Hearing on Legal Challenge Looms

| September 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

Mission Hills Heritage’s (MHH) legal challenge to the new Uptown Community Plan is finally heading toward a court hearing in late September. MHH’s legal challenge was filed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and is based on flaws in the environmental analysis underlying the community plan update.

As background, in November 2016 the City Council adopted a last minute re-write of the Uptown Community Plan that had been in the making for over seven years. Only days before the City Council voted, the Planning Department threw out land use maps that had been developed through years of community input and replaced them with maps based on the old 1988 plan. Similarly, the environmental analysis underpinning the project was hastily recrafted to fit the revised plan without properly analyzing and addressing that plan’s numerous, unmitigated impacts on the community. In an unprecedented move, the Planning Department ignored extensive recommendations from Uptown Planners, the City’s officially recognized community planning group for Uptown.

The resulting community plan will invite irreparable damage to the character of Mission Hills. MHH’s primary concerns include that the new community plan will allow new buildings up to 100’ tall or higher in the commercial core area of Mission Hills around Goldfinch and Washington Street, and that the new plan includes no timetable for processing potential historic districts identified many years ago for the Mission Hills neighborhood. For example, the resident’s initiate to approve a historic district for Inspiration Heights has been put on “ice” by city staff for the last several years, with no current plans to move the district forward.

MHH and co-petitioner Save Our Heritage Organisation began the challenge by filing a court petition against the City of San Diego in January 2017. Since then, the parties have prepared a lengthy administrative record, which is a compilation of all the documents relating to the community plan update process, and filed extensive briefs with the court. The San Diego Superior Court has scheduled a hearing on the petition to take place in late September 2018, although the date is subject to change.

MHH has primary responsible for funding the legal effort and the costs have been mounting. Please consider contributing to help defray the cost of MHH’s lawsuit. For more details, visit www.MissionHillsHeritage.org.

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