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SAUSALITO, CA-The Bay Area Discovery Museum has released results of a poll showing that while Sausalito city officials may be against plans to develop Fort Baker and expand the museum on the property, a majority of Sausalito residents take a different stance.

Last year, the museum halted an $18 million enhancement project after Sausalito officials filed a federal lawsuit against the National Park Service to stop the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s Fort Baker Plan, a $60 million project that would transform the historic and nearly abandoned military base into a business conference center and leisure destination. Park officials are under pressure to bring in revenue and make the site self-sufficient.

The lawsuit was filed because some in nearby Sausalito feared thousands of motorists driving through their quaint city streets on the way to the proposed 350-room hotel and 25,000-square-foot conference facility at Fort Baker, which lies just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The plaintiffs alleged that the agency’s planning process violated various federal statues protecting the environment.

But the pending litigation against the Park Service also made it unfeasible for the center on the east side of the bay-front property to go forward with its own expansion plans, originally scheduled to be completed by spring 2003.

Museum officials asked the city to exclude it from the lawsuit so they could go ahead and build new classrooms, a performance theater and an outdoor nature exploration center, but one year later, discussions are still at a standstill.

This week, the Bay Area Discovery Museum released the results of a survey of 500 Sausalito residents showing that while more than three-fourths of respondents have a favorable attitude toward the museum, fewer than half were aware that the city’s lawsuit affects its expansion.

The survey shows that Sausalito residents are divided over the lawsuit stopping development at Fort Baker, with 52% in support of the legal action and 40% opposed.

And when given three options, according to the survey, only 26% of respondents said the city should continue on the same path while 68% said that either the museum should be excluded from the litigation or the suit should be dropped entirely.

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