SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A community group Friday lost its bid to get a referendum on an updated zoning plan in Barrio Logan removed from the June 3 ballot.
The Environmental Health Coalition showed that one of three arguments made to prospective petition signers by the zoning plan's opponents was misleading, but it was not enough to keep voters from weighing in on the issue, Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp ruled following oral arguments.
The judge said she legally had "very limited power" to remove a ballot item.
Maritime industry executives who oppose the zoning plan update -- the first for Barrio Logan in 35 years -- collected enough petition signatures to force the City Council to place the issue on the ballot. But the Environmental Health Coalition, which played a key role in developing the plan, filed a lawsuit aimed at preventing the public vote.
The new zoning plan, which is on hold pending the electoral outcome, seeks to separate industrial and residential land uses that are intermingled in the economically disadvantaged neighborhood south of downtown San Diego.
Supporters, which include the coalition, call the zoning update a "compromise" that would reduce pollution for residents. But maritime industry executives fear a buffer zone created to enable the separation will eventually drive suppliers out of the area, raising costs.
The judge agreed with EHC attorney Marco Gonzalez that petition signature-gatherers misled prospective signers by claiming the new zoning regulations would lead to 46,000 job losses and $14 billion in lost revenues. But she said he failed to meet his burden regarding other claims made by the signature-gatherers -- that the Navy could eventually leave San Diego and that residential development could encroach on industrial areas.
Gonzalez said their "fundamentally flawed" statements presented a "misleading image" of the impact of the new regulations.
Brad Hertz, an attorney for the San Diego Ship Repair Association -- which sponsored the petition drive -- said the statements were the "subjective view" of the plan's opponents, who fear a domino effect that would hurt an industry critical to the region's economy.
"Democracy is the remedy," Hertz told the judge. "We have two months in which the Environmental Health Coalition can raise any issue they want to."
After the hearing, Gonzalez said the coalition will campaign against the referendum and let voters know that the industry claims were found to be misleading. He also said the coalition would consider its appellate options.
The San Diego City Council Monday unanimously approved a plan to revitalize the Midway and Pacific Highway communities by adding parkland, pedestrian pathways and increased capacity for housing and making a series of traffic improvements.
A fiery multi-vehicle crash on state Route 163 near Miramar sent one person to a hospital Tuesday morning.
Tuesday is one of the cheesiest days of the year. Sept. 18 is the made-up holiday of National Cheeseburger Day, and restaurants are celebrating with discounts and free burgers.
Controversy swirled up again in Encinitas over a staircase project proposed for Beacon’s Beach. The city has long been looking to replace the iconic Switchback Trail leading to Beacon’s Beach with a concrete staircase but many residents are not embracing the idea.
Stretches of state Route 163 will be closed beginning Monday night and continuing through Friday morning for maintenance work and to reduce the height of the overpass at Friars Road, Caltrans announced.
Temperatures Tuesday are near average, continuing to cool through Friday. Gusty winds in the mountains and deserts from the afternoon through evening.
The 22-year-old man who was shot by sheriff's deputies near the ticket window of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club was arraigned at his hospital bed at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla on Monday.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa said Monday that he plans to blast off on the first-ever commercial trip around the moon and will invite six to eight artists, architects, designers and other creative people on the weeklong journey.
A U.S. citizen was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Diego Monday on charges of stealing nearly $100,000 in Social Security disability benefits by concealing his overseas residency for almost a decade.