New SF Housing Project Forcing Yerba Buena Island Tenants to Move - NBC Bay Area
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New SF Housing Project Forcing Yerba Buena Island Tenants to Move

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    Tenants living on San Francisco's Yerba Buena Island are being forced to move out after the city approved a plan with a private developer to replace aging Navy buildings in the area with luxury condos. Michelle Roberts reports. (Published Thursday, July 23, 2015)

    Tenants living on San Francisco's Yerba Buena Island are being forced to move out after the city approved a plan with a private developer to replace aging Navy buildings in the area with luxury condos.

    For dozens of families, that means leaving San Francisco or move to Treasure Island, where their lease will be honored. Residents took to the steps of San Francisco City Hall and called for more affordable and safe housing.

    "We're middle class, working class neighborhood," said Geoff Rayner, who wants to continue raising his four kids on the historic Yerba Buena Island. "We really love our community."

    Yerba Buena Island residents have until September to either accept a cash offer from the city or move down the hill to an apartment on Treasure Island.

    Officials said there are 40 occupied apartment units on Yerba Buena Island. The apartments are part of the old Navy quarters, which are due to be torn down this fall.

    The tear down of the buildings are part of the first phase of a 20-year, $5 billion plan San Francisco made with Lennar Constitution to build 8,000 apartment on Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island. The project also includes adding ferry service to the city.

    In addition, other amenities like a hotel with sprawling views of the Bay are in the plan.

    "I think you lose the diversity," Rayner said, adding his family is not excited about what is being offered.

    The apartment units they could move into on Treasure Island are substantially smaller and steps away from Navy-owned land where contractors have previously found elevated radiation levels.

    The Navy admits contaminates like arsenic and dioxins have been found near the housing area.

    The Navy is responsible for cleaning up the hazardous site, which on Thursday appeared to involve testing for toxins in the area.

    The lease agreement for Treasure Island properties states tenants shall not disturb the soil near their unit or plant anything.

    City leaders said the Department of Public Health deemed Treasure Island safe.

    Rayner said that is a promise he would like to believe.

    "We love SF," he said. "We really want to be part of it."

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