Public could vote on Barrio Logan zoning project - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Public could vote on Barrio Logan zoning project

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The City Council is scheduled Tuesday to decide whether to rescind recently adopted zoning regulations in Barrio Logan or put them to a public vote.

The update of the Barrio Logan Community Plan was opposed by shipyards, which collected enough petition signatures to force action by the council.

The zoning update was approved on a pair of 5-4 party-line votes in separate decisions in September and October.

The plan seeks to separate industrial and residential land uses, which are intermingled in the economically disadvantaged neighborhood south of downtown San Diego.

However, shipyard officials fear a buffer zone created to enable the separation will eventually drive suppliers out of the area, raising costs.

The San Diego Ship Repair Association sponsored separate referendum drives to undo the zoning update -- and one received enough signatures to force the City Council to rescind the plan or subject it to a public vote. The other petitions are still being counted.

Environmentalists, housing advocates and some union officials on Monday urged the council to put the issue before voters, likely on a ballot in June.

"It's clear that the greedy executives running these out-of-state corporations don't care about the folks living and working in Barrio Logan," said Georgette Gomez, associate director of the Environmental Health Coalition.

"We want (the) City Council to stay the course by sending the Barrio Logan Community Plan to a citywide vote and telling the industry they can't buy democracy in San Diego."

Opponents, however, say the impact of costly restrictions will eventually result in job losses.

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, often a swing vote on the City Council, said recently he does not intend to repeal the zoning plan.

Faced with similar situations in the recent past -- over restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries and big-box warehouse stores -- the council has voted to rescind their previous actions.

However, the city's finances have improved since then.

Civic observers believe the decision the council makes on the zoning plan could affect future referendum drives. A business group is gearing up to fight the council's passage last week of a fee on new commercial construction to fund affordable housing, and the marijuana zoning issue is due back before the panel as soon as next month.

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