Thursday, October 31, 2013
Opponents of the San Diego City Council's plan for rezoning Barrio Logan turned in more than 53,000 petition signatures to the City Clerk's office Thursday in an attempt to get it rescinded.
Led by the area's three main shipyards, the group contends the rezoning will force their suppliers out of the area, and that would result in higher costs for the suppliers and the shipyards.
Both sides support idea of keeping residential areas separate from the industrial area south of downtown. The disagreement stems from the nature of a buffer zone, where maritime suppliers say the new rules could make them move.
A little less than 34,000 signatures need to be certified as those of registered voters for the City Council to rescind the zoning changes or put them to a vote.
"This overwhelming show of support demonstrates that the City Council adopted a flawed plan that represents a dangerous first step toward the elimination of San Diego's shipyards," said Derry Pence, president of the Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association.
"The shipyards have spent approximately $350 million in environmental and operational enhancements over the past decade and we are simply not prepared to risk this investment," Pence said at a news conference.
The shipyards provide thousands of middle-class jobs and help keep Navy ships at sea, he said.
The City Council adopted the plan on a 5-4 party line vote last month and replicated the vote in a second reading this month.
Two years ago, medical marijuana advocates collected enough voter signatures to get the council to reconsider restrictions on dispensaries.
Council members rescinded the ordinance, because they didn't want to spend the money for a public vote.
While the city is now in better financial shape, it is already shelling out millions on a special election for mayor on Nov. 19. However, a prospective referendum on the Barrio Logan zoning plan would cost less if consolidated with a runoff mayoral election early next year, should one be needed.