8 Washington Street Development-Initiative, Proposition B (November 2013)

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A 8 Washington Street Development-Initiative, Proposition B ballot questions is on the November 5, 2013, election ballot for voters in the city of San Francisco in San Francisco, which is in California.

Both Proposition B and Proposition C concern development on the 8 Washington Street Site. If both measures pass and there is found conflicting portions of Proposition B and C then the proposition which receives less "yes" votes would be disregarded in part or in whole.[1]

Text of measure

Proposition B

The question on the ballot:

Proposition B:

Shall the City allow a development project at the 8 Washington Street Site that would include new housing, retail and recreational facilities, and open space, and would increase the legal building height limits on a portion of the Site?[1][2]




  • Conservation and Development Commission
  • San Francisco Housing Action Coalition
  • San Francisco Firefighters
  • San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
  • San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council
  • Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth
  • Waterfront for All
  • Bay Cities Metal Trades Council
  • A New San Francisco Majority
  • Laborers International Union 261


  • Mayor Ed Lee
  • Former Mayor Gavin Newsom
  • Supervisor Mark Farrell
  • Supervisor Scott Wiener
  • Supervisor Katy Tang
  • Will Travis, former Executive Director of the Bay
  • Mark Buell, Parks Commission President
  • Rodney Fong, Planning Commission President and Fong Real Estate
  • Isabel Wade, founder of Neighborhood Parks Council
  • Alec Bash, Retired City Planner and Grassroots Activist
  • Tim Colen, Housing Advocate and Executive Director of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition
  • Michael Theriault, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council
  • Mark Buell, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Commission President
  • Allan Low, Recreation and Parks Commission Vice President
  • Thomas P. Harrison, Recreation and Parks Commissioner
  • Jim Lazarus, Former Recreation and Parks Commissioner
  • Mike Sullivan, Former Recreation and Parks Commissioner
  • Ellen Joslin Johnck, Former Executive Director of Bay Planning Coalition and SF Historic Preservation Commissioner

Arguments in favor

Proponents of Propositions B and C argue that the development plan authorized by the proposals:[1]

  • includes improvement of the property in question with added accessibility, parks, playgrounds, widened sidewalks, open views, affordable housing, and up to 250 temporary new jobs and 140 permanent new jobs, with $100 million injected into San Francisco's economy.
  • is part of a larger plan for the revitalization of the waterfront, produced over seven years by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the San Francisco Planning Commission, the Port Commission and the State Lands Commission through planning and over a hundred meetings.
  • will remove the current eyesore of asphalt parking lots and massive chain link fences.




  • Board of Supervisors President David Chiu
  • Former Mayor Art Agnos
  • Former City Attorney Louise Renne
  • Allan Jacobs, Former Director of the San Francisco Planning Department
  • Art Agnos, Former Mayor of San Francisco
  • Louise Renne, Former San Francisco City Attorney
  • Joni Eisen, President, Potrero Hill Democratic Club*
  • Alix Rosenthal, Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee
  • Hene Kelly, Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee
  • Matt Dorsey, Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee
  • Petra DeJesus, Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee
  • Current and Former Members of the San Francisco Republican County Central Committee
  • Bill Hannan, president Golden Gateway Tenants Association


  • Sierra Club
  • San Francisco Tomorrow
  • Affordable Housing Alliance
  • AIDS Housing Alliance/SF
  • San Francisco Tenants Union
  • Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
  • Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods
  • Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association
  • Friends of the Waterfront Playground
  • North Mission Neighbors
  • Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association
  • Richmond Community Association
  • Rincon Point Neighbors Association
  • Russian Hill Improvement Association
  • Twin Peaks Open Space Conservancy
  • San Francisco Democratic Party
  • Affordable Housing Alliance
  • Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, representing 48 neighborhood organizations from across San Francisco
  • Golden Gate Park Preservation Alliance
  • Friends of the Waterfront Playground
  • SF Green Party
  • Central City Democrats
  • District 3 Democratic Club
  • District 8 Democratic Club
  • Richmond District Democratic Club
  • South Beach Democratic Club

Arguments against

Opponents to Propositions B and C argue that the proposed plan for the waterfront development is harmful in the following ways:

  • It provides opportunities, through raising the waterfront height limits, for big businesses to build massive buildings blocking off the waterfront instead of revitalizing it.
  • Its campaign is deceptive because it does not even mention the raising of these height limits but focuses instead on a park and increased jobs.
  • It proposes a play ground that is only a campaign trick as it is, in fact, smaller than a tennis court.
  • It touts "affordable housing" but intends to build condos costing an average of $5 million each, with no actual affordable housing in the plans.
  • It will include a lot of private space with gated and "member only" areas and not the public recreation promised by the Yes on B campaign.
  • It could cause huge sewage spills from broken sewage lines.
  • By introducing very expensive condos, it will increase housing costs for the entire area
  • Two thirds of the "park areas" created by the development will be private, not public.
  • The high density it proposes is out of place and scale with the neighborhoods of San Francisco.
  • The proposal would undo the work done to remove the Embarcadero Freeway, which was done to increase open space. The proposed building height increase would allow buildings that would be twice the height of the old Embarcadero Freeway.


