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‘No Wall on the Waterfront’ trial delayed until early next year

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The new trial to decide the fate of Proposition B, the waterfront height limit law, is set for Jan. 10, 2018, according to court documents. (Sarahbeth Maney/Special to S.F. Examiner)
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Those hoping for an outcome on the battle between the gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom-chaired State Lands Commission and San Francisco’s waterfront height limit law may need to wait a bit longer.

The trial date to decide the fate of Proposition B, which requires voter approval to increase height limits along San Francisco’s waterfront, has been set back from this month to January 2018, according to a San Francisco Superior Court filing Thursday.

The State Lands Commission, which is chaired by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, alleges in its lawsuit against San Francisco that state law supersedes local voter-approved waterfront height limits.

On Aug. 23, the city of San Francisco demanded attorneys from the lands commission withdraw a testifying expert, Jonathan Stern, as they allege he was party to attorney-client communications concerning Prop. B while working at the Port of San Francisco.

That same day, attorneys for the lands commission withdrew Stern as a proposed expert, and requested a deadline extension to find a “non-conflicted” expert, to which The City agreed.

Tentatively, the trial date has been moved from Sept. 11 to Jan. 10, 2018, according to court documents.

Since Prop. B was passed in 2014, voters have approved height limits for developments at Pier 70 and Mission Rock. Both housing proposals featured more affordable housing because of deals made due to Prop. B, the measure’s proponents said in June.

Jon Golinger, who advocated for the passage of Prop. B in 2014, said it’s possible that both waterfront development projects may receive final city approvals by the time of the trial in January.

“So their attempt to undo those projects may become moot,” he argued.

He added, “We are glad to see City Attorney [Dennis] Herrera and his staff working so hard to defend the ability of San Franciscans to have a voice in decisions that shape our unique and spectacular waterfront.”

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