Petition raises new challenges for new Warriors arena

Over 21,000 signatures were delivered to the Registrar's Office, making it more difficult for the Warriors to build their new arena.
February 3, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
The battle over the Warriors' new fancy new waterfront area is heating up again and it seems certain tonight that it will not open when the team's owners had hoped.

They hoped to be playing basketball there by 2017, but new opposition makes that highly unlikely at this point. The new arena would sit just south of the Bay Bridge on the waterfront. Those fighting the project are pushing a petition to make it even tougher to move the project forward.

The ballot measure would add an extra step that the Warriors would have to take before they could go ahead with the arena project. This comes less than a year after voters rejected a luxury condo project near the ferry building because it was higher than zoning permitted.

"We think the port commission and the city need to pay more attention to existing laws," said Becky Evans from the Sierra Club.

They turned in box loads of signatures to the Registrar's Office. The ballot measure's authors gathered 21,000 signatures in just three weeks. They say it was a record number in record time.

"This is really a voter revolt against over-development on the waterfront, plans to rewrite city rules, to build high rises and blow off the existing height limits," said Jon Golinger, a ballot measure proponent.

The Warriors say they have no position on the measure. Team spokesman P.J. Johnston responded by email to ABC7 News saying, "We're not opposed to the voters having a say on big issues and it doesn't fundamentally change our approach to this public process."

But if passed, it may influence the dynamics of the entire Warriors project. The ballot measure would require voter approval for waterfront projects which exceed height limits. The Warriors are proposing a 125-foot high multi-use arena on two linked piers. Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos is a vocal supporter of the ballot measure.

"The arena itself is 12 and a half stories and that is some eight stories higher than what we allow on and over the water of the Bay Area," said Agnos.

The Warriors say they'll likely put the arena project on hold for a year not because of the ballot measure but because of the delays three different re-designs have caused.

The Warriors also want to build a hotel and a 175 foot luxury condominium tower across the street. That lot is zoned for only 105 feet.


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