After three years of debate and multiple lawsuits, the city of Sausalito has approved a plan to renovate the downtown ferry dock. On October 14 the city council unanimously approved a renovations plan that would repair a 50-year-old dock to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The changes also would enable people to board more quickly, increasing the amount of boats that could dock every hour.
Initially, the plan was rejected by the city council and many residents. Keith Karpinski, a Sausalito resident who attends every town hall meeting, is one of those opposed. “I have lived in this town for 30 years and have seen it change from a quaint hippy town to a tourist trap,” Karpinski said. “[The] new dock will only encourage more tourists to visit and ruin the once small-town vibe.” Opponents of the project also cite the approximately $12 million, cost of the project. 80 percent of which will come from federal funds with the rest paid for by the county.
Golden Gate Transit continued to work on the project without the city or residents’ approval until construction was halted due to a lawsuit. “We received approvals from many regulatory agencies and because it wasn’t a new project we thought that we did not need the city’s permission,” said Golden Gate Transportation Public Affairs Director Priya Clemens said. “We started construction without approval and in September  the city sued us for violating our lease that was signed because we were undergoing ‘major alterations.’”
The court ruled that Golden Gate Transit had to obtain the city’s permission in order to continue repairs on the dock. The city and Golden Gate Transit then compromised by shrinking the dock four feet and not allowing boats to dock overnight.
Construction on the dock will start as soon as 2019 and will not affect any ferry travel while under construction according to Clemens.