Thank you San Francisco voters for not being fooled & for standing up for our spectacular waterfront!



Proposition B:  Voter Approval for Waterfront Development Height Increases


The Sierra Club, Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, the Affordable Housing Alliance and State Senator Mark Leno all support Proposition B because it lets voters, not just developers, have a voice in deciding the future of our public waterfront land.  Read below to find out more . . . 




Vote yes on Prop. B:  Citizens deserve chance to be heard

May 8, 2014

It's important that San Franciscans are involved in their city, be it when electing leaders, participating in the community or deciding what the future skyline might look like.  At its core, the June ballot measure Proposition B seeks to give the people more tools in civil discourse.

The language of Prop. B, otherwise known as the Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote act, is simple:  "The existing maximum building height limits on the San Francisco waterfront shall be preserved and shall not be increased unless a height limit increase is approved by San Francisco voters."  Projects on Port of San Francisco land from Fisherman's Wharf to Bayview-Hunters Point would fall under this provision.

At a time when The City is entrenched in a housing and cost-of-living crisis, there is a growing sense that San Francisco is less and less welcoming.  Some of the arguments against Prop. B touch on these issues.  Opponents caution against wasting time focusing on waterfront height limits when there are more pressing issues such as housing availability at all income levels.  They argue that if Prop. B passes, it will threaten thousands of planned homes in San Francisco, including hundreds of below-market-rate units, and deprive The City of millions of dollars in tax revenue.

The specter of Prop. B's passage has already had a powerful impact on high-profile projects.  Last month, the Warriors gave up plans to build a new arena jutting out into the water just south of the Bay Bridge, opting instead for land in Mission Bay.  This week, the Giants said they were no longer opposing Prop. B and vowed to redesign development plans next to their AT&T Park.  And on Tuesday, various city departments issued a report, requested by Mayor Ed Lee, detailing potential economic and housing losses if the measure passes. 

Those seeking to defeat Prop. B argue that it will embolden community groups and special interests to hold projects they don't like hostage at the ballot box and scare away would-be developers seeking to build much-needed homes.  However, both sports teams' decisions show that they're willing to play ball instead of walk away from the development plans altogether.

Last year, we cautioned against "ballot-box planning" in regards to another waterfront fight, which happened to also be called Prop. B.  That effort succeeded overwhelmingly in killing the 8 Washington St. condo complex, and gave rise to the current Prop. B.

Part of our argument last year involved the fact that the measure targeted only one already-approved project.  This time around, however, San Francisco is looking at a blank-slate future in which residents can give themselves a voice at the planning table if they so choose.

We are urging voters to stand behind the new Prop. B.  Our waterfront is a place that needs careful and attentive stewardship, and if that means letting citizens be a more active part of the political process over its future, then that's a good result.

Prop. B backers make the case that this extra level of protection - an "insurance policy," as they call it - is needed because the waterfront is a public resource beyond compare.  They contend that developers and politicians don't always have the public's best interest at heart.

We would like to think those concerns are unfounded, but it can't hurt to make sure.




Vote yes on Proposition B–waterfront height-limit initiative in SF

The Sierra Club urges San Francisco voters to vote yes on Proposition B–”Voter Approval for Waterfront Height Increases”–on the June 3 ballot. The measure would require voter approval for waterfront luxury-condo towers or other waterfront development projects that violate existing legal building height limits.

A record-breaking petition drive by a coalition of environmental and community groups collected 21,000 signatures, more than twice the required 9,702 in just three weeks. The initiative is backed by the Sierra Club and the No Wall on the Waterfront coalition, who came together to defeat the 8 Washington waterfront luxury-condo towers, which were rejected by 67% of San Francisco voters last November.

“The overwhelming success of this petition drive shows just how strongly the people of San Francisco feel about keeping the waterfront a special place that is open and accessible for everyone to enjoy,” said Becky Evans, chair of the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club and the official proponent of the initiative.

Despite the overwhelming voter rejection of the 8 Washington luxury condos, the San Francisco Port Commission has proceeded to move forward with a series of other proposals to raise waterfront height limits for luxury-condo high-rises, office towers, and hotels. Waterfront height limits can currently be changed by a majority of the Board of Supervisors.

The initiative builds on a previous initiative passed by San Francisco voters in 1990 that required the creation of a Waterfront Land Use Plan to guide development along the city’s waterfront.

Vote yes on Proposition B.

excerpted from the Sierra Club Yodeler:




Click here to download a copy of Proposition B -- the Waterfront Height Limit Right To Vote Act


Be it ordained by the People of the City and County of San Francisco:

SECTION 1.              Title

This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “Waterfront Height Limit Right To Vote Act”

SECTION 2.              Findings and Declarations   

The People of the City and County of San Francisco declare their findings and purposes in enacting this Initiative to be as follows:

Whereas, the San Francisco waterfront is an irreplaceable public resource of the highest value;

Whereas, San Francisco holds the waterfront in trust for the People of California;

Whereas, it is in the interest of San Francisco to preserve a unique and vibrant vital waterfront with adequate public views of, and access to, the City and San Francisco Bay;

Whereas reasonable building height limits on the San Francisco waterfront have been instrumental in preventing the historic waterfront from becoming blocked and walled off by luxury high-rises and tall private buildings as has happened on many waterfronts around the country;

Therefore the people of San Francisco declare that it is the policy of the City and County of San Francisco that:

The existing maximum building height limits on the San Francisco waterfront shall be preserved and shall not be increased unless a height limit increase is approved by San Francisco voters. 

SECTION 3.              Waterfront Height Limit Right To Vote Requirement

Section 61.5.1 is added to the San Francisco Administrative Code as follows:

(a)                No city agency or officer may take, or permit to be taken, any action to permit development located in whole or in part on the waterfront to exceed at any point the building and structure height limits in effect as of January 1, 2014, which are set forth in San Francisco Planning Code Article 2.5, unless a height limit increase for the development has been approved by a vote of the electors of the City and County of San Francisco.  

(b)               Any ballot measure placed before the electors to approve increased height limits for development on the waterfront must specify both the existing and proposed height limits in the ballot question.  The failure to specify both the existing and proposed height limits in the ballot question shall render such an increase in height limits void.

(c)                For the purposes of this Section, the term “waterfront” means land transferred to the City and County of San Francisco pursuant to Chapter 1333 of the Statutes of 1968, as well as any other property which is owned by or under the control of the Port Commission of San Francisco as of January 1, 2014 or acquired thereafter.

SECTION 4.                          Effective Date  

In accordance with the provisions of California Elections Code section 9217, if a majority of the voters vote in favor of the Initiative, the Initiative shall go into effect 10 days after the vote is declared by the Board of Supervisors.

SECTION 5.                          Severability

If any provision of this Initiative or any application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect any provision or application of this Initiative that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application. To this end, the provisions of this Initiative are severable.





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YES on B - Let the Voters Protect the Waterfront
Yes on B gives voters, not just developers, a voice on our waterfront