8 Washington Street Development-Initiative, Proposition B (November 2013)
Proposition B and Proposition C
|Voting on Property|
|Not on ballot|
- 1 Text of measure
- 2 Support
- 3 Opposition
- 4 Media endorsements
- 5 Analysis
- 6 Path to ballot
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
- 9 Additional reading
- 10 References
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.
The project approved if Proposition B passes would develop the 8 Washington Street waterfront area, tearing out the fence and parking lot currently in place and adding high-rise condos, restaurants, a playground, sidewalks and other developments.
Proposition C is a referendum attempt by opponents to the 8 Washington Street Development. Those who collected signatures to have Proposition C put on the ballot are hoping electors will vote "no", thus preventing a height limit increasing ordinance approved by the board of supervisors. This height limit increase is essential to the development project proposed by Proposition B.
Text of measure
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?
- See also: Ballotpedia's article on Proposition C
Supporters for Proposition B and C, as well as their arguments, are the same.
Proponents hope for a yes vote on Proposition C, which would reaffirm the city ordinance raising the height limit for buildings along the waterfront. They also hope for a yes vote on Proposition B, which would approve the plan to redevelop the waterfront area.
- Yes on B
- 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
- 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:
- 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.
- See also: Ballotpedia's article on Proposition C
Opponents for Proposition B and C, as well as their arguments, are the same.
Those who disapprove of Proposition B initiated the referendum, Proposition C, calling into question the building height increasing ordinance. They hope that if Proposition B is approved, voters will reject Proposition C, essentially shutting down the project anyway.
- State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano
- Board of Supervisors President David Chiu
- Supervisor John Avalos
- Supervisor David Campos
- Former Mayor Art Agnos
- Former City Attorney Louise Renne
- Former Board of Supervisors President Harry Britt
- Former Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez
- Former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin
- Former Board of Supervisors President Quentin L. Kopp
- Former Supervisor Sophie Maxwell
- Former Supervisor Jake McGoldrick
- Former San Francisco Planning Department Director Allan Jacobs
- Former San Francisco Board of Appeals Chair Kendall Goh
- Matt Haney, Member, San Francisco Board of Education
- Kim-Shree Maufus, Member, San Francisco Board Education
- John Rizzo, President, San Francisco Community College Board of Trustees
- Steve Ngo, Member, San Francisco Community College Board of Trustees
- Chris Jackson, Member, San Francisco Community College Board of Trustees
- Rafael Mandelman, Member, San Francisco Community College Board of Trustees
- Angela Chan, San Francisco Police Commissioner*
- Petra DeJesus, San Francisco Police Commissioner*
- Warren Mar, Vice-President, San Francisco Building Inspection Commission
- Debra Walker, Member, San Francisco Building Inspection Commission
- Eileen Hansen, Former Member, San Francisco Ethics Commission
- Matt Dorsey, Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee
- Kelly Dwyer, Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee
- Hene Kelly, Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee
- Trevor McNeil, Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee
- Carole Migden, Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee
- Leah Pimentel, Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee
- Alix Rosenthal, Member, San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee
- Christopher L. Bowman, Member, San Francisco Republican County Central Committee
- Stephanie Jeong, Member, San Francisco Republican County Central Committee
- Joan Leone, Member, San Francisco Republican County Central Committee
- Dana Walsh, Member, San Francisco Republican County Central Committee
- Mike DeNunzio, Former Member, San Francisco Republican County Central Committee
- Harold M. Hoogasian, Former Member, San Francisco Republican County Central Committee
- Affordable Housing Alliance
- AIDS Housing Alliance SF
- Aquatic Park Neighbors
- Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association
- Bernal Heights Democratic Club
- Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association
- Central City Democrats
- Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods
- District 3 Democratic Club
- District 8 Democratic Club
- District 11 Democratic Club
- Eastern Neighborhoods United Front
- FDR Democratic Club
- Friends of Golden Gateway
- Golden Gateway Commons Homeowners Association
- Golden Gateway Tenants Association
- Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
- Housing Rights Committee
- India Basin Neighborhood Association
- League of Women Voters of San Francisco
- Middle Polk Neighborhood Association
- Midtown Terrace Homeowners Association
- North Mission Neighbors
- Pacific Heights Residents Association
- Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association
