December 25, 2014

San Francisco voters soundly reject B and C–say no to waterfront highrises

Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos calls this “the most beautiful spot on the waterfront”. Should this land be used for the Warriors’ sports arena or for better public access to the shoreline? Photo courtesy San Francisco Waterfront Alliance.

Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos calls this “the most beautiful spot on the waterfront”. Should this land be used for the Warriors’ sports arena or for better public access to the shoreline? Photo courtesy San Francisco Waterfront Alliance.

On Nov. 5 San Francisco voters soundly rejected Measures B and C, rejecting height exemptions for 8 Washington–and sending a message to City Hall that they don’t want a wall of highrises on the waterfront.

The next potential waterfront battle is the Warriors’ proposal for a waterfront arena, 17-story condo tower, and luxury hotel (see June-July Yodeler, front page). The Sierra Club, San Francisco Waterfront Alliance, and San Francisco Tomorrow are calling on city leaders and Warriors owners to abandon this plan.

“The voters of San Francisco have sent a strong message that our waterfront should not be for sale to the highest bidder,” said Becky Evans, chair of the Sierra Club San Francisco Group. “Mayor Lee and the Board of Supervisors should pay attention to the defeat of Props B and C when making decisions about the proposed Warriors development projects, which pose a very serious threat to the delicate environment of our Bay.”

“San Francisco voters just put an emphatic stop to turning public land into a new wall of high-rise condos for billionaires,” said former Mayor Art Agnos, a leader in the campaign against B and C. “Multimillion-dollar campaigns can’t convince San Franciscans to do what isn’t in our city’s best interest, whether it is a claim that $5 million condos on public land actually mean affordable housing for the middle class and working people of our city, or whether it is dressed up as a basketball-arena real-estate deal on public piers in our Bay waters.”

More than 62% ov San Francisco voters voted ‘no’ on Measure B, and 66% voted ‘no’ on C. The measures would have allowed construction of 136-foot high luxury-condo buildings at 8 Washington and would have raised the waterfront height limit there from 84 feet to 136 feet, a 62% increase. (“No on B and C in SF” [October-November Yodeler, front page] incorrectly stated that Measure B would raise height limits along the whole northern waterfront. We meant to say that Measure B would raise height limits just at 8 Washington, but would set a bad precedent and open the door for other developers to ask for more height increases along the whole northern waterfront.)

“The Warriors’ ‘pavilion’ proposal for Piers 30 – 32 is 40 feet higher and five times larger than 8 Washington. You could fit almost four 8 Washington condo buildings into the arena alone,” said Gayle Cahill, president of the San Francisco Waterfront Alliance. “That gives voters five times more reason to reject this proposal.”

As currently proposed, the Golden State Warriors’ development would include a 12-story-high basketball and entertainment complex, a 175-foot-high luxury-condo tower and hotel, a 500-space private parking garage, and a 90,000-square-foot shopping mall of retail and restaurants. Most of it would be built not just by our waterfront–but over our Bay! The project also calls for $120 million in San Francisco public funds, and there is no plan to address public transit, vehicle traffic, and congestion.

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