A preemptive legal challenge of Proposition B which had sought to keep the Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote Act off the June ballot has fallen short.
While rejecting the effort to remove the measure from the ballot, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Marla Miller did not rule on the underlying legal merits of the challenge – that state lands that are held in trust for all the people of the state and not subject to local ballot initiatives – leaving the door open for a “full, unhurried briefing” and attempt to invalidate the measure post-election if it’s adopted by local voters.

36 thoughts on “Preemptive Challenge Of Waterfront Height Limit Measure Falls Short”
  1. You have to love the thinking of many posters on this site who have stated unequivocally San Francisco wants the Warriors stadium in the Bay on Piers 30-32, but giving the voters a chance to confirm their agreement is much too democratic.
    Even is Proposition B was ruled illegal, there will be others like it to scuttle the deal.
    The Warriors need to be thinking about the vacant land south of AT&T park. Even Google was forced to move their barge off the Bay, and they went to Stockton.

  2. What a shame – San Francisco has the opportunity for an iconic, world-class waterfront arena, something that would rival Sydney’s Opera House – and it’s being shouted down by a vocal minority who would prefer to see San Francisco preserved in amber.

  3. The people pushing this ballot measure will ultimately fail, even if the measure succeeds at the ballot.
    They will fail because their goal is an unchanging San Francisco, and while they may have sway now, long term market forces will prevail.
    These people want San Francisco as a theme park/gated community where nothing ever changes, and everything is legislated.

  4. Jackson,
    Your location of choice is also part of the Port land. It will have the exact same restrictions as the pier. That is why the Giants lawyer was part of the team to file the suit.

  5. i agree word for word with Fishum and think the Warriors stadium will prevail. probably delayed but will prevail. Those who want to keep SF encased in stone are a minority. They are more mobilized because they are angry and frustrated, but people who are anti-progress always fail at one point. The Warriors stadium is clearly good for San Francisco and this is a great place for it. if the design was not so beautiful and that beautiful park not part of the deal, i might understand. But this is the worst kind of NIMBYism.

  6. Dave, I made no distinction either way about the proposed Warrior’s stadium being Port land.
    Building a stadium in the Bay upsets many San Franciscans and will involve the “San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission” while building on land will not.
    Even Google with their billions had to succumb to the BCDC; and then there is always the question of those pesky San Francisco voters at the ballot box.
    The Warriors best use of their money will be spent finding another location in the City, not trying to re-write our city politics.

  7. This deal is a lot of things:
    1. A vanity project for Mayor Lee
    2. A real estate deal about the properties across from an arena on the piers.
    If you walk along the Embarcadero and enjoy the sweep of the view and the open space, it is too precious an urban resource to cloud up with the blockiness of an arena regardless of how much open space they put around it or how beautiful you may think it is.
    The area by the ball park is much more logical.
    There are synergies there one being MUNI and if you follow the Jeffrey Heller article that was in the Sunday Insight a few weeks ago, potentially BART.
    I those opposed to the arena would agree. Even those who think this “theft” from Oakland is a little shady, the main problem is the location of the arena, not the arena itself.
    We are San Francisco. We have an Opera House already. We don’t need a behemoth on the waterfront. We have a Bay Bridge and an amazing walkway that was opened up when the freeway was torn down, all that housing was built, and the stadium was put in.
    Better planning to put it where the Giants are. And they can have huge music festivals there utilizing both venues when the sports are not going on, etc, etc. There will still be enough $$$ rolling in to satisfy Mr. Baer, Mr.Lacob and Mayor Lee as he enters his fourth term

  8. Jackson,
    You didn’t mention BCDC in your first post, you were talking about the voters. The voters get a say either way in the 2 locations you mention.
    Also, I think China basin is a BCDC area too.
    So your point is don’t go where you need the BCDC and a city wide vote, instead go where you need the BCDC and a city wide vote but transit.

