In January 2015, the SF Housing Action Coalition (SFHAC) joined four other organizations in an amicus brief that supports the California State Lands Commission’s (SLC’s) lawsuit challenging the legality of Prop B, the waterfront height limits initiative approved by the San Francisco voters in June 2014.
The SLC’s lawsuit challenges the legality of Prop B in two ways by contending that: a) Prop B improperly gives SF’s voters zoning authority and veto power over Port-managed public trust land when legally those decisions must be made in the interests of all the people of the State of California, not just those in San Francisco; and b) Prop B harms the Port by restricting how its land can be used, causing enormous damage to its ability to manage, maintain and rehabilitate its properties, many of which are derelict or in disrepair.
The SLC’s lawsuit is scheduled for its first hearing in court on Feb 19th.
Why SFHAC joined the amicus brief:
1. SFHAC’s mission is to advocate for the creation of well-designed, well-located housing at all levels of affordability. The SFHAC believes that the City should thoughtfully increase heights and density for housing in under-utilized areas that are close to jobs and transit. The SF Port’s properties hold great potential to achieve this.
2. In SFHAC’s 15-year history, it has endorsed 44,000 homes in San Francisco, of which 30 percent, or over 13,000 homes, were below-market-rate. Even so, housing supply has not kept up with demand and, as a result, the City is in the midst of an unprecedented housing affordability crisis largely caused by its chronic inability to produce enough new housing. Thousands of new homes could be built on the land subject to Prop B. A significant proportion of them could be below-market-rate.
3. The SFHAC believes that Prop B is a misguided, blunt tool that undermines numerous City agencies and commissions that are better qualified to make complex land-use decisions, and it stifles the City’s ability to explore the full, responsible development potential on a case-by-case basis. The SFHAC believes that ballot box planning is an ill-advised way to determine how Port-managed waterfront land should be developed because it will make it more difficult for the City to address its housing challenge.