Mike Koozmin/the S.F. Examiner

Mike Koozmin/the S.F. Examiner

Vote yes on Prop. B, SF’s waterfront height limits ballot measure

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 height limit on the San Francisco waterfront shall be preserved and shall not be increased unless a height limit is approved by the 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.editorialsOpinionProposition B San FranciscoSan Francisco GiantsSan Francisco waterfront

Just Posted

Epic Cleantec uses soil mixed with treated wastewater solids to plants at the company’s demonstration garden in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Epic Cleantec)
This startup watches what SF flushes – and grows food with it

Epic Cleantec saves millions of gallons of water a year, and helps companies adhere to drought regulations

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents in the U.S. (Shutterstock)
Why California teens need mental illness education

SB 224 calls for in-school mental health instruction as depression and suicide rates rise

Ahmad Ibrahim Moss, a Lyft driver whose pandemic-related unemployment benefits have stopped, is driving again and relying on public assistance to help make ends meet. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
How much does gig work cost taxpayers?

Some drivers and labor experts say Prop. 22 pushed an undue burden on to everyday taxpayers.

Affordable housing has become the chief expense for most California students, such as those attending community college in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
California commits $500 million more to student housing

Called ‘a drop in the bucket,’ though $2 billion could be made available in future years

Most Read