CFAH


San Francisco’s Democratic Party Central Committee has voted 15-4 to endorse the November “No Wall on the Waterfront” ballot measure which is designed to quash the 8 Washington Street development by overturning the partial upzoning of the site to 136 feet in height as was approved and upheld by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.
As we first noted last year, should the upzoning for the 8 Washington Street development be overturned at the ballot box, the project might still be viable at 84 feet, but don’t expect anyone to admit to such prior to the vote.
And should the measure pass, keep an eye out for any unintended, or perhaps intended, consequences with respect to the proposed Warriors Arena upon Pier 30-32.
8 Washington Approval Upheld But Now On Hold Until 2013 Election [SocketSite]
8 Washington Opponents Deliver On Anti-Development Threat [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by sf

    Start tearing down Embarcadero Center, One Market Plaza, and the Ferry Building then.

  2. Posted by futurist

    Exactly. These disgusting, self-absorbed high and mighty Nimby’s have gotten out of control.
    Waste of time and money to put this to a public vote.
    Shame on our city.

  3. Posted by Dan

    I agree fully, futurist.
    San Francisco will be sending every voter 500 pages of documents on this project, so they can decide whether to shorten it by 4 floors. The cost will be $1.7 million, plus value of the time wasted by every voter who bothers to review to tome sent out by the city. The decision made by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors should have been final, but for this abuse of the electoral process.
    I don’t really care whether this building is 8 floors or 12 floors, but I’m voting to support the project as approved by the Board of Supervisors, in hopes of discouraging the wasting of our taxpayer money in this fashion.

  4. Posted by Observer

    8 Washington is a development I support and it is sad to see the number of hoops it is being subjected to. The proposed development on Seawall Lot 330 is another development that is similar is scale, let’s see if the same rules are applied there along with proposed development on Pier 30-32.

  5. Posted by Snark17

    This city is pathetic– rich NIMBYs have way too much power.

  6. Posted by MoneyMan

    It’s not a wall and it’s not on the waterfront. The petition should never been allowed to use that description.

  7. Posted by Can't think of cool name

    Its probably a pretty safe bet that this endorsement will be used as a club for pier 30 & 32/SWL330. I went back and looked at the available renderings for that project.
    Based on the loose definition of “wall” and “waterfront” as called out by @MoneyMan, I would imagine the twin 10 story tower hotel, 17 story condo and retail on SWL330 would have to go, effectively killing the Warriors overall plan for the site.

  8. Posted by Aaron Peskin PWNS You

    Great news! Go Telegraph Hill Dwellers!

  9. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    So the “Democratic Party Central Committee” has decided that, huh? Is that “Democratic” in the same sense as the D in GDR, DPRK and DR Congo? Vote this POS ballot down!

  10. Posted by cbf

    Great, now they’re gonna use this BS to kill the Warriors arena too.

  11. Posted by Unga

    I have always admired the proposed architecture of this building,
    it seems to have a thoughtful teared facade. I do not understand
    why these groups go to such lengths to stop even thoughtful architecture….seems nothing ever satisfies them. Telegraph Hill Dwellers ought to realize that the very homes they dwell, once had an impact too. Pull up the ladder, I’m on board….this smacks of selfishness.

  12. Posted by cbf

    “this smacks of selfishness.”
    It is selfishness. They have their idea of what SF “should” be like, and they also want to hold on to their precious views and tennis clubs (and their increased property values do to constricted supply). And then they use their considerable money and political power (which exists because of that money) to get results that benefit only them. Of course there are plenty of ignorant lemmings who back them up, such as half the people they suckered into signing their misleading petition to block 8 Washington.

  13. Posted by Titan3

    The “Dwellers” are an embarrassment to this city.

