Former planning director explains 8 Washington lies

This will be a fenced, private club, just like the one that's there now

Nice oped piece in the Examiner by former City Planning Director Allan Jacobs about the lies behind the campaign to save 8 Washington from ignominous ballot-box defeat. Jacobs, who knows what he's talking about, explains the problem with spot-zoning, which is pretty common now in San Francisco.:

San Francisco’s now-famous urban design plan addressed issues of height and bulk of buildings citywide, very much including the waterfront. Those matters became law. The piecemeal game playing that is central to what we are being asked to approve is a terrible way to make public policy — all the more so because it benefits a few high-end developers.

He also debunks some of the lies in the "Open Up the Waterfront" campaign, which is paid for by Developer Simon Snellgrove and his partners (who stand to make a fortune on this deal). Among the claims that signature-gatherers are making:

The project will create more public parks, a more accessible waterfront, and more jobs or a toxic asphalt parking lot and an obstructing 1,735 foot fence with a "members only" club.

Now: Jacobs argues that the "more public space" will include space that will be public only to the owners of the condos. But I also want to say something about this "members only" club.Yeah: The Golden Gate Swim and Tennis Club is restricted to people who pay dues. The new athletic club that Snellgrove is promising to build will also be "members only." So, by the way, is the YMCA, just down the street. It's "public" in the sense that anyone can join, "private" in the sense that only dues-paying members are allowed to use it.Anyone can join the current club on the site, for a price. It's not cheap, but it's not over-the-top expensive.

We have no idea what the dues at the new club will be, but we know this: The GGSTC has in its bylaws a requirement that it be open to anyone, not just to people who live at Golden Gateway. There is as of now no such requirement for Snellgrove's new "private" club, which could be limited to the (very) rich owners of the new condos.It won't be "public" in the way that city rec centers are public, open on a daily basis to anyone who comes in the door (although sometimes you have to pay a few bucks to swim." So really, the difference between the existing club and the replacement club isn't relevant to this discussion.

Every developer-driven campaign comes up with some misinformation and claims that don't survive serious scrutiny. Glad Allan Jacobs is on the case.


homes if the project is nixed and the city loses 11 million in BMR revenues.

Still, they can always move to Oakland, right Tim? Then they won't have to worry about having rich, boring people around to annoy them.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

You know how many below-market-rate housing units $11 million will pay for? Not a whole lot.

Posted by tim on May. 28, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

The 8 Washington project must pay $11M in affordable housing fees to MOH. This is equivalent to a 25% Inclusionary rate, higher than ANY other project in SF. But, Mr. Redmond is NOT giving the complete picture. MOH routinely leverages developers fees by a factor of at least 2 or 3 thru matching public grants for housing affordability. Sorry, but $20M or $30M builds a LOT of deeply affordable housing, even in SF!!

Oh, and it has to be built within 1 mile of the 8 Washington site in accordance with the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance. This would be is located in one of the fanciest neighborhoods in the City with NO affordable housing. Does Mr. Redmond also object to THIS kind of housing being built??

Perserving a surface parking lot on valuable public land is economically equivalent to the people of SF subsidizing the members of a private swimming and tennis club. So much for social justice!!

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

>"Does Mr. Redmond also object to THIS kind of housing being built??"

Sadly, yes, because it would require housing for wealthy people to fund it.

BTW, the 8 Washington $11 million dollars is hardly the first BMR funding that Tim has sneered at. There was 555 Washington which was $13 million. $11 million here, $13 million there...starts to add up.

I'm sure that Tim thinks that the BMR housing funds would be nice, but the cost of having housing for the rich is just too high a price to pay to help the BMR families.

Posted by Troll on May. 28, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

He owns in Bernal Heights. The name of the game now is making sure no one else gets any - or if they do they fellate the flaccid organ of Non Profit Inc or city government to get some.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 28, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

Is that you?

Posted by admin on May. 28, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

victory than just getting him to leave. It shows he lives in fear of criticism.

