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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.

In early April, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith released a memo stating that the project could be raised from the dead if a new applicant were to come forward.

"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.

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SanDiego2015 June 3, 2013 @ 11:24 p.m.

Todd Gloria and Jan Goldsmith comments show a foregone predisposition to support the Plaza de Panama Committee that frustrates me as a Citizen of San Diego. Instead of being open to multiple inputs, they are open to the inputs that pay for their political campaigns. Ever seen the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" monkeys? They remind me of those every time someone attends a City Council meeting, where the Public Testimony is limited to 3 minutes or less - and they turn away to talk to their aids or someone else, ignoring the Public. No wonder the Public becomes disenchanted with its elected officials, including judges that advocate their personal opinions from the bench when making decisions on matters such as the SOHO lawsuit. These "public servants" are anything but - at least when it comes to preserving and enhancing a Public Park that was established in trust for future visitors and residents long before they came on the scene. Mayor Filner made a lot of promises on his campaign trail that people such as I believed. His actions since being elected speak much louder than his words, which today sound like hollow packages when shaken.


DavidnPB June 6, 2013 @ 12:32 p.m.

Todd Gloria fails to represent his District and the interests of Balboa Park as he continues to drink the Jacobs' funds and promises of future political support.

Gloria ignores these facts:

  1. The Jacobs Plan introduces every-day paid parking to Balboa Park for the first time in 100 years. $5.00 an hour or more for special events. And the garage must be filled to capacity every day to pay the construction bonds. So PAID parking will be Park-wide, not limited to the garage. Young families, seniors, volunteers for the Museums will be priced out of the Park.
  2. The revenues from the Garage would in fact never be sufficient to pay the debt on the bonds. So general revenue from the City would be used to retire the bonds. Revenues that should be used for Park maintenance and improvements.
  3. The "by-pass" bridge is ugly, and forever ruins the classic beauty of the Cabrillo Bridge.
  4. The "by-pass" bridge forever commits the Park to having parking in its core. It also eliminates the great potential for a grand public space on the surface of the Cabrillo Bridge that would come from either weekend closings, or a decision to close it to traffic forever.
  5. The Jacobs Plan scars the historic fabric of the Park, and endangers its designation as a National Historic Landmark.
  6. The Jacobs Plan requires the removal of many 100 + year old trees, many selected and planted by Kate Sessions, the "Mother" of the Park.
  7. And don't forget, the Court properly held the adoption of the Jacobs Plan to be illegal. The Committee will be liable for further legal feel when they loose the appeal. The City Council, wisely, declined to bring an appeal. The UT does not mention any legal error by the trial court Judge that would support the appeal. Because there are none.
  8. The Jacobs Plan has been driven by one man's large ego from the beginning. Unfortunately, that continues.

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