Neighbor group charges mound in San Rafael baseball dustup
Marin baseball fans shouldn't start planning their summers around the San Rafael Pacifics' home games just yet--the neighborhood group that's been jeering the idea of peanuts, popcorn and Crackerjacks at nearby Albert Park have informed the San Rafael City Council they intend to force an environmental review through the courts.
Centerfield Partners, the group that's trying to bring pro ball to the Gerstle Park-area ballfield, had initially offered to pay for an independent environmental review of their proposal, but after considering costs--and the possibility that it would delay their opening day to the 2013 season--Centerfield scaled back their proposal and put it before the Council without an EIR.
While the original proposal called for a three-year lease and Centerfield's promise to modernize the 60-year-old field, spruce up the bathrooms and add seating for about 800 fans--the revised plan now seeks a single-year lease with only 100 added seats and minor changes such as netting behind home plate and fencing behind the dugouts and limiting the noise after 9pm. Additionally, the team's first year will be overseen by a seven-person citizens advisory committee--made up of neighbors, a business, a P&R commissioner and Centerfield representatives--which would review its findings after the season.
The Council on Oct. 3 approved the proposal unanimously.
But on Nov. 4, attorney Dotty LeMieux, on behalf of the Albert Park Neighborhood Alliance, said via a letter to the council that the group plans to convince the courts that the city "abused its discretion" in exempting the project from environmental review.
Looks like this game may be decided by the umps in the Marin Count Superior Court.
Still, Centerfield is taking an "on with the show" attitude; on Nov. 2 the group unveiled the name of the team--but the fate of the San Rafael Pacifics will likely be decided in extra innings.
Stay tuned for more news as we go forward.