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Final vote to remove Midway District Height Limits will be with judges, not San Diego voters

Voters approve Measure C while the city faces an uphill court battle to prevent the vote from being moot.
Credit: KFMB
Rendering of the Midway Rising project

SAN DIEGO — With only a few thousand votes left to count and a 9,000-vote lead, the effort to remove building height limits in San Diego's Midway District was victorious, however, the final decision is yet to be decided and will come from the courtroom and not the voters. 

San Diego's Registrar of Voters is tallying the final votes. As it does, Measure C's main proponents, including city councilmember Chris Cate, are celebrating the victory. 

The victory, they say, will now allow the developers of the Midway Rising plan to overhaul the Sports Arena and bring thousands of new apartments, many of which will be set aside for those living under San Diego's median income levels.

Credit: KFMB
Rendering of the Midway Rising project

RELATED: San Diego chooses developer to redevelop sports arena site

In a November 14 tweet, city councilmember Chris Cate wrote, "I've seen enough. Thank you to all the San Diegans that have once again supported lifting the height limit in the Midway District, and supporting the vision for more housing and opportunities in this neighborhood." 

However, an ongoing court battle, as first reported on by CBS 8, is placing that victory in peril and could force the city to start the process from scratch, rendering Measure C moot.

That lawsuit is from the group Save Our Access, the same group that sued and won over the city's previous attempt to raise the Midway Height limit. As was the case the first go around, the new lawsuit challenges the city's environmental review and the expected impacts that raising the height limits will have on the environment as well as the residents. 

"The city took a second bite of the apple to push the ordinance through but failed to address all of the other major environmental factors that need to be addressed when doing something of this magnitude," says the attorney handling the case, Everett DeLano. "For instance, they addressed the aesthetic and view issue but completely glossed over the impacts from increased density, traffic, and other concerns."

DeLano says that as was the case in 2020, if a judge once again sides with Save Our Access then it is back to the drawing board for the city, leaving voters potentially having to vote yet another time to remove the height limit.

"If the judge in the second lawsuit sides with Save Our Access, then that would invalidate everything and force the city to start over again for the third time."

RELATED: New lawsuit could threaten fate of a massive redevelopment of the city's Sports Arena site

WATCH RELATED: The battle over the best way to develop San Diego's Midway District played out at a public forum (October 2022):

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