State: Google's Mystery Barge Must Move

Google will have to relocate its so-called “mystery” barge from an island construction site in the middle of the San Francisco Bay because the permits are not in order, a state official said.

The notice came Monday, after the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission investigated after numerous complaints about the construction of the floating, four-story building, commission executive director Larry Goldzband said.

Reuters reported back in December that a formal investigation was under way to look into whether Google had proper permits needed to build its barges.

The investigation found that neither the Treasure Island Development Authority nor the city of San Francisco had applied for required permits for the work to be done at the site.

Google can resolve the issue by moving the barge to one of the fully permitted construction facilities in the San Francisco Bay, Goldzband said.

“It needs to move,'' he said.

In a statement emailed to NBC Bay Area on Monday afternoon, a Google spokesperson said the company is still reviewing the letter it “just received” from the commission.

An enormous flood of publicity accompanied the large barge's appearance in San Francisco Bay earlier in the fall -- as well as wild rumors guessing to its purpose. Preliminary planning documents submitted to the port last fall showed plans for Google to build an interactive space for people to learn about technology.

The documents ended months of speculation that the barge would be a party boat, data storage center or a store for Google to sell its Internet-connected glasses.

Google has not made public statements about the barge or another vessel off the East Coast.

Goldzband said the construction in San Francisco Bay was not authorized by the agency, and the Treasure Island Development Authority, which allowed the project, could face fines and enforcement proceedings.

The disclosure by the California agency marked the second set of permit problems for the barge project. Late last year, work was halted after the Coast Guard said additional permits were needed. At the time, the Coast Guard said it is standard practice to inspect new construction to ensure safety, security and environmental protection.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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