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City accuses construction companies of pollution, zoning law violations near Candlestick Point

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu announced Thursday his office has sent cease and desist letters to four construction companies for allegedly violating zoning laws and causing dust pollution near the city’s Candlestick Point area.

According to Chiu’s office, the letters have been sent to Murphy Properties Inc.; Bauman Redi-Mix Concrete; M Squared Construction; and Precision Engineering.

All four companies have allegedly contributed to “concerning levels of dust and noise” generated via unauthorized industrial activities in the area, affecting residents in the nearby Bayview and Hunters Point neighborhoods, Chiu’s office said.

Residents began complaining of excessive dust in the area starting in January 2021 due to concrete and construction companies reportedly operating at three nearby project sites, including 955 Egbert Ave., 895 Fitzgerald Ave., and 700 Gilman Ave.

The properties are owned by Murphy Properties, Inc., and the company rents space to Bauman Redi-Mix Concrete; M Squared Construction; and Precision Engineering; which use the spaces for industrial purposes like mixing concrete and asphalt, transporting soil, and storing materials. Furthermore, as many as 40 trucks travel to and from the sites daily, creating additional dust and noise, Chiu’s office alleged.

Because the area is within the Candlestick Mixed Use Residential District and is subject to the zoning regulations of the Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan, industrial uses there are not permitted. The district is zoned for residential and light commercial uses, including small offices, childcare facilities, and neighborhood retail.

“Creating this level of pollution in a residential neighborhood not only endangers public health but is illegal under our city’s zoning laws,” Chiu said in a statement. “These conditions would not be tolerated in any other neighborhood, and we cannot tolerate them in the Bayview.”

The cease and desist letters were jointly developed with city’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, formerly known as the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency.

According to Board of Supervisors president Shamann Walton, whose district includes Candlestick Point, Bayview, and Hunters Point, complaints from residents led to an investigation by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Walton said, “We met with the community, OCII and BAAQMD last week. It was clear to me these companies were operating illegally and I have been working with the city attorney, community and OCII to shut down this activity. The community has been the leading force behind this most imperative action. We may even have to take further steps to deal with these irresponsible companies.”

Chiu has ordered the companies to wrap up their operations by next week and on Tuesday morning, Chiu and officials with OCII plan to inspect the sites to ensure compliance.

Bauman Redi-Mix Concrete CEO Mike Bauman said he was surprised to receive the cease and desist letter, as his company hadn’t received any formal complaints in the past.

“All of our equipment is tier four, state-of-the-art construction equipment. We have never been cited for dust, pollution, or any other particular violation. As far as we know, and as informed by our landlord, the property is zone M-1 industrial, and our lease is based on that zoning,” he said. “There are numerous other construction companies operating in the area. I’d expect the city to perform a proper investigation before accusing Bauman.”