  14. Posted by NoeNeighbor

    It is good to see that there is momentum to stop this project. It is really odd that we spend lots of time to develop zoning ordinances but then when a well-connected developer comes along, they just get ignored and the height limits get raised. Conversely, if someone suggests that building to the maximum height may not be appropriate, those concerns are ignored.
    The problem that most people perceive is that while the City will approve new developments and is in the midst of a building boom, it is incapable of providing a transportation infrastructure to support that development. The City works hard to degrade the ability of drivers to use the roads but doesn’t do anything meaningful to upgrade MUNI. The City likes bicycles (because they don’t cost the City anything), but bikes appeal to a very narrow segment of the population and don’t work well for families, the elderly or the disabled.
    So while I am not opposed to development in principle, I see no reason to support development that goes beyond the zoning when the effect of that is just going to be to degrade the quality of life of the existing residents of the City.
    People like to use the term NIMBY (even if they don’t know what it means). But basically what they are saying is that the residents of the City have no right to comment on how the City should be developed and that the only appropriate voice are those of the developers. Fortunately that is not the way democracy works; those who throw about the word NIMBY should really open their minds and listen to the valid concerns of the people of this City.

  15. Posted by anon

    Conversely, if someone suggests that building to the maximum height may not be appropriate, those concerns are ignored.
    Um, please tell me when this has happened? All that I’ve seen is constant lowering of heights from the legal limit (see recent building with the Mexican Museum included, lowered by 40′ for no apparent reason other than someone whined).
    And note – this potential upzoning was approved by the Board of Supervisors – democratically elected representatives of the citizens of SF. They are the “voice” of the citizens.

  16. Posted by futurist

    @ NoeNeighbor. Well, you do launch a certain point of view, for sure. Albeit rather distorted.
    This project is VERY appropriate for that location. Just look at the much taller buildings behind it. Need I say more?
    I think when a project has to ultimately go to ALL the voters to approve or disapprove it, the entire notion of “democratic” governance has gone completely out of control.
    What an utter waste of time and money to HAVE to vote on this very low scale, and carefully designed project.
    I hope the voters, including myself, will overwhelmingly vote YES on this project.

  17. Posted by Oceangoer

    Well well well. This certainly got all your knickers in a twist! I am thrilled it is going to be put to a vote … the city has been taken over by developers and just for once it will be nice for individuals to have a say in what they want, including keeping our views. That is not just something rich people want, it is something the rest of us living in the city want.

  18. Posted by d_b

    The reason for the 500 page 8 Washington document is attributable to the fact that the developer pushed this to make it difficult for the initiative signature gatherers.

  19. Posted by lyqwyd

    Yes, it is truly pathetic that this issue is allowed to go to a vote, and even more pathetic that the SF Democratic party has endorsed this ridiculous abuse of the ballot initiative system.
    NIMBYs have way too much power in this town.
    I do hope the opposition points out the affect this may have on the Warriors stadium, I suspect that alone is enough to send this initiative down in flames.
    Here’s to hoping love of professional sports trumps hatred of developers among the type that might think of voting in favor of this stupid ballot measure.

  20. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Just because there’s going to be a vote doesn’t mean the project isn’t going to happen, and that’s true even if you think this issue should have stopped with the decision made by the Board of Supervisors.
    Simon Snellgrove, the developer, is launching his own signature drive to place a competing measure on the November ballot which if approved by voters will allow the project to go forward and he’s also going to ask the DPCC for an endorsement of his proposition, so what’s sauce for the goose…
    So it looks like we have a pretty interesting circus taking shape here. As Rose Pak says, “Of course everything is political in this town”.
    I’ll have a medium popcorn and a Diet Coke, please.

  21. Posted by Can't think of cool name

    @Oceangoer, weirdly, based on your comments about what “rich people want,” apparently, its the “rich people” on Telegraph Hill that don’t want the development; that’s what they want – from what I read in the blogs.
    As for the vote, my guess is that a majority of voters in the city – I’m guessing more than 90% of the turnout won’t know what exactly this ballot measure is even about, so the team with the best marketing between now and election day will probably win.

