After spending the summer battling the developer who wants to transform part of the San Francisco Flower Mart into tech offices, a group of flower-industry folk and their supporters plan to file paperwork today for a 2015 ballot measure, according to the Examiner. Like Proposition B, which sends waterfront height-limit changes before voters, the San Francisco Flower Mart Protection Act would preserve existing height limits and zoning at the mart's Brannan Street site and send any proposed changes to the ballot box for voter approval. Because Kilroy's plans for the mart site hinge on changing the zoning from light industrial to office, this initiative, if it's successful, would pit Kilroy against a popular San Francisco institution in a very public battle.
Ballot initiatives are awfully blunt tools for shaping a city, but they've proved enormously effective at circumventing the city's already intense planning process. Now the same style of populist appeal that torpedoed 8 Washington could preserve a beloved place—one that, according to a poll by the Tenants and Owners Development Co., 78 percent of San Franciscans want to see saved.
Kilroy has said that the planned development would offer the Flower Mart a new state-of-the-art home, but, as you recall, many tenants have leases that expire at the end of this year, and the developer hasn't made any formal guarantees about the future. Some flower sellers worry that construction would disrupt their business and that a new facility could bring higher rents.
Before it can join the 2015 ballot, the San Francisco Flower Mart Protection Act must first gather enough voter signatures to qualify. We can't imagine they'll have much trouble. "Save the flowers" is right up there with Puppies Are Adorable and Think of the Children.
· Can the Development Police Uproot Kilroy's Flower Mart Plans? [Curbed SF]
· Flower Mart's future could go to SF voters [SF Examiner]
· Past Coverage of Proposition B [Curbed SF]
· Past Coverage of 8 Washington [Curbed SF]
· Kilroy: Let's Preserve the Flower Mart By Building a New One [Curbed SF]
· Florists Launch Petition to Save the San Francisco Flower Mart [Curbed SF]
· 62 Totally Florescent Photos of the San Francisco Flower Mart [Curbed SF]