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SF Waterfront Development Opponents Work To Overturn Board's Approval

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - A coalition of neighborhood groups and environmentalists announced Thursday that they have gathered more than 31,000 signatures to get a referendum on the ballot to limit the height of a condo development along San Francisco's waterfront.

Plans for the 8 Washington development, located in the city's Financial District just north of the Ferry Building, were approved by the Board of Supervisors last month.

The plans included a provision to increase the maximum height allowable for a building at the site from 84 feet tall to 136, drawing the ire of a coalition calling itself "No Wall on the Waterfront."

The group has collected 31,371 signatures to overturn the board's approval of the increased height limit, according to Jon Golinger, president of the neighborhood group Telegraph Hill Dwellers and manager of the coalition's campaign to get the referendum on the ballot.

The city's Department of Elections will have 30 days to verify that at least 19,405 of the signatures are from registered San Francisco voters.

If it qualifies, the supervisors would take another vote on the project. If it was passed again by the board, voters would then get a chance to vote on the project either this November or next year, depending on whether the early August deadline to get the referendum on this November's ballot had passed.

Golinger said his coalition is opposed to the project, which he called "luxury condos for the 1 percent."

He said, "They're taking our historic waterfront and turning it into Miami, Florida."

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

San Francisco Waterfront Partners, the developers of the 165-unit complex, say on the website for 8 Washington that the condos will help address the lack of housing options in the city, particularly in areas close to transit options.

The website defends the height of the buildings at the complex, saying they will "provide a flexible range of heights and massing that respond to the natural topography of the surrounding community and built environment."

The referendum campaign "undermines the past 7 years of efforts and approvals and jeopardizes the project's vast public benefits and jobs," the website states.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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