Pacific Waterfront Partners won a key victory for its 8 Washington St. housing project at the Board of Supervisors early Wednesday morning, though both sides of the development battle called the fight far from over.

 

The Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 to turn down appeals to both the project’s environmental impact report and a conditional use package allowing the condominium plan to exceed city limits in height, bulk and parking. The three no votes were District 11 Supervisor John Avalos, District 9 Supervisor David Campos, and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who represents the district the project would be located in.

The project, which has been in the works since 2007, calls for putting 134 units on a 3.2-acre lot across the Embarcadero from the Ferry Building. The development would include a health club, retail space and a 389-space underground garage that also would include public parking. The Golden Gateway Tennis and Swim Club, which currently occupies the bulk of the development site, would lose its nine tennis courts but get an expanded aquatic center.

“It is a significant step along the way, we really appreciate that eight of the supervisors saw the merits of the project,” said Simon Snellgrove of Pacific Waterfront Partners. “It seemed like the Supervisors were seeing through a lot of the rhetoric and misinformation that is being thrown around.”

The project is being pushed by the construction trade groups as well as proponents of residential development like the Housing Action Coalition. It is being opposed by Equity Office Properties, which owns the Ferry Building, members of the Golden Gateway Tennis & Swim club, and tenants group who object to the multimillion dollar condos that will be built.

Lee Radner, who heads up the Friends of Golden Gateway, the vote was “just another glitch in the road.”

“We have had many setbacks and we will continue to fight,” he said. “We feel we are on the right side of the issue and will do everything that is legally above board to defeat a travesty of a development that is an attack on open recreation space and families living in the city.”

Radner said he was disappointed that District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar voted to uphold the EIR and praised Supervisor Chiu for leading the fight against it . “He was fantastic and really good in his cross-examination. He brought out a lot of facts that should considered going forward.”

P.J. Johnston, spokesman for the developer, suggested that the EIR, which was approved by the Planning Commission, should not have been before the Supes. EIRs are required on major projects under the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA.

“It’s unfortunate that the EIR has become over politicized by thrusting everything to the Board of Supervisors,” said Johnston, spokesman for the developer. “It doesn’t seem to be a debate that is based upon CEQA -- nobody was able to make a strong case that there was anything wrong with the CEQA process. It’s just used as a project killer and in this case they didn’t kill it.”

Next up is a May 29 vote before the Port Commission. After that the project will go back to the Board of Supervisors, first to committee and then the whole board June 12.

“We are going to have to continue to make our arguments in an even more fulsome way in committee and at the Board of Supervisors, but the Supervisors were asking good questions and seeing through a lot of the flat out lies of the opposition,” said Johnston.