Politics

Giants Ask Judge To Keep SF Waterfront Height Restrictions Off Ballot

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— A ruling is expected this week on whether to allow a controversial measure regarding waterfront development, including the San Francisco Giants’ proposal for 390-foot mixed use towers, to appear on San Francisco’s election ballot in June.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Marla Miller’s decision could ultimately have an impact on plans by two major sports franchises to build properties along the city’s waterfront, but for now, she’s hearing arguments.

Proposition B, also known as The Waterfront Height Limit Initiative, is highly contentious and its passage would require voter approval for future San Francisco waterfront development projects. The initiative seeks to preserve the existing maximum building height limits along the city’s waterfront.

The suit, brought on by developers, argues the measure should not be on the ballot because the legislature has delegated waterfront authority to the San Francisco’s Port Commission.

A coalition of developers, trade unions and even some housing advocates want the measure taken off the ballot.

The Giants have asked Miller to keep it off the ballot as well because it would interfere with their plans for a mixed use-project that would include condos adjacent to AT&T Park.

The proposal for a new Golden State Warriors’ arena in San Francisco includes condominium towers at Piers 30-32.

Both of those condo developments and the Warriors’ arena would be taller than current ordinances allow.

Attorney Robin Johansen argued that the Port of San Francisco, not voters, has jurisdiction over Bay waterfront development.

“[Prop B.] is just not consistent with that responsibility to have voter approval requirements for height-limit changes,” she said.

Douglas Carstens, an attorney for supporters of Prop. B, disagreed with Johansen and said that’s not the case.

“If it’s important enough, it should be something that the electorate should be able to vote on, not take it off the ballot, but allow the voters to decide,” he said.

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