As we wrote last week with respect to Supervisor Chiu’s proposed measure to strengthen the City’s 1984 Sunlight Ordinance last week: “Sundry San Francisco tower and 555 Washington lovers take note.”
As others have now figured out, this measure could be a problem.

Planning Director John Rahaim…said the ballot measure would gut the city’s plan for a new transit-centered downtown with seven skyscrapers, including the signature tower, clustered around a modern Transbay Terminal at First and Mission streets.


Newsom slammed Chiu and the co-sponsors, Supervisors David Campos, Eric Mar, Sophie Maxwell, Ross Mirkarimi, for not doing their homework. “I am rather mesmerized that this analysis wasn’t done before they attached their signatures to the ballot initiative,” Newsom said.

No kidding.
Hardship, Shadows And Rail Making Their Way Towards June Ballot [SocketSite]
Chiu’s measure casts shadow on building plans [SFGate]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by VOTE!!

    For those SF residents out there… if you are fed up with the last ten years of the so-called progressives in charge and the state of the City, then VOTE! Work for a candidate who can figure out how to solve significant problems like out of control crime. Find people who instead of slamming local business and anyone who tries to make a living (small or big)will think of ways to grow the economy. We need elected official that can work together instead of playing the political games and pandering to the non-profit organizations that help them get elected and re-elected. SORRY FOR THE TIRADE.

  2. Posted by joh

    So if a proposed building’s shadow would skim the edge a park with a zero shadow budget during sunrise only on the winter solstice, it cannot be built?

  3. Posted by OneEyedMan

    ^^ Yes. The ugliest part of this proposal is it takes the decision making away from the Planning Dept and hands it to the Board of Stupidvisors. Chiu was quoted as saying they were “abusing their authority”. Once we take the responsibility for planning away from the Planning Dept and give it to a bunch of renter-elected, no-growth nimrods I’m sure the critical problem of homeless sunbathers being cast into shadow will be capably addressed.

  4. Posted by intheknow

    Correct. Even if it’s a 100% affordable housing buildnig for refugee orphans, it can’t be built, and no one will have the ability to change it, not even the Board which apparently is willfully proposing to reduce its future authority to approve such projects in the future with this initiative. Apparently, they don’t feel they can trust even themselves. The irony is, is they want to kill 555 Washington, they can easily do say without this shadow initiative by simply disapproving the proposed legislative height limit increase for that site (proposed to go from 200′ to 400′).

  5. Posted by jon

    Gav has a unique grasp of the “lingua franca”…I’ve never heard the word mesmerized used in such a manner. If he had said he was “kvelled”….that would’ve been better. Or transfixed. But mesmerized?

  6. Posted by Gil

    This should turn into a final test of whether SFers want high-rises or not. In the past they’ve been disinclined towards high-rises and tried to restrict them through ballot measures.
    But the high-rise construction continued to the dismay of many. ORH is an eyesore that many think should not have been allowed.
    This is sort of a stealth way of doing it but to the extent voters see that this will virtually end all high-rise construction in SF and to the exent the voters are still opposed to such we could have a real revolt by the masses in June against the developers/city government and the bubble-era mentality that is trying to foist the Transbay plan on the city.

  7. Posted by yentu

    Yes, if this is a measure designed to kill 555 Washington it is overkill. And, as a developer, I’m not keen on absolute controls that prevent any projects. On the other hand, if Planning has been too eagerly approving projects despite their shadowing effect, maybe it’s a good idea to see what the voters think, just as VOTE!! advocates. OneEyedMan…I like technocrats as much as the next guy, maybe more, and I disagree with voters a lot myself, but I don’t often see such a vehement statement advocating against democracy.
    My guess is that this won’t make it to the ballot, and will lose if it does. But wouldn’t it be okay that the people affected by shadows/property tax revenues get to vote on the issue?

  8. Posted by Mole Man

    This would kill off jobs and development during a time of economic crisis. The public is not going to tolerate this. Even if it does become law it will end up getting backed out.
    It is great that Supervisor Chiu is an active representative, but this is not the first time he has walked into a bear trap without any apparent idea of the risks. Unleashed dog park rules got away from him and ended up biting him.
    It is strange that Supervisor Mirkarimi, who has much more experience (political wounds), would do this. Maybe he is just taking a few wild swings on his way out?

  9. Posted by jamie

    Well, I guess we find out whether or not the “smart growth” of locating high-density residential and office near our transit center in order to cut down on auto traffic/pollution was all talk or had substance …. if we’re not willing to give a little on a couple hours of shadowing at Justin Hermann Plaza during certain times of the year, it would seem that the talk about saving the environment was all just talk.

  10. Posted by joh

    ^ The sad reality is that many do not equate more high-rises and less sunlight to being “green.” Such thinking is flawed, as high-density living allow people and their communities to thrive far more efficiently.

  11. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    This will be a knock down drag out fight on the ballot this fall with SPUR and The Sierra Club vs. Sue Hestor and her legions of NIMBYs. Back in the 80’s the anit-growth crowd would have won easily, but this time I think the enviros win in a squeaker.
    It will be interesting to see which way the SFBG leans, Brugman could go either way.

  12. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    I hear that this whole thing is just an attempt by THD to kill 555 Washington.

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