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Real-estate interests say voters should have no role in waterfront planning

March 18, 2014

By Tim Redmond : 48hillsonline – excerpt

MARCH 17, 2014 — Superior Court Judge Marla Miller heard arguments today about whether the waterfront height-limit measure should appear on the June ballot, and while much of the discussion involved legal technicalities, the message that came from the opponents of the measure was simple:

The San Francisco voters, they argued, shouldn’t play a direct role in waterfront planning.

Robin Johansen, representing three people who want to see more development on the waterfront, made the political point pretty clearly: “This measure,” she said, “would bring the Port planning process to a halt.” That’s because so many of the projects that the Port Commission is pushing violate existing height limits, and if Prop. B passes, they’ll need voter approval.

The heart of the case: Since the Port manages land under a state tideland’s trust, Johansen said, regular land-use rules don’t apply. The Port is in essence above local law – and thus a local initiative can’t restrict the ability of the Port Commission to make independent land-use decisions.

That, of course, conflicts with at least 20 years of local politics: San Francisco voters have used the ballot to set waterfront planning rules on repeated occasions. The same people who are trying to stop Prop. B were involved in promoting 8 Washington – through a ballot measure that would have changed height limits on Port land. Continue reading →

 

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