- Potrero Hill Democratic Club
- Richmond Community Association
- Richmond District Democratic Club
- Rincon Center Tenants Association
- Rincon Point Neighbors Association
- Russian Hill Improvement Association
- San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth
- San Francisco Bay Guardian
- San Francisco Beautiful
- San Francisco Democratic Party
- San Francisco Examiner
- San Francisco Gray Panthers
- San Francisco Green Party
- San Francisco League of Pissed Off Voters
- San Francisco Tenants Union
- San Francisco Tomorrow
- Senior & Disability Action
- Sierra Club
- South Beach Democratic Club
- Sunset-Parkside Education Action Committee
- Telegraph Hill Dwellers
- Tenants Together
- Twin Peaks Council
- Twin Peaks Open Space Conservancy
- Wendy Aragon, Vice President, Richmond District Democratic Club
- Tommi Avicolli Mecca, Affordable Housing Advocate
- Brian Basinger, AIDS Housing Alliance SF
- Alan Beach-Nelson, President, Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association
- The Right Reverend Otis Charles
- Joni Eisen, President, Potrero Hill Democratic Club
- Mari Eliza, Eastern Neighborhoods United Front (ENUF)
- Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Co-Founder, City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
- Milo Hanke, Past President, San Francisco Beautiful
- Judith Hoyem, Planning Chair, Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association
- Jack Jensen, President, Chronicle Books
- Bruce Keene, President, Russian Hill Improvement Association
- Tony Kelly, President, Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association
- Phyllis Lyon, LGBT Civil Rights Pioneer
- Brian McWilliams, Former SF Port Commissioner & President of the International Workers Longshoremen's Union (ILWU)
- Jane Morrison, Former Women's Chair, California Democratic Party*
- Amy Meyer, Founder, People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area
- Dave Osgood, President, Rincon Center Tenants Association
- Dean Preston, Executive Director, Tenants Together
- Thea Selby, President, Lower Haight Merchant + Neighbor Association
- Gary Weiss, President, Corbett Heights Neighbors
- Calvin Welch, Director, San Francisco Information Clearinghouse
- Howard Wong, Former Board Member, San Francisco Planning & Urban Research (SPUR)
- 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 San Francisco Examiner editorial board argued for a "no" vote on Props. B and C, saying that even if the specific development proposed was a good one, the sweeping changes within the propositions would allow for and create a precedent for an alternative planning process, potentially allowing for developers to bypass the public discussion that is important for preserving and protecting San Francisco. The editorial board urged voters to reject the "ballot-box planning" found in Propositions B and C.
- The San Francisco Chronicle: "A vote for Props. B and C would be an affirmation of a rigorous, inclusive, exhaustive planning process. Vote yes on B and C."
- The San Francisco Examiner: The Examiner released an editorial urging voters to reject Proposition B and Proposition C. They wrote:
- "Prop. B especially goes too far in setting the stage for an alternative planning process that could be used by future projects to bypass too much of the discussion in which the public can take part.
- Props. B and C could approve a housing project that The San Francisco Examiner has supported. But the long-range damage done by the measures’ ballot-box planning is too great of a risk for this city in the long run, wiping out the benefits of this one project.
- We urge a no vote on Propositions B and C."
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.
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:
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.
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.
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. The campaign to collect signatures was lead by Waterfront for All, organized by David Beltran.
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.
- San Francisco Voter Guide for November 5, 2013 election
- Sierra Club website
- Proponent group, Waterfront for All, website
- Waterfront for All facebook page
- San Francisco County department of elections website
- The full text of the ordinance is available in the Voter's Guide pages 78-108
- The SFGate, "Bay-front condo high-rise in S.F. ballot showdown," October 17, 2013
- The SFGate, "Vote yes on S.F. Props. B and C," October 11, 2013
- The San Francisco Bay Guardian, "SF Democratic Party opposes developers’ 8 Washington initiative," August 15, 2013
- The San Francisco Examiner, "San Francisco Democratic Party encourages 'no' votes on 8 Washington propositions," August 16, 2013
- The San Francisco Bay Area, "Proposition B article"
- San Francisco Voter Pamphlet and Sample Ballot for November 5, 2013 election
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Yes on B campaign website
- No Wall On The Waterfront, no on Props B and C campaign website
- Wild Equity, No on B campaign website
- The San Francisco Examiner, "Ballot-box planning is bad for S.F.; vote ‘no’ on Props. B and C," October 17, 2013
- San Francisco Gate, Vote yes on S.F. Props. B and C
- Open Up the Waterfront campaign website