. (Although, in the complex world of SF politics, another group that challenged the Natural Areas Plan – the SF Forestry Alliance – will if they choose be able to challenge the Supervisors’ action in court within 30-35 days of the publishing of a Notice of Decision. Publication of such a Notice will be delayed, pending approval by the Rec & Park Commission of a written agreement confirming the settlement terms for the withdrawal of Appeal. The Commission’s action is not expected before mid-March, so the deadline for possible appeal by the Forest Alliance will be extended a few weeks.)
There will be more rounds of golf, politics, and environment at Sharp Park. But for now, the next thing on the agenda for the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance is our annual Alister MacKenzie Tournament to Save Sharp Park, an all-day event set for Saturday, June 3 at the beautiful Sharp Park Golf Course. Please consider attending and/or making a donation that helps support Sharp Park and the future of affordable public golf. For more information contact Richard Harris, Bo Links, Co-Founders of the Public Golf Alliance, at (415) 290-5718.