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Monday, March 17, 2014

Waterfront Height Initiative: Judge Mulling Arguments, Ruling Pending

Posted By on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 1:45 PM

click to enlarge waterfront_art_agnos_warriors_arena_sf_giants_8_washington.9532623.87.jpg

The warring parties contesting San Francisco's nascent Waterfront Right-to-Vote initiative have told it to the judge. 

And now, the Hon. Marla Miller will decide whether or not San Franciscans will have the opportunity to vote on a measure that would, if passed, mandate they vote on every subsequent major waterfront development

Miller's ruling will come like the executioner's call for a condemned Japanese prisoner: Sometime in the near future, maybe in an hour, maybe in a few days -- it's uncertain; we'll know when we know. 

The judge, per initiative-backer Jon Golinger, opened the morning proceedings by stating that striking a measure off the ballot prior to voters having the opportunity to have their say requires clearing a "high bar." As such, the plaintiffs -- a trio of interesting local folks backed by San Francisco Giants money -- did most of the talking. 

Two hours of high-level legal argumentation regarding the byzantine world of waterfront development ensued, with Miller then offering both parties her guarantee of a ruling in the ambiguously near future. 

Should the measure be stricken, its proponents could appeal -- but have precious little time to do so prior to the city's June ballot going to the printers. And if the measure withstands legal scrutiny, its opponents could still opt to file suits to their hearts' content post-election. 

The initiative would call for a vote of the people for every development exceeding waterfront height limits, which range from zero to 40 to 105 feet along the 7.5-mile stretch. While the measure was drafted in response to the potential Warriors arena on Piers 30-32, also caught up in the net are a proposed high-rise development by the Giants behind AT&T Park and a mixed-use high-rise project at Pier 70 from developers Forest city.  

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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