Memo Shows Options For Balboa Park Plan Revival
The San Diego City Attorney's Office revived a plan to remove vehicles from the center of Balboa Park, but probably not in time for a yearlong celebration of the park's centennial, City Council President Todd Gloria said Thursday.
A memo from City Attorney Jan Goldsmith on the Plaza de Panama plan, which was shot down in court, said the City Council could exempt the project from certain required findings that proved to be the project's legal Achilles heel.
The plan advanced by Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs was to build a bridge to carry traffic away from the Plaza de Panama and Plaza de California and build a parking garage near the Spreckels Organ Pavilion that would be partly under ground.
Preservationists, led by the Save Our Heritage Organisation, opposed the plan because the bypass bridge would risk the park's standing as a historic site.
The City Council approved the Jacobs plan, but preservationists got it set aside when a judge ruled that council members wrongly found that the project area has no reasonable beneficial use if the plan does not go forward — a finding needed to alter a historic resource.
Goldsmith said the council could waive the requirement for the finding, but that council members were not allowed to bring the plan forward on their own.
"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,'' Gloria said. "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.''
Goldsmith said the proposal would have to go through the Planning Commission and two City Council hearings again.
In an interview after the court ruling in early February, Jacobs said the project was "over.''