Walter Mencken noon, May 30
Court To Consider Risk of Terrorist Attacks In Litigation Over Navy Broadway Complex
Today, District Court Judge Jeffrey Miller agreed to add safety concerns to the list of objections in a legal battle aimed at defeating a proposal to build a new Navy Broadway Complex along Pacific Highway and Harbor Boulevard in downtown.
The decision is only one in a long list of complaints from downtown residents and environmental groups who oppose a plan from developer and U-T San Diego owner, Doug Manchester, to tear down the old Navy building and build a state-of the-art Navy complex housing an office dedicated to support the global war on terrorism. In addition to the new headquarters, Manchester plans to build a 3-million-square-foot hotel and retail development on the same lot.
Residents say the Navy failed to submit an adequate environmental report, relying on an outdated environmental review completed in 1990, well before 9/11, back when terrorism was not considered an imminent threat.
"This [Friend of the Court] brief focuses on the security concerns of the Navy Broadway project and argues that the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) fails to adequately address the potential impacts of a terrorist attack on the Navy Broadway Complex," writes environmental and land-use attorney Josh Chatten-Brown from Chatten-Brown & Carstens, the firm representing Downtown Homeowners and Save Our Waterfront, the groups who filed the brief.
Members of the two downtown groups say the project should not be placed so close to residential buildings and popular tourist attractions. By doing so, the area could become a target for future attacks.
The threat caused U.S. congressmember Susan Davis to include alternative locations in a defense-bill approved in May.
Despite the progress made by Rep. Susan Davis, the downtown groups and their lawyers will continue their legal battle against the federal government.
“We are pleased that the Judge decided to accept the brief so our concerns will be considered by the Court. We are uniquely positioned near, and will be uniquely impacted by, whatever is approved for construction at the Navy Broadway site," stated Judy Radke, a resident in the Electra Tower residential building and member of Downtown Homeowners." We would like to see the safety and security of the entire area is ensured to the greatest extent possible, without a rush to judgment that there is nothing to worry about.”