JUDGE TELLS STATE LANDS COMMISSION “PROVE IT” IN RULING ON LAWSUIT ALLEGING PROP B WATERFRONT HEIGHT LIMIT INITIATIVE UNREASONABLY SUBJUGATES STATE INTERESTS

For Immediate Release:   Wednesday, March 25, 2015

NEWS RELEASE

This afternoon, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos sustained in part and overruled in part a motion by the San Francisco City Attorney to dismiss a lawsuit by the State Lands Commission aimed at overturning San Francisco’s Proposition B, the Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote Act, which was approved by 59% of San Francisco voters in June 2014.  In her ruling the judge made clear that the voters of San Francisco do have the power to adopt an initiative ordinance that affects the land uses of San Francisco’s waterfront, striking down the State Lands Commission’s claim that Prop. B violated the San Francisco City Charter.  However, the judge denied the City Attorney’s motion to dismiss the entire case without first giving the State Lands Commission the opportunity to present facts that they say prove that Prop. B has unreasonably “subjugated” state interests in San Francisco’s waterfront.

“We are pleased that the judge made clear today that the people of San Francisco do have the right to participate in shaping the future of our waterfront,” said Jon Golinger, with No Wall on the Waterfront.  “Now the burden will be on the State Lands Commission and developers to provide the judge with facts that prove their claim that the state’s interests have been somehow undermined by reasonable height limits.  Since San Francisco voters just overwhelmingly approved the Pier 70 project’s height limit increase in November, how the state will prove its case is a mystery, but we will see.”

Judge Bolanos directed the parties to return for a Case Management Conference on May 20, 2015.   The case is California State Lands Commission v. City and County of San Francisco, Case No. CGC-14-540531.

RELATED:

Judge lets suit to overturn SF waterfront height limits proceed

By J.K. Dineen : sfchronicle – excerpt

A state judge refused Wednesday to throw out a lawsuit that would have nullified a 2014 ballot measure requiring developers to seek voter approval for any project on port land that exceeds height limits.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos denied the city’s request that the lawsuit by the California State Land Commission be thrown out. Bolanos did dismiss one of the state’s claims, but allowed portions of the lawsuit to proceed.

Jon Golinger, the Telegraph Hill resident who led the Prop. B campaign, called the ruling “a mixed bag.” He said the judge clearly stated that “voters do have a say in what happens on the waterfront, and that is pretty significant.”

“The case goes on and Prop B remains in effect,” he said.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said that he was pleased that the court dismissed the state’s claim that Prop. B conflicts with the City Charter.

“This ruling upholds the power of San Francisco and its voters over building heights on the city’s waterfront, and is in keeping with over 45 years of land use regulation in San Francisco,” he said.. (more)

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