  9. there is no better transit that where they are planning. This is a short walk from both BART and Caltrain and plenty of transit down Geary and Market to get here. Although Again, a Geary Subway would be nice

  10. For those people who are arguing for more democracy – we are a representational democracy. This proposition is going against that. The idea that SF, a city that already suffers from extreme analysis paralysis, will benefit from the added analysis of sending all waterfront buildings to the ballot box is disingenuous.

  11. Noe Mom – “the sweep of the view and the open space”? Please. All I see when I go by there is a crumbling, dilapidated parking lot blocked off by an ugly fence.

  12. “This deal is a lot of things:
    1. A vanity project for Mayor Lee
    2. A real estate deal about the properties across from an arena on the piers.” -Noe mom
    Get out of your ideological bubble, this project is a lot more than those two things. It’s also a large arena of the type that SF is lacking, and that the majority of residents want. And in a beautiful location with great public transit access (better access by far than the area south of AT%T). It’ll also lead to the rehabilitation of an eye-sore pier that’s been literally crumbling into the bay for decades, more open space which everyone always wants, and it’ll also make more money for the warriors. And what’s bad about real estate deals anyway? People have to live somewhere, and other people have to make money. Welcome to how the world works!
    And your idea that it doesn’t belong on the waterfront is a personal opinion. Many hold it, such as yourself, but guess what? Many others don’t have that opinion. And we find it hilariously/frustratingly shortsighted that such a valuable addition to the city is being opposed because of some people’s personal opinion on aesthetics, and their knee-jerk paranoia about apocalyptic traffic situations and supposedly “evil/greedy developers” and such.

  13. the view will be MUCH better with the new park. Besides GGB, I see this new stadium as the most beautiful structure in SF

  14. No, noe mom. You have it all wrong.
    This is a superb location for the arena, allowing the public to enjoy the waterfront even closer up ALL around the facility. And our Opera House has nothing to do with this arena.

  15. Found this: (http://sfport.com/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=5377)
    Topic “Financial Terms” (4th from the top) lists a sub topic “Lease or sale terms of SWL 330.” So, if SWL330 (height limits 65/105; the height of the proposed hotel) was to be sold and no longer port property, then if the condo was to be built (175′) on SWL330 post sale, there would be no vote assuming Prop B passes?
    [Editor’s Note: The measure defines “the waterfront” as public trust property that the State transferred to the City to be placed under the control of the San Francisco Port Commission, as well as any other property that the Port owns or controls as of January 1, 2014 (or later acquires).]

  16. The proposed Pier 30-32 location is now off the table. Buh-bye.
    $200 million (and growing by the minute) in costs to demolish the old pier and build a new one, voter approval needed for hotel and condos across the street (not going to happen), and nearly insurmountable legal and regulatory hurdles to overcome.
    I am sure there are some very smart people on the Warriors payroll, but it is now blatently obvious that they have grossly miscalculated.
    Far cheaper to build on land in Mission Bay (probably on the Salesforce lot which not on Port land) with a fraction of the legal and regulatory difficulties….No BCDC, no Save the Bay, no Probosition B, etc.

  17. I wonder what it would cost to ‘disappear’ Aaron Peskin, Art Agnos, and the other two or three NIMBY’s whose shortsightedness, selfishness, and ignorance, are behind these efforts to prevent San Francisco from achieving higher levels of greatness?

  18. If by “still diligently being attempted” you mean desperately ramping up plans B and C while maintaining the facade, then sure.

  19. I’ve noticed a trend when it comes to this topic: cite a fact or two and then insert wild opinion coda. “Off the table” ? No. Not arguable. Slow down! There will be plenty of chances for more accurate snark.

  20. “$200 million (and growing by the minute) in costs to demolish the old pier and build a new one”
    The cost estimate for the demolition of the old Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge is $281M.
    And we are talking about a massive steel and concrete structure spanning several miles in the middle of the Bay. If you think that hauling away a wooden pier would be more than two thirds of the cost, I wouldn’t want to hire you as a contractor. But I’d be more than happy to sell you the old Eastern Span before it vanishes
    As for the cost of building a new pier, who needs one unless the project pays for itself? Not an issue.

