Past And Present Officials Warn Of Massive Sewage Spill At Site Of Waterfront Condo Project

Current and former San Francisco officials today called for voters to reject two measures on the November ballot that would allow a condominium project to move forward along the city’s waterfront.

With Propositions B and C, San Francisco voters will decide the fate of the 8 Washington project, a proposed 134-unit condo complex located just north of the Ferry Building in the city’s Financial District.

The project was approved by the city’s Board of Supervisors last year but opponents gathered tens of thousands of signatures to put the plans on hold and place a referendum on the ballot in the form of Proposition C.

The 8 Washington project’s proponents have also placed a separate competing initiative on the ballot in the form of Proposition B.

Board of Supervisors president David Chiu, former Mayor Art Agnos and others gathered near the site of the proposed development this morning to call on San Franciscans to vote “no” on both measures, calling it a “wall on the waterfront.”

Agnos said the city tore down the double-decker Embarcadero Freeway and has been working to make the waterfront more accessible and appealing to the public.

“It belongs to all of San Francisco” but “is being sold to the highest bidder” in the form of condos costing about $5 million each, Agnos said.

Chiu said the development would also be built on top of the city’s largest sewer line, which handles 20 million gallons of sewage daily.

Chiu said if something went wrong on the project that caused a sewage spill, “it really could jeopardize the neighborhood and create a major liability for the city.”

Organizers of the Yes on B campaign say the 8 Washington site is currently an asphalt lot and private club blocked off by a 1,735-foot-long fence and that the project would create 30,000 square feet of new public open space in the area.

Campaign spokesman David Beltran said the 8 Washington opponents were just putting out misleading information and scare tactics “geared to distract from the fact that there’s vast public benefit from the project.”

More information from opponents of the project is available online at www.nowallonthewaterfront.com while the Yes on B proponents have more information at www.openupthewaterfront.org.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • SteveofSF

    If a sewage spill were caused the contractor and his insurer would pay to rectify. Once we stop projects because of the vague possibility of something going wrong, we deny all progress. Let’s work for a balance: the city needs housing and renewal; it also needs open space and preservation. Decide on that, not on fear-mongering. PS if a smaller project is built, it will likely pose a similar risk–my guess.

  • SFWriter

    @SteveofSF:disqus – the city’s supply of ultra-luxury condos is plentiful right
    now don’t you think? I don’t see a lot of homeless billionaires. so
    why vote for $5 million condos rather than require affordable housing be
    built as well and a better deal for SF? Last time we went for
    grandiose promises like this 8 washington we got the America’s Cup.
    How’s that been working out?

  • Dan

    8 Washington would raise $11 million for affordable housing.

  • sebra leaves

    We hear there is already a leak in the vicinity, and the city engineers are having a problem finding a place to re-route the pipe. The underground real estate is saturated with deep structural foundations supporting the tall buildings, and utility pipes under the streets.

    According to the PUC, the sewer system is over-loaded now and the Hunter’s point processing plant is in need of replacement. It seems like the wisest approach would be to fix these problems before adding any more demand. This would mean curtailing large infill project, until the new plant is ready. At least one supervisor has pointed out concerns over this.