You may know this already, but we here at SFist like tall buildings. And we think that people who bitch about tall buildings are aesthetically-challenged, provincially-minded sticks in the mud who should, perhaps, consider a move to Berkeley if they're upset about the construction happening here in our city. Because we like cities, and cities are tall and dense. Enter a group of completely self-interested well-to-do types who own condos in the Four Seasons who are threatening to launch another ballot initiative aimed at shortening all development in San Francisco.
The reason for their current apoplexy? A planned residential tower and Mexican Museum at 706 Mission Street which is most definitely going to block their Bay views. But the ballot initiative they're threatening would force all developers of buildings over forty feet tall that might cast a shadow on a park to get approval by voter ballot to build. But they don't actually give a shit about shadows and parks, you see.
Currently, under the 1984 "sunlight ordinance" that was voted in as Proposition K, the Planning Commission can decide if buildings over 40 feet cast shadows that are "insignificant" on city parks.
We're not sure if a majority of the current voting public of San Francisco would vote for height, or for shadow-free parks, but we'd vote for height! You may recall that the design for the 1,070-foot Transbay Tower was shortened from 1,200 feet, and the top 150 feet made into a sculptural "lattice" thing so that there wouldn't be a shadow as far away as Union Square on certain hours of certain days of the year.
The proposed Mexican Museum and tower would stand 47 stories tall, and while it was going through the review stage last year, architecture critic John King sided with the shadow-wary contingent and recommended the developers shrink it to 25 stories. They obviously do not want to do that, and economically it may not even be feasible for them to go much shorter. Stay tuned to see if the developer, which happens to be the same firm that built the 400-foot Four Seasons tower, can reach a compromise with those residents. Approval for 706 Mission comes before the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee on Monday.