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SF Supervisors Reschedule America's Cup Vote

 
Board will weigh in on the downsized plans in four weeks

A vote by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on an agreement for the America's Cup sailing race in 2013 will take place a month from now after city officials announced Monday that plans for the regatta have been scaled back.

The board had been set to vote today on the agreement for the event until Mayor Ed Lee announced Monday a dramatic downsizing of the project.

Piers 30-32, a site just south of the Bay Bridge previously planned as the home base for the teams participating in the regatta, will no longer be the home base for the teams participating in the regatta, Lee announced Monday at a news conference with race organizers.

The dilapidated piers had been an important part of the agreement between the city and race organizers, who are rebuilding various pieces of waterfront property in exchange for long-term real estate development rights.

Team operations will now be based at Pier 80 in the city's Dogpatch neighborhood.

In light of the changes, supervisors this afternoon voted to reschedule the hearing on the item to March 27.

The board initially rescheduled the hearing to March 20, but later rescinded their vote after realizing there is no board meeting scheduled that day.

Before the decision to reschedule the vote, one member of the board expressed disappointment about the project being scaled back.

Lee had said at Monday's news conference that he hoped the change would allow the city to focus again on the benefits of the race instead of the prolonged negotiations and a lawsuit filed last Friday by a group appealing the environmental impact report for the project.

But Supervisor Mark Farrell said he disagreed.

"I don't think this is a victory for the city," Farrell said.

Farrell said hundreds of building trades jobs are now lost as a result of the change, which he blamed partially on his colleagues with the city for how they negotiated with race organizers.

"We need to view private investors as allies and partners ... and take responsibility not to drive them away," he said.

Farrell called for a hearing on the long-term future of Piers 30-32 now that the site will not be renovated as part of the agreement for the race.

The plans for the event, which include preliminary races this August and will culminate with the America's Cup Finals in September 2013, still include a racing village at Piers 27-29 that will later be converted into a cruise ship terminal.

City officials estimate the races will bring in more than $1 billion to the city and create thousands of jobs, although they acknowledged those estimates are being reduced after Monday's announcement.

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