Beach Chalet Fields Renovation Discussed

The commission will take no action Thursday on the project, which is open for written comments until Dec. 12.


The San Francisco Planning Commission is holding a hearing  Thursday on a proposal to renovate the Beach Chalet Athletic Fields on the  western edge of Golden Gate Park.
    The project, which would replace the four current grass fields  with synthetic turf, as well as install field lighting and other new  amenities, has faced opposition from neighbors who say it will hurt the  park's aesthetics and natural resources.
    City officials say changing the fields to artificial turf would  increase the amount of play time by reducing the need for maintenance-related  closures.
    One of the four soccer fields is always out of use to allow for  grass re-growth, and the fields are closed to the public each Monday and  sometimes for months to allow for grass cultivation and general maintenance,  according to the city.
    The installation of lighting would also allow for longer evening  uses of the fields. City officials said the project would increase play time  by more than 200 percent.
    However, opponents of the project, which include the groups SF  Ocean Edge and the Golden Gate Park Preservation Alliance, say it would  potentially cause a loss of dozens of trees and wildlife habitat, decrease  night sky darkness in the area, and infringe on the historic context of the  nearby Beach Chalet and Dutch and Murphy windmills.
    The Planning Commission is holding a hearing Thursday on the  environmental impact report that has been drafted for the project.
        The commission's meeting begins at noon Thursday in Room 400 at  City Hall, but the Beach Chalet hearing won't start until 5 p.m.
    If the project is eventually approved, construction would begin in  the summer or fall 2013 and last about 10 months, according to the city.

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