The voter pamphlet provides the following analysis and summary for Proposition B:

The way it is now

The site proposed for development as 8 Washington Street is 3.2 acres bounded by the Embarcadero, Washington Street and Drumm Street (the Site). Approximately 80% of the Site is owned by Golden Gateway Center and used as walkways and a privately operated tennis and swim facility. The remaining 20% is a public parking lot under the jurisdiction of the City and County of San Francisco’s Port Commission.

In 2012 the Board of Supervisors (the Board) approved a development project for the Site involving construction of two mixed-use buildings containing 134 residential units, ground floor restaurants and retail, a privately operated fitness and swim facility, a public park and open spaces, and underground public and private parking.

In approving the development project, the Board also adopted an Ordinance to increase the legal building height limits on a portion of the project. Then a referendum (Proposition C) qualified for the ballot requiring that the Ordinance be submitted to the voters. Later, this initiative (Proposition B) dealing with the same Site qualified for the ballot.[1][2]

The Proposal

Proposition B would create a special use district known as the 8 Washington Parks, Public Access and Housing District. The district would require the 8 Washington Street Site project to include:

  • two buildings housing a total of between 121 and 141 residential units;
  • an increase in the legal building height limits on an approximately half-acre portion (16% of the Site) along Drumm Street from 84 feet to 92 feet in one section and from 84 feet to 136 feet in another;
  • a privately operated fitness and swim facility, with a two-story height limit;
  • a height limit of 6 stories for the residential building along the Embarcadero;
  • payment by the developer to the affordable housing fund of the City and County of San Francisco as required by law;
  • a public park, open space, walkways and sidewalks on at least 20% of the Site;
  • new and expanded pedestrian access to the waterfront and enhanced bicycle and pedestrian safety;
  • ground floor retail and cafés;
  • underground private and public automobile and bicycle parking; and
  • increased revenue for the Port and the City.

A “YES” Vote Means: If you vote “yes,” you want to approve the 8 Washington Street Site development project, which includes new housing, retail and recreational facilities and open space. It would also increase the building height limits on a portion of the Site.

A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote “no,” you do not want to approve the 8 Washington Street Site development project.[1][2]

Controller's Statement

City Controller Ben Rosenfield wrote the following about Proposition B:

Should the proposed ordinance be approved by the voters and the proposed project at 8 Washington Street be built as currently approved, in my opinion, it would result in near-term tax revenues of approximately $4 million which can be used by the City for any public purpose, approximately $11 million in fee payments to fund affordable housing and approximately $4.8 million in fee payments to fund transit improvements. The Port of San Francisco would receive approximately $3 million in near-term revenues from the sale of a seawall lot for the project, as well as a percentage of property sales. In addition, the developer would construct a public park and improve public utilities and infrastructure.

The ordinance provides for the establishment of a special use district on a 3.2-acre site on the northern waterfront and other approvals required for construction of the development referred to as 8 Washington Street. As noted above, the financial terms benefitting the City and the Port in the proposed project include an affordable housing fund contribution, transit impact development fees, and a percentage of property sales to be paid directly to the Port.

Estimated future revenues that would be generated by the project would vary depending on market conditions and other factors, but certainly the assessed value of the area would increase and result in significant additional property tax and sales tax revenues to the City and the Port. Over the long-term life (sixty-six years) of the project, tax revenues, added property value and park and open space improvements accruing to the City and the Port are projected at more than $350 million, valued at approximately $82 million in today’s dollars.

The above amounts do not include potential operating and infrastructure costs for other City departments. This statement does not address the potential impacts of the project on businesses, private property or the local economy.[1][2]

Path to ballot

On July 12, 2013, the Department of Elections certified that the initiative petition calling for Proposition B to be placed on the ballot had a sufficient number of valid signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. 9,702 signatures were required to place an initiative ordinance on the ballot. This number is equal to 5% of the total number of people who voted for Mayor in 2011. A random check of the signatures submitted by the proponents of the initiative petition prior to the July 8, 2013, submission deadline showed that the total number of valid signatures was greater than the number required.

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 San Francisco Voter Pamphlet and Sample Ballot for November 5, 2013 election
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  3. Yes on B campaign website