Environmental lawsuit filed against Midway District redevelopment
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 11/21/20 - 11:00 AM | 5453 views | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Voter-approved Measure E, which removes the decades-old 30-foot height limit from the Midway District and Pechanga Arena area, has another hurdle to clear: an environmental lawsuit.

Ballot Measure E was an exception to Prop. D passed in 1972 to preserve coastal views and prevent the proliferation of high rises. The measure, which required a simple majority, passed on Nov. 3 by 350,291 to 268,942 votes.

The environmental challenge was filed back in August in San Diego Superior Court by Save Our Access, a nonprofit corporation opposing Measure E. Save Our Access claims E is a thinly veiled attempt by developers to grab land and erode Prop. D coastal-height protections.

“The City failed to consider the environmental impacts associated with the project, failed to prepare and circulate required environmental analysis, failed to consider feasible alternatives and mitigation,” read state excerpts from the Save Our Access lawsuit. “Petitioner seeks writs of mandate (a court order to follow the law by correcting its prior actions or ceasing illegal acts) declaring the City’s approvals invalid, and enjoining the City from taking steps to implement the approvals.”

Save Our Access is seeking a “temporary restraining order and/or permanent injunction enjoining the City from taking any steps to further the project until lawful approval is obtained from the City after the preparation and consideration of adequate environmental analysis, with adequate notice to and opportunity to participate for interested parties...”

Save Our Access spokesperson John McNab explained the group’s legal position.

“Their environmental impact report was based on (then) existing conditions, which now have completely changed,” McNab argued. “The other thing is, since they did the EIR, they eliminated parking requirements. My understanding is there are also allegations of toxins underneath the Sports Arena site. That’s what an EIR is for.”

There is at least one other potential environmental problem with the Sports Arena site as well. Namely, that it is the San Diego River flood plain.

“When the San Diego River backs up … then it’s going to start overflowing into that area,” contended McNab, who discussed Save Our Access’ major objection to Sports Arena redevelopment.

McNab said Save Our Access’ position is that “public lands should be for public purposes, no privatization: We don’t give up our crown jewels. That is our purpose for existing.”

Of Measure E’s passage allowing greater leeway in the vertical redevelopment of the Sports Arena. McNab warned, “This is a gold rush for developers. This is finding the Comstock load. There is hordes of money to be made by those who have sticky fingers.”

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