Waterfront height limit measure earns convincing victory 

click to enlarge Proposition B advocates touted Tuesday’s victory as a win for preservation of - The City’s historic waterfront. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/the S.F. Examiner
  • Proposition B advocates touted Tuesday’s victory as a win for preservation of The City’s historic waterfront.

San Francisco voters have made up their minds when it comes to development heights along much of The City's eastern waterfront: Any proposal above current height limits should go to the voters.

That message was loud and clear after Tuesday's election. Proposition B, which will give voters a say when it comes to heights along the shore, won with roughly 59 percent of votes cast, raking in 53,636 votes in all, according to preliminary results with 100 percent of precincts reporting. The measure received 36,626 votes in opposition.

The proposition asked the public to determine through the ballot box whether projects on Port land that exceed height limits, generally ranging from 40 to 105 feet, should go before voters.

Proponents -- among them former Mayor Art Agnos as well as some unions and others -- argued that The City's planning process has been hijacked by political appointees and deep-pocketed developers. They said the only way to save The City's showcase waterfront from developers who might try to build above height limits was by putting such decisions into the hands of voters.

"The bigger fight is who gets to decide what San Francisco looks like," said Jon Golinger, one of the leaders of Yes on B.

Opponents, from the building trades to the Chamber of Commerce to the local Democratic Party, said Prop. B would only further politicize land-use decisions and run roughshod over an already open planning process.

Jim Lazarus, the Chamber of Commerce's representative on the No on Prop. B campaign, sees things in a similar light.

"What Prop. B is gonna give us is more politics, not less. It's gonna create more leverage for a handful of people to dictate outcomes," he said prior to election day. "It's a continued political power play, that's all it is."

The ballot measure effort came on the heels of voters soundly defeating in November the 8 Washington St. luxury condo waterfront development, which the Board of Supervisors had approved.

The measure, which applies to the entire waterfront, would most immediately proposed projects such as the San Francisco Giants' future development plans near AT&T Park in South Beach. A former proposal by the Warriors to construct a new arena just south of the Bay Bridge would have been impacted by the measure, but the Warriors dropped the plan for a new site in Mission Bay.

Opponents of the Warriors' waterfront arena plan at Piers 30-32 took the news of the move to Mission Bay as vindication of their fight against huge waterfront development projects.

About The Author

Jonah Owen Lamb

Jonah Owen Lamb

Born and raised on a houseboat in Sausalito, Lamb has written for newspapers in New York City, Utah and the San Joaquin Valley. He was most recently an editor at the San Luis Obispo Tribune for nearly three years. He has written for The S.F. Examiner since 2013 and covers criminal justice and planning.
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