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Big changes could be coming to San Francisco’s skyline

July 18, 2013

: abclocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — A skyline is like a city’s fingerprint, complex and unique. But unlike a fingerprint, skylines change, and now San Francisco’s is about to.
After a four-hour meeting Thursday, planning commissioners approved a series of actions that will shift the city’s center to the south, filling in what’s now a hole in the skyline with buildings that will dwarf the Transamerica Pyramid.
“Fulfilling a long held vision in the downtown plan in 1985 to realize a new heart for downtown San Francisco,” said Joshua Switzky with the San Francisco Planning Department…
However, the next big hurdle for the project isn’t about what’s rising into the air, but what’s on the ground. Back in the 1980s, voters approved strict limits on the shadows a tall building can cast on a city park. To see why Proposition K was passed, just visit the Financial District. A sea of tall buildings plunges some streets into near twilight by mid-afternoon…
“The people of the city have already voted,” said anti-development attorney Sue Hester. “You may not amend Prop. K just because of superior design or whatever airy-fairy reasons you have today for this project.”
Though they’ve approved the plan, commissioners have pledged to study the shadows in more detail before they actually issue building permits.
“And not to set a precedent that the shadow ordinance should get chipped away at, a little bit at a time, so that it doesn’t really mean anything anymore,” said Cindy Wiu, San Francisco planning commissioner… (more)

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