Trial Begins in State Legal Challenge to City Waterfront Development Measure
Testimony began today in a lawsuit filed by an obscure state
agency challenging a San Francisco city proposition setting height limits on
Proposition B, approved by voters in 2014, requires voter approval
for any development on the waterfront that would exceed height limits set by
city zoning codes.
It was in part due to concerns raised by a proposed high-rise
luxury condominium project at 8 Washington St., which opponents referred to
as the “Wall on the Waterfront.”
The ballot measure was challenged by the California State Lands
Commission, however, on the grounds that it conflicts with state interests by
giving voters a say in the height of buildings and reducing the amount of
revenue produced by projects.
The state maintains that city elected officials and the Port
Commission should have sole jurisdiction over such decisions.
However a June 2017 ruling by Judge Suzanne Bolanos rejected much
of the state’s argument, finding that Prop. B served the public trust by
seeking to preserve waterfront views and access and did not conflict with
That ruling still allows the state to argue in trial that state
interests were harmed in two specific waterfront projects that have been
approved by voters since Prop. B passed, at Pier 70 and at Mission Rock.
Attorneys for the state began presenting their case in San
Francisco Superior Court today. The trial is expected to continue through
next Tuesday or Wednesday.