The new Planned Parenthood clinic approved for downtown South San Francisco is not immune to state environmental review and a judge should overturn the City Council’s decision, according to a petition filed by a pro-life group and three residents.
South San Francisco officials gave the public “insufficient and defective” notice of the proposed clinic at 435 Grand Ave. and the environmental review was “non-existent,” according to the Sept. 27 petition filed by Respect Life South San Francisco, Rosa Gomez, Vera Priego and Teresita Valido who are the same pro-life group and residents who unsuccessfully appealed the project’s approval in August.
“The city was really silly in the way they adopted it,” said attorney Greg Weiler who represents the petitioners. “And the city attorney gave the council advice that was clearly wrong, that they don’t even need to analyze things like the First Amendment issues and the impact of protesters.”
Opponents also claim the clinic’s other impacts include noise, traffic, parking and aesthetics but that none were analyzed prior to approval of the three-story, 7,846-square-foot facility.
City Attorney Steve Mattas said the city was served Tuesday and that “the lawsuit doesn’t change the advice previously provided.”
Mattas said the proposed facility did not need further environmental review because it is moving into an existing building rather than requiring new construction.
The City Council vote 3-2 to deny an appeal of the Planning Commission’s previous issuance of a use permit for the clinic. Councilwoman Karyl Matsumoto and Mayor Pedro Gonzalez were in the minority, citing the proposed clinic’s location.
Planned Parenthood looked at several locations but chose Grand Avenue for its accessibility, proximity to public transportation and adequate space for a health center, said spokeswoman Lupe Rodriguez.
Planned Parenthood Mar Monte will not provide surgical abortions at the site but will issue contraceptives and perform sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment.
Rodriguez said it was unfortunate South San Francisco has such a vocal minority group opposed to Planned Parenthood by name alone but that the agency’s focus there is providing primary care. She said they at least know that the city, City Council and Planning Commission are behind Planned Parenthood coming.
Weiler said there is no question his clients are anti-abortion but that the heart of the petition is a shoddy land use decision that used a shortcut to approval.
“We just want to have a fair day before the City Council and eventually if the city adopts [the clinic] and does it properly we’ll be good citizens and protest in front like everywhere else,” Weiler said.
A case management conference is scheduled for Jan. 24.
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