San Francisco Democratic Party encourages 'no' votes on 8 Washington propositions

San Francisco voters will have the unprecedented chance to weigh in on a development project this fall, and The City's Democratic Party wants them to say no.

A proposed 136-foot tall building that would replace a gym and tennis courts with 134 luxury condominium units along The Embarcadero is the subject of two competing measures on the November ballot: Proposition C, The City's first referendum in decades, which would reverse height exemptions and derail the project; and Proposition B, a developer-funded measure that would allow the controversial project to go forward.

And the official Democratic County Central Committee line is to kill the project, known as 8 Washington.

On Wednesday, the DCCC — which hands out official party endorsements and also commands some campaign cash — voted 14-6 to endorse a “no” vote on Prop. B.

The vote makes the DCCC's position against 8 Washington clear: months earlier, it had voted to endorse a “no” vote on the referendum question.

If the propositions fail, that would reverse a Board of Supervisors-approved change in 2012 to zoning code that allowed 8 Washington to exceed 84 feet in height.

It's unclear if the developer — Simon Snellgrove of Pacific Waterfront Partners — will attempt to build a shorter building if the height exemption is reversed, but in the meantime his group is spending generously to convince voters to allow 8 Washington to go forward.

As of mid-July — the most-recent campaign finance records available — proponents of the development had raised $464,000.

Development projects are often contentious in San Francisco, but never had a condo project led to competing political campaigns.

It also remains to be seen how The City's most powerful politicians will react. Representatives for both U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Nancy Pelosi that sit on the DCCC abstained from Wednesday's vote.

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