FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
STEALTH CONSTRUCTION PLAN BY CONTROVERSIAL 8 WASHINGTON WATERFRONT HIGH-RISE DEVELOPER UNCOVERED, CRITICIZED BY SF SUPERVISOR AS “ATTEMPTED END-RUN AROUND THE VOTERS”
Proposal to begin “infrastructure improvements” for 8 Washington slated for approval Wednesday by Department of Public Works, despite certification of 31,371 petition signatures that officially suspended project until after November vote
Newly disclosed public documents have revealed that the developer of a controversial San Francisco waterfront high-rise condo tower known as “8 Washington” has been quietly moving to obtain city approval to allow him to begin construction of his project, despite the qualification of a voter referendum last year that officially suspended the project until after voters get to weigh in this November. This Wednesday morning, the city Department of Public Works plans to hold a hearing to consider an application by Simon Snellgrove, owner of Pacific Waterfront Partners, to allow his company to begin constructing an extensive series of “infrastructure improvements” around the 8 Washington site, such as installation of new water, sewer, and gas lines and sidewalk replacement.
“I am disappointed to see an attempted end-run around the voters before the people have had their say,” said San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. “After 31,371 signatures qualified the first voter referendum in over 20 years, I hope that city officials will respect the process and ensure that the people are heard at the November ballot box before any aspect of 8 Washington is stamped 'approved'.”
After the Board of Supervisors voted for the 8 Washington Project last June, a coalition of environmental and neighborhood groups gathered 31,371 petition signatures in 30 days to qualify a voter referendum challenging the proposal to increase waterfront height limits for the project from 84 feet up to 136 feet, which would make it over 50 feet higher than the old Embarcadero Freeway. Under state and local law, the submission of sufficient signatures for a voter referendum challenging a city ordinance prevents it from taking effect unless and until the voters approve it at the next election. The referendum on the 8 Washington Project will be before SF voters on the November 5, 2013 ballot.
“Apparently, Mr. Snellgrove is trying to shove his waterfront high-rise plan down the throats of San Francisco voters, whether they like it or not, said Jon Golinger, Campaign Director for No Wall on the Waterfront. “We hope city officials will hit the ‘pause button’ until voters can decide whether they want to approve a huge increase in height limits so this developer can build a wall on San Francisco’s spectacular waterfront.”
# # #