  21. anon@12:30 – That’s an unnecessarily harsh statement. Disagree if you want but it is not right to wish someone grave harm.

  22. It really is a nice view when you walk along the Embarcadero…I am talking about the Bay, East Bay Hills, the sky and the Bridge. It is great open space, probably equal or almost equal to the view along the Marina to Chrissy Field.
    But hey that is just my opinion and that is all any of the commentators here have got to give.
    Here is another opinion: the arena should stay in Oakland, but if it comes here, put it next to the Giants’ ball park. End of opinion.

  23. Noe Mom,
    I agree with you that it is a nice view. But from what I saw of the plans there is public open space and you should still be able to have the same view walking through the park.

  24. “the same view…once you walk around to the other side…just like fontana towers” -Jake
    The fontana towers are on the other side of town, in a low-rise historic residential area, and are twice as tall, less useful to the city as a whole, and far uglier than the warriors arena will be…and piers 30/32 are directly adjacent to downtown, in an area that’s full of mid and highrises already, and which was full of nothing but ugly warehouses a couple decades ago. It’s really not a good comparison once you get beyond the fact that both sites have a nice view.

  25. Fonata towers was built on the site of the old Fontana spaghetti factory along a section of the waterfront that historically had many industries and it helped make it more residential, not less.
    The “nice view when you walk along the Embarcadero” would be blocked by a Warriors Stadium and shopping complex about the same as Fontana Towers blocks the view from Bay Street.

  26. “helped make it more residential, not less.”
    – Yeah, no one was living on Russian Hill before the Fontana Towers went up. Way to completely ignore all of cfb’s points.

  27. This “loss of Bay/Embarcadero view for pedestrians” argument is specious. The proposed arena actually opens up the pier to the public. Once there, passerby would be treated to a much larger and more expansive view.

  28. are you really making a comparison to the Fontana Towers? really?
    might as well be comparing to fukushimi

  29. Wolf’s comment, “might as well be comparing to fukushimi” is absolutely correct.
    Neither should have been built on the waterfront.

  30. Noe Mom’s point was that some views from the Embarcadero sidewalk would be blocked. LJL rightly pointed out that the plans allow the public to enjoy the view by taking a short extra walk. I gave an example that illustrates both their points.
    Why do you think the Warriors have only shown the view from on the pier and from a ways down the road but not from the Embarcadero directly in front of the iconic beauty they want to bless us with?
    Maybe someone would put it side by side with the view from Bay St in front of Galileo High.
    Fontana Towers remains ‘nuclear’ in the very long debate about what to do with the decayed formerly industrial waterfront at least in part because even if it was a work of art it would still block a great view.
    Sure the two locations have important differences, but they are both in mixed neighborhoods with plenty of residents.
    The utility of the arena doesn’t depend on it being built where it will block views from the Embarcadero. They should be able to sell as many tickets if it ends up in Mission Bay, though I still think if they are willing to spend enough they can build it where they want.

  31. This whole argument of “blocked views” is tiring. So, so tiring.
    You want to talk about views? Let’s talk about the current view of Piers 30/32 – a crumbling, dilapidated pier blocked by a chain link fence. Now THAT’S a view worth preserving!

  32. The proposed condos are either shorter than or the same height as the only other building on the block. The only view that is taken away is the view from the Bay Bridge which is right on the other side of Beale.
    As for the view being lost from the Embarcadero – the reconstituted piers will effectively expand the shoreline that is accessible for pedestrians as well as creating an observation deck above the water that is public space. The views will be far more pleasant than looking through a chain link fence towards an empty parking lot.
    Can people at least admit that instead of calling the proposed arena a wall on the waterfront?

  33. “The utility of the arena doesn’t depend on it being built where it will block views from the Embarcadero. ” Yes, but the iconic stature and beauty of the arena does depend on that. It is a picturesque and beautiful enhance to the city. its not just a functional stadium. This city is in desperate need of architectural aesthetics and this is the best one in a century

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