  22. Posted by sfresident

    I was approached to sign the petition to get this to a vote outside a Trader Joe’s. The story I was given was one about “kids and the public losing access to a football field so high rise luxury condos get to be built that block the waterfront.”
    Of course I didn’t sign. And the pitch I was given was total BS. Football fields? High rise condos? To “can’t think of a name”‘s point, most voters will have no idea what this is about. And unfortunately it will be marketed as some horrific story of a greedy developer destroying SF waterfront property at the expense of taxpaying residents which might get enough misplaced support to shut it down.
    So in the end SF may get to keep its parking lot, and the poor struggling souls whose view may have been blocked from the real high rise condo building behind this project will get to protect their property value. No high rises by the waterfront indeed, unless of course it’s the one I reside in!
    Keep it classy SF!

  23. Posted by Great

    Great news! Keep up the good work Telegraph Hill Dwellers

  24. Posted by Jordan

    We should start a petition to have all the homes on Telegraph Hill condemned and knocked down so that San Francisco can enjoy an unencumbered view of Coit Tower.

  25. Posted by Keepitup

    No doubt there will be hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on political hit pieces trashing each side. Door hangers, window signs, mailers, u-tube videos and the like.
    My bet the Warriors spend up the wazoo to try and defeat this measure only because if it passes it would give rise to strengthening the opposition against development on piers 30-32.
    Now I could be wrong but in the end it’s only an advisory toothless measure put before the voters anyway. The truth of the matter is the people of the state of California own the underling land. A portion if not all of the the seawall for this development is within 100 foot band of BCDC jurisdiction for development on the bay. And is controlled by state lands doctrine laws administered by BCDC and the State lands commission. Just like that of seawall lot 330 and piers 30-32 which is held in trust by the Port and is not really subject to city zoning controls. The city likes to think it has some discretion over the proposals but the zoning ordinances are advisory in nature only. That’s why the Warriors can build to 135 feet on piers 30-32 if they like. It would take a state ballot measure to really control height and bulk on state land. Think anyone in LA cares?
    Oh and before I forget , how about that David Chui? The guy comes out in full force opposing the “Wall” at 8 Washington (no where near the waterfront) but stands shoulder to shoulder with Phil Ting in supporting the 135 foot “Wall” directly on the waterfront on piers 30-32! Go figure , must be a I hate Rose Pak thing…..because she supports 8 Wash and Ed Lee.
    Only in SF….

  26. Posted by Jlasf

    must applaud the naming/branding of this effort. It’s very clever – and quite misleading. As a marketing effort, it’s very successful.
    “No Wall on the Waterfront” sounds much more ominous than it is. And, without knowing the facts, I would probably support the measure.
    It’s like the name “Million Mom March.” That group doesn’t have many members, but their name makes them sound impressive. “No Wall on the Waterfront” sounds reasonable, but it’s not.
    I would also bet that, even if they lose the vote, the anti-development side will find other obstacles to throw in the way. They are very determined to stop what seems to be a very attractive building.

  27. Posted by Jim

    Among the many ironies of this NIMBY-induced debacle is that the developer proposed, had designed, and wanted to build a conforming 85′ project. David Chiu, prodigy of Aaron Peskin, darling of the Tel Hill Dwellers, called for a 7-week “public planning process”, as though the 7 years it took to develop the Waterfront Land Use Plan was not enough. The new planning process of course took 18 months, and resulted in the Planning Department directing the developer to redesign the project (at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars I am sure) to step up to 135′ in the rear and step down in front…precisely what the developer then did, and the same Tel Hill Dwellers, David Chiu, and Aaron Peskin now oppose. Jeeesh.

  28. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Just a small, tangential point to make. Keepitup wrote:

    …how about that David Chui? The guy comes out in full force opposing the “Wall” at 8 Washington…but stands shoulder to shoulder with Phil Ting in supporting the 135 foot “Wall” directly on the waterfront on piers 30-32! Go figure, must be a I hate Rose Pak thing…because she supports 8 Wash and Ed Lee.

    Well, I’m not going to defend David Chui (or any of incumbent residents of the neighborhood who wish to protect their views).
    But it seems to me that there’s more than a little bit of difference between a project that proposes a sports arena surrounded by improved open space for public access that addresses the the deteriorating piers the city currently has no means to pay for and a project that proposes luxury condos over retail. One could decide to support the former for all sorts of reasons that would not apply to the latter.
    That said, I acknowledge that surface-level swimming and tennis facilities are not the highest best use of land. Neither is a parking lot, in the case of Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330.
    And as an aside, Rose Pak is friends with Simon Snellgrove, the principal developer behind San Francisco Waterfront Partners and has been for a while, so saying she supports the project isn’t saying a whole lot.