Posted by Ed on May. 28, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

It's not. Did Marcos ever post under another name?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 28, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

If that was the best that the opponents can do then 8 Washington will be a great addition to the city.

The part about open space? Yes, some of it will be restricted to residents but every inch of public open space is one more inch than what we have now. The place is literally walled off right now. The only plan to open it up is 8 Washington.

And Jacobs' also makes the really weak statement that there will be no affordable housing on site, as if it would it make sense to put the affordable across the street from the Ferry Building. Hence the in lieu $11 million that the city can use more effectively. I've noticed that THD really loves to use this deception. Lame.

And the height comparison to the Embarcadero freeway? How about the more relevant height comparison to the 25 story building across the street from 8 Washington. That one actually exists.

I can understand why Tim likes the letter but on the merits it is really weak.

Posted by Troll on May. 28, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

Yes, all fair points.

I think most people under the age of 30-35 feel that SF needs all the housing it can get, that height restrictions are increasing rents dramatically, and that the cities convoluted approval process makes only wealthy housing worth pursuing for developers.

This project is case in point. This project should have been built when it was approved by the City, the fact that an entire ballot initiative is being put forward, consuming massive amounts of civic time and money, to decide the fate of a single project, just speaks to how far off the deep end we have gone.

How does anyone expect a developer to try to build affordable housing in the Mission when at every turn someone is going to raise an environmental review, or stall the process for years? Who would invest the time and money into that process when the goal was to be cheaper housing for people?

It's almost getting to the point of insanity, yet people persist in fighting every development as if housing is the great evil of this city. Those same people will decry their rents, decry the arts scene moving across the bay, yet good luck trying to convince them to change environmental review or raising the heights in the mission to a reasonable level (in my opinion 20 story buildings should be common here, much like in Brooklyn).

This was just a rant, but the city's housing crisis is almost to the point where the State should step in.

Posted by Bob on May. 28, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

anything built in SF also benefits the landowners and building owners because of course it drives up the value of their existing properties. So they win either way.

The losers? Poorer folks who get priced out of the city. In theory, tim cares about them. In practice, he cares more about hating on the rich and seeing the value of his Bernal Heights go up. (SF home prices are up 22% YOY, Tim - that must make you feel warm and fluffy).

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

This is kind of a ridiculous statement, because we have acres of public space a half-block away, and it's completely unusable since the vagrants have made an encampment out of it.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

concern is hilarious. What's Tim going to focus on next - the price of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" 6 oz spray margarine at the Marina Safeway?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 28, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

Because frankly, my opposition to this project has everything to do with housing policy and nothing to do with the current or future swim club. But Simon Snellgrove is pushing it, so I wanted to point out where he's wrong.

Posted by tim on May. 28, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

It appears that Mr. Redmond opposes the project because rich people would live there. Forget for a minute, that there's not a city on the planet that doesn't use waterfront property for the wealthy - it's where land values are highest.

The problem is that Mr. Redmond raises this as a social justice issue, but ignores the fact that using valuable public property to preserve a parking lot is, in effect, the economic equivalent of the City of SF paying the members of a private swimming and tennis club a subsidy. Who knew they needed the help??

We all own that land and it should be put to a use that benefits all of us, not just folks in one of the City's most privileged neighborhoods.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

The millionaire 8 Washington developer clumsily attempting to engage in class warfare against the "privileged" to try and appeal to his image of the Guardian-reading "proletariat" is hilarious. Please keep it up until November.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

opposing a building that will create homes and provide millions for BMR homes isn't going to change that policy. It merely obstructs progress and drives up home prices.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

>"There is as of now no such requirement for Snellgrove's new "private" club, which could be limited to the (very) rich owners of the new condos."

Yeah. Jane Kim negotiated access for kids without wealthy parents to have swim lessons at the new pool. Doesn't exist at the old pool.

But to heck with the kids. We hate rich people. And we don't need to tell the truth.

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