Beach Chalet turf war settled


Little league soccer teams will be getting a new place to play, but birds and furry counterparts will have to look elsewhere.

A joint meeting of San Francisco’s Planning and Recreation and Park commissions approved a controversial plan to install artificial turf and lighting at the Beach Chalet soccer fields this week.

It’s been a four-and-a-half year war between concerned parents and environmental crusaders, with each group pulling out the big guns in an effort to get the committee on their side.

In the end, it was youth soccer players — who often attended meetings in uniform — and their parents who won out over birds and critters.

Youth soccer advocates argued that the current patch of grass was muddy, overrun with gophers, closed far too often and dangerous to play on.

The Commission also believed that the new bright lights would discourage crimes like drug use and prostitution around the dimly lit grassy fields.

Opponents of the plan could now appeal the decision to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. SF Ocean Edge, a group that rallied against the proposal, said on its website that it will consult with a lawyer and decide what to do:

“It is a sad day for Golden Gate Park, when the departments charged with stewardship of our parks decide to destroy our crown jewel.”

Construction of the new fields are planned for the summer or fall of 2013 and will take about 10 months to complete, officials told the SF Appeal.

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