Proposed S.F. arena at Piers 30-32.

LEGISLATURE//WARRIORS | Supporters of a bill that could hasten regulatory approval for a San Francisco arena on the water proposed by the Golden State Warriors say the legislation merely gives power back to the Bay Area.

Assemblymember Phil Ting’s bill, passed the State Senate late Friday and heads to the governor’s desk for consideration, but not before the East Bay’s delegation again attempted to thwart the bill’s efforts.

Ting’s bill originally made a more clear end around existing local conservation and state tideland’s trust rules, but was gutted through the legislative process. The impetus for the bill is a proposed $1 billion arena at the aging Piers 30-32. The arena would sit on the water at rebuilt piers potentially costing between $120 million-$150 to construct. Proponents say the current bill is not about the arena proposal but allowing the state tidelands commission and Bay Conservation Development Commission determine whether the proposed use constitutes enhancement of the public trust.

“If [the bill] reiterates the existing process,” argued East Bay State Sen. Loni Hancock, “why do we have a 26-page bill to do it?” During a senate floor speech Friday, Hancock said legislation passed generations ago halted excessive development and kept the bay from becoming a “trickling stream.” She later cited a passage in the bill that vaguely references a proposed waterfront arena theoretically meeting the requirements for use under the public trust. “That’s a runaround of the system,” Hancock said.

The State Legislature risks becoming a de facto zoning commission for big-time developers, Hancock said. “If we go around local and regional concerns with our waterways, we will end up turning the State Legislature into the zoning board for the state of California. Why would a developer go local if they can get a trust determination here?”

State Sen. Joel Anderson, a Republican from San Diego, added, “Nobody should get cuts in line,” while referencing the controversial regulatory exemption previously given to backers of a proposed NFL stadium in Los Angeles.

East Bay State Sens. Ellen Corbett and Mark De Saulnier voted no along with Hancock. The stern opposition to Ting’s bill, seen as poaching jobs from the East Bay to San Francisco, followed similar rhetoric in the State Assembly two months ago. East Bay Assemblymembers Nancy Skinner, Rob Bonta and Bill Quirk voted against the bill, as did several Tri Valley representatives.

Despite the bill’s passage to the governor’s office, a concrete proposal for the San Francisco arena has not been revealed, although preliminary cost overruns have already been reported. Meanwhile, public officials in Oakland and Alameda County have maintained a hands-off approach to the potential move of the Warriors, noting the maze of regulations and vociferous community groups in San Francisco already present the team and city with significant hurdles. The Warriors hope to move to San Francisco by 2017.

Watch the State Senate floor discussion on AB 1273:<!–