Proposition 90 isn’t about eminent domain

Here are some of the things that could be impacted if Proposition 90 passes: NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING Developers could argue against providing additional community benefits, which are often mandated when increased building height or density is allowed. New zoning restrictions would be hit hard. LOCAL LAWS If Prop. 90 passes, it amends the state’s constitution — and virtually nullifies a number of local antisprawl and smart-growth measures also on the November ballot. In San Francisco the formula retail ordinance (Proposition G) and the tenant relocation ordinance (Proposition H) could create costly litigation. ELLIS ACT Prop. 90 does not affect statutes, ordinances, and measures that already exist, but new tenant protection would be rendered moot. “Any amendment to our law that would cost the city money would be affected by Prop. 90,” said Delene Wolf of the Rent Board. PUBLIC POWER Prop. 90 doesn’t lend any help to municipalities looking to control their own utilities. If San Francisco were to kick out Pacific Gas and Electric and take over the utility’s distribution infrastructure, the corporation could tack millions of additional dollars onto the city’s bill by arguing a loss of future revenue from the seizure. MANDATORY HEALTH COVERAGE San Francisco passed its landmark universal health care plan earlier this year. But with the plan set to be introduced in stages, there’s uncertainty as to whether it will leave the city open to claims of “substantial economic loss” from small businesses opposed to its passage. HISTORIC PRESERVATION St. Brigid Catholic Church in San Francisco is owned by the Academy of Art Institute, which recently petitioned the Board of Supervisors to have national landmark status removed from the 100-year-old building — allowing for a drastic altering of its Romanesque facade. The board denied the request this past October. Under Prop. 90 the Academy of Art could sue the city for the cost of adhering to these guidelines or for the profit lost for what it would have used the building for if allowed to change it. (Amanda Witherell and Sarah Phelan)