Legal Setback for Opponents of Embarcadero Navigation Center

Opponents of the Embarcadero navigation center lost their opening bid to shut down the project.

A Superior Court judge on Monday morning denied the group’s request for a temporary restraining order. But he did agree to set it for a hearing.

It looks to be an uphill fight for residents of the neighborhood who are opposed to the opening of the temporary shelter. The mayor and supervisor of the district both want the navigation center to open.

Residents who oppose the navigation center said it will increase the number of homeless in the area, leading to more drug use, crime and filthy streets.

“It’ll accept the mentally ill, drug users, sex offenders and dogs that animal control has labeled victims,” said Wallace Lee, an Embarcadero neighborhood resident.

Lee points to a video of a woman being attacked as she tried to enter her Embarcadero area apartment building.

In court, a lawyer for the opponents argued against the project. But the judge told the attorney he had already shot himself in the foot by first filing his objections in a Sacramento court.

“It’s sort of an odd move to go to Sacramento to challenge a land-use project in San Francisco,” San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman said.

An attorney for the opponents said the case involves Sacramento because the land along the Embarcadero was state trust land given to the city.

“And the city is proposing to take that away from the city the people of the City of San Francisco, the people of the state of California and turn it into House for a small number of people,” said Peter Prows, attorney for the petitioner.

If it opens, the shelter would operate for a couple of years while the city prepares the way for a permanent use of the property, and the supervisor of District 6 says the navigation center is needed.

“The alternative that we leave these people on the street, we push them from block-to-block — that’s absolutely not a solution,” San Francisco District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney said.

Haney’s district already has one navigation center at 5th and Bryant streets, a little over a mile from the Embarcadero site. Eight of the city’s 11 districts have no homeless shelters.

Mayor London Breed on Monday said she does not support Haney’s request to have at least one in every district.

“And the fact is real estate is really challenging to get ahold of,” Breed said.

The mayor said it’s better to look for every possible place to provide housing for the homeless, rather than making sure every neighborhood has one.

“We have to say yes to new solutions instead of no, I don’t want it in my neighborhood,” Breed said.

The mayor and Haney both say the shelter is going to happen, but not right away. It will be a couple of months before construction is completed for the Embarcadero navigation center.

In the meantime, opponents’ hearing to block the project is set to take place in two weeks.

This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Judge-Denies-Request-for-Temporary-Restraining-Order-Against-Embarcadero-Navigation-Center-559877291.html.

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