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SAN FRANCISCO-After months of debate on a roughly $600 million plan to develop the Presidio of San Francisco, members of the board that oversees the national park will take their final vote in the next week or two–by fax.

Trust spokesman Ron Sonenshine says the seven members of the Presidio Trust delayed their vote last month to accommodate critics who asked for more time, but it was clear on July 11 that the panel viewed the Final Presidio Trust Management Plan favorably. He said he could not recall a similar vote-by-fax, but many people are not available to meet in the summer and the trust has already held its required two public meetings this year.

Created by Congress in 1996, the Presidio Trust is charged with preserving and enhancing the 1,491-acre former U.S. Army base’s natural, historic and scenic resources while making it financially self-sufficient by 2013. Their plan calls for 100 acres of additional open space and, if the market is there, a hotel at Crissy Field.

During a recent San Francisco Board of Supervisors hearing, however, environmental critics said they remain concerned that Crissy Marsh has shrunk to about 20 acres from its original 37 or so, and current plans also do not call for the Presidio operation to be self-sufficient in sewage treatment. Others charged that a no-tax zone on the property will drain business from nearby city companies. Some urged the city to consider a lawsuit to halt the plan.

Supervisor Gavin Newsom says he is planning to hold a public hearing along with Trust members in late September.

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