FOGG Alert – July 12, 2014

MORE PROBLEMS FOR CONTROVERSIAL 8 WASHINGTON LUXURY CONDO PROJECT

We want to update you on some recent findings about the 8 Washington Street high rise luxury condominium project which in some form, is still in the planning and development process.

Thanks to FOGG’s attorney Sue Hestor, who has spent many grueling hours researching past documents covering the progression of the 8 Washington project.

Sue has uncovered serious mistakes that need to be addressed by the SF Planning Department and Board of Supervisors.

The first involves a mistake in the City height limit maps for the three blocks adjacent to the 8 Washington site that makes up the Golden Gateway Commons.  During the 8 Washington approval process the SF Planning Department staff erroneously listed the height limit of these three blocks at 275 feet, using those heights to justify the 8 Washington project at 136 feet.  In fact, the actual height limit for those blocks set by the City when the Golden Gateway Commons was originally approved by the SF Planning Department and the Redevelopment Agency was 84 feet.

The second issue involves old, recently unearthed Planning documents indicating that part of the larger Golden Gateway complex that would have accommodated the 8 Washington project contained a 1977 Plan Unit Development (PUD) that the SF Planning staff missed this time around.  The 1977 PUD covered the 3 lots designated as “recreational” now occupied by the community’s outdoor recreational center – The Bay Club at the Gateway.  It required development and maintenance of the Golden Gateway swimming pools and tennis courts in lieu of otherwise required rear yards.  That requirement, that these blocks be used solely for recreational purposes has been in place the past 40 years.

Both of these items must be addressed by the SF Planning Department and Board of Supervisors, along with what actions might be needed to be taken to correct these mistakes and prevent similar mistakes from occurring on this and other sites in the future.

While these new problems further cloud the City’s approvals for luxury condos at the ill-conceived 8 Washington site they should be viewed in the larger context of overwhelming voter rejection of the 8 Washington project in November, 2013 (by a 2 to1 margin), and the recent court decision throwing out an earlier State Lands Commission approval of a public trust land swap necessary for the 8 Washington project to proceed.

Several other lawsuits challenging the original approvals of the 8 Washington project are still in litigation.

These findings require FOGG to ask some pertinent questions…

Would the 8 Supervisors who voted for Mr. Snellgrove’s 8 Washington project have a change of heart if they had the facts as stated in our ALERT?

Would the Mayor & Lt. Governor (former Mayor) have been seen on TV and in print with their misstatements and falsehoods if they had known the facts?

Would the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) have thrown away (invested) millions of teacher’s retirement dollars to support the 8 Washington project?

Would the SF Port have entered into an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with Mr. Snellgrove if they had the facts at hand?

Does the SF Planning Department staff have the skill that is needed to keep their records up to date and provide honest and correct information on planning matters?

FOGG only asks that our elected officials and their appointees adhere to the rules and facts. We ask that they listen to those they represent – not just those with money and political connections – and engage in honest dialog about this 8 Washington project. We’ve seen enough PAY for PLAY.

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