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Weather Report
8 Washington project wins Board of Supervisors’ approval
Posted On: Jun 13, 2012

A 134-unit condominium development on prime waterfront property across the Embarcadero from the Ferry Building won the backing of the Board of Supervisors Tuesday — ending one battle and expected to start another.

Opponents have threatened to stop the project by referendum and/or lawsuits.

The controversial project at 8 Washington St., covering 3.2 acres, will include luxury condominiums, parking, a health club and a public park.

To win board approval, the developer, Pacific Waterfront Partners led by Simon Snellgrove and Alicia Allbin, agreed to kick in $11 million to the city’s affordable housing fund — $2 million more than required by law — and to turn over the health club’s pool a couple of hours a week for city-run swim lessons for low-income kids. In addition, a 50-cent surcharge will be levied on vehicles that use the public parking lot, with the proceeds used for street-scape and transit improvements.

“It’s great news; we’re very happy,” Snellgrove said after the vote. “This is a well-sculpted plan that will be a fabulous asset for the city.”

The board approved the project on an 8-3 vote, with Supervisors David Chiu, David Campos and John Avalos opposed.

Opponents on the board and in the public have listed a number of concerns, among them  the height, the bulk, the loss of the existing Golden Gateway swim and tennis club, the obstruction of views for a handful of nearby residents and the amount of parking. Critics also said the should provide more funding for affordable housing and community benefits.

“This project is nowhere near where it needs to be for the City and County of San Francisco, for us to ensure that everyone gets to continue to live in San Francisco when we have some of the most expensive condos in the city that are going to be going up and when we have all of the other issues,” said Chiu, who led the unsuccessful charge at the board against the development.

Last month, opponents failed to thwart the project when the board rejected their appeals of both the environmental impact report and a conditional use permit, and they lost again Tuesday with approval of the development agreement. Now they may try to overturn the board’s action through the referendum process if they can gather enough signatures to put the matter before voters in November. Lawsuits also may be filed to block the project from going forward.


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