Mayor Kevin Faulconer has endorsed November ballot Measure E, which would remove the 30-foot height limit from the Midway District allowing greater latitude in redeveloping the former San Diego Sports Arena.
His announcement came at a Sept. 14 press conference at Pechanga Arena San Diego at 3500 Sports Arena Blvd.
“San Diego is pursuing a new sports arena, but we need Measure E to pass to get the job done,” said Faulconer, who previously represented Midway as a City Council member. “The Sports Arena is outdated and the community around it has stagnated. A vote for Measure E will unlock the potential of the Midway community and turn this eyesore into a San Diego icon.”
Added Faulconer: “You’re not going to find a more steadfast proponent of the coastal height limit than me, and I’m proud to join this community movement in support of Measure E. This is going to transform this city in an area that we desperately need.”
“Yes on E” recently became the sole local ballot measure to earn a bipartisan endorsement from both local political parties. It has been backed by nearby residents and businesses, Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan Group and City Council members Dr. Jen Campbell and Chris Cate.
A relatively small landlocked community, Midway is constrained by the Interstate-8 to the north, Interstate- 5 to the east, and San Diego International Airport to the south. The community is currently known for its abundance of strip clubs, blighted commercial properties, and nearly nonexistent pedestrian and alternate mobility infrastructure. It’s a reputation some community members are looking to change.
Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan Group chair Cathy Kenton and colleague Dike Anyiwo spoke in favor of the ballot measure on Sept. 14.
Kenton said Measure E is about enhancing Midway’s character, not changing it.
“We don’t want high rises,” she said. “Were not looking for this to be downtown. You look at the (Midway) Community Plan, which calls for a very vibrant, mixed-use community. Show me one other commercial, mixed-use community in the City that has a 30-foot height limit. It doesn’t exist. And you can see what 48 years of a 30-foot height limit has done to Midway.”
“When I moved here I could tell this community was on the cusp of something,” he said. “It took me a few years to realize why nothing was happening. It was because of the 30-foot height limit. I realized we have an opportunity to do something about that.”
“I’ve heard a lot of feedback from the community-at-large that folks are really excited about the possibility for a new sports arena,” said Matt Awbrey, communications director for the Yes On E campaign. “Measure E gives us the option. Without Measure E, you’re only talking about rehabilitating what’s here. Measure E actually lets us look at the sports arena and say, ‘you can do something brand new if that’s what the community wants.’”
Kenton and Anyiwo are both optimistic about Measure E passing by a simple majority on Nov. 3.
“We’re very encouraged,” Kenton said. “We’re campaigning absolutely actively. We intend to be very active to make sure our vision (for Midway) is what actually happens.”
“We’re getting bipartisan, and a lot of community support, as well as support from the larger San Diego community,” said Anyiwo. “We’re getting both institutional and residential support.”
“We have a website, midway2020.com, that has a lot of information and FAQs,” said Kenton. “It’s even got a spot where you can donate.”
On Aug. 29, a City selection committee picked a proposal by Brookfield Properties and ASM Global to redevelop the former Sports Arena property into a vibrant destination that incorporates a mix of entertainment, housing, parks, and office and retail.
Proposition D, the 30-foot coastal height limit, is a 48-year-old voter-approved initiative passed in 1972 to preserve ocean views. Measure E seeks to overturn that in Midway only.