  29. Posted by Truth

    Jim’s point at 3:54 pm summarizes this whole snafu nicely. Planning is deeply broken. It is my understanding that the planner attached to 8 Washington suffered a lot of burnout overthis and took a job in another city where he won’t have to deal with the likes of the THD. I mean, I read elsewhere that the THD is now sending preemptive opposition letters based off of initial neighborhood outreach for projects? Without even seeing any details over plans, they are preemptively opposing these days. That’s a joke. A sick joke. And the gaming of canvassers who dint represent the issue properly is despicable. This city is in crisis. Change Planning yesterday.

  30. Posted by Salzigtal

    “No Wall on the Waterfront” aka No Wall Between My Highrise and the Waterfront is almost as rich as “People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation” aka Apartment Building Owners Initiative to Limit Property Taxation.

  31. Posted by Lurkavore

    This whole thing is pitiful. I currently enjoy a great view in a different downtown neighborhood. I’d like to keep it of course, but I could never imagine protesting a project based on that reason alone (nor parking or whatever people love to bring in to it). The fact that it’s going to go to the entire city-most of whom will have no clue on what they’re actually voting as others have mentioned-is shameful and a waste of everyone’s time and money.

  32. Posted by anon

    Let’s say 75% of voters agree with the ballot measure. Are you saying they are all wrong and the will of the people is irrelevant?
    Sorry but you live in a democracy, not a dictatorship. Common sense frequently does not prevail over the tyranny of the majority.

  33. Posted by R

    If those 75% actually know what they’re voting on, as opposed to against a “wall on the waterfront” then no, they’re not irrelevant.
    But most of them won’t know they’re being dupes of the rich folks in the condos concerned about they’re views being blocked.

  34. Posted by Zig

    “Sorry but you live in a democracy, not a dictatorship.”
    We have representatives (BOS) in a representative democracy. This is project is totally inappropriate to bring ballet. It is a corruption of the process by powerful rich people fighting other rich people. Please stop pretending is is anything else. What will benefit San Franciscans is a more transparent process

  35. Posted by OP

    We live in a REPRESENTATIONAL democracy, not a direct democracy. The initiative process – both at the state level and here in SF – gives rise to nonsensical, contradictory, poorly-considered results. See, e.g., Propositions 13 and 8. Voters will always vote in their own selfish interests (more services! lower taxes!) without the balancing of competing interests that is the bailiwick of legislatures or, as here, boards of supervisors. This ‘No Wall on the Waterfront’ bullshit is a distortion of the legislative process.

  36. Posted by Bob

    Glad to see so many people calling a spade a spade.
    I am a member of the anti arena list, and they have been directing their members to comment here to give the appearance of support for the initiative.
    This whole process was democratically started by two rich people in the golden gateway condominiums who would lose their view: Richard and Barbara Stewart
    Google no wall on the waterfront and that name and see what you find.
    [Editor’s Note: As we first reported last year: The Money And Motivation Behind The Anti-8 Washington Measure.]

  37. Posted by sfresident

    The “No wall on the waterfront” website reads like a loony toon conspiracy theory site. It makes 8 Washington look like the prime catalyst for the entire destruction of the city.
    Good grief.

  38. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    On the “No Wall” website their “facts” page lists three items, two of which are not facts at all and the other makes deceptive claims.
    The only “fact” that comes anywhere near objective is the claim that height limits are raised 50 feet over the height of the Embarcadero freeway. While that might be technically correct, that former freeway was significantly closer to the waterfront than the highest planned point of 8 Washington. So while the CA-480 freeway may be 50 feet lower, it is a greater obstacle to viewing the waterfront.
    Neither side of this issue has clean hands but the opposition to this project is providing deceptive facts.

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