Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
In cross-appeal, Save Our Heritage Organisation rehashes fight over plan to remove traffic from Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama
Group fights appeal from the Plaza de Panama Committee with an appeal of its own
As historic preservation group Save Our Heritage Organisation has learned, the bypass bridge is a tough proposal to kill.
But the group hopes to end it once and for all with a June 3 cross-appeal filed in San Diego County Superior Court.
The appeal is in response to a previous appeal filed by the Plaza de Panama Committee which seeks to overturn Judge Timothy Taylor's ruling against their proposal to remove traffic from the plaza by bypassing the Cabrillo Bridge.
By filing the cross-appeal, SOHO hopes to force the committee to defend what they say are other legal snares, such as charging for parking at the proposed parking garage and possible CEQA violations.
"SOHO, acting in the public interest on behalf of tens of thousands of supporters, won on a primary legal issue in the case that will prevent construction of the proposed bypass bridge. Under the leadership of Mayor Filner, an alternate plan will now remove parking from the Plaza de Panama without harming the integrity of the Balboa Park National Historic Landmark District," reads a statement from SOHO Director Bruce Coons.
"However, since the Plaza de Panama Committee has now filed an appeal, SOHO has cross-appealed on the issues on which it did not prevail in court or which the trial judge did not need to reach after ruling in favor of SOHO, including interpretation of laws preventing a paid parking garage in the 'free and public park,' adherence to the City's general and specific plans, and compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act."
Not only have they had to fight the Jacobs-backed project committee but they have had to deal with a council that has been very supportive of the plan.
"The City Council may adopt an ordinance that exempts the Project from some of the SDP findings in the San Diego Municipal Code, makes the remaining required findings, and approves a new SDP for the Project. These approvals would likely not be subject to veto. The standard City process for development project approval should be followed, including required noticing, and a Planning Commission recommendation because the Findings Exemption is considered a zoning ordinance amendment. This Office is available to assist with the processing, assuming there is an applicant who desires to bring the Project forward again.
The opinion was good news for Council President Todd Gloria, a supporter of the Irwin Jacobs-backed proposal.
"If an applicant comes forward to advocate for the project, I would docket the request for the City Council’s consideration at a future public hearing," was the statement from Gloria's office. "While it is helpful to understand there is a course to pursue, it is unfortunately apparent that the improvements could not be complete in time for the 2015 Centennial Celebration because of the likelihood of additional litigation and the project’s complexity and construction timeline."
The appeal and newly filed cross-appeal means the fight over the bypass bridge is far from over.
More like this:
- City Council to authorize funding for Balboa Park Parking Garage — Oct. 1, 2012
- SOHO To Challenge Balboa Park Makeover In Court — July 10, 2012
- Court Date Set for SOHO's Suit Against the City — Oct. 3, 2011
- SOHO Sues City Over Plaza de Panama Plan — Aug. 3, 2011
- SOHO Organizes Protest Against Plaza de Panama Plan — July 18, 2011