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Key vote goes A's way for Oakland ballpark

By Erik Bacharach

In a big win for the A’s hopes of staying in Oakland, the S.F. Conservation & Development Commission on Thursday voted in favor of removing the “port priority use area” designation from Howard Terminal, allowing the A's new ballpark project to move forward at the port site. Twenty-three members of the 27-person committee voted in favor, meeting the two-thirds requirement to re-designate the site, which came during a nearly seven-hour hearing that included public comments from hundreds of stakeholders and community members. In May, the BCDC staff had recommended that its commission move the Howard Terminal ballpark plan forward, suggesting the new designation would not detract from the region’s capability to meet the projected growth in cargo.

“(Thursday’s vote) is very positive momentum for us and Oakland,” A's President Dave Kaval told SBJ. The A’s, whose Howard Terminal proposal includes a $12B waterfront development centered around a $1B ballpark, still need approval from the Oakland City Council on a final development agreement. A date for the council to approve such an agreement hasn’t been set. Kaval emphasized a sense of urgency in having that agreement taken up by city council before the group sees significant turnover later this year; Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, whom Kaval called one of the project’s biggest proponents, is nearing the end of her term.

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