Council decides not to rescind Barrio Logan buffer zone

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego City Council decided today to place the
fate of new zoning regulations in Barrio Logan into the hands of voters.

The update of the Barrio Logan Community Plan was approved by the
council on a pair of 5-4 party-line votes in September and October. However,
the document was opposed by shipyards, which collected enough petition
signatures to force the council to decide whether to repeal the plan or put it
on a ballot.

The council opted to put the issue on the ballot on June 3.

The Barrio Logan plan seeks to separate industrial and residential land
uses, which are intermingled in the economically disadvantaged neighborhood
south of downtown San Diego.

Supporters 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.

Councilman David Alvarez, the mayoral candidate who guided the zoning
update through the approval process, said he was “disappointed” and
“disheartened” by claims made by opponents. He disputed their contentions
that the Navy would leave San Diego and that the maritime industry would lose
46,000 jobs under the plan.

“I think that the misinformation that was spread is quite shameful,
especially when it comes from reputable sources, or those who consider
themselves reputable,” Alvarez said. He said no one wanted to lose the jobs
that the area's residents depend on.

His opponent in the Feb. 11 mayoral runoff election, Councilman Kevin
Faulconer, said the two sides agree on 90 percent of the new zoning plan, and
that the patchwork zoning in the area is in “desperate need of an overhaul,”
but not at the expense of an industry “that creates thousands of jobs and
contributes billions of dollars to our local economy.”

“We must create strong, long-term protections for San Diego families,
and the jobs on which they depend,” Faulconer said. “And let's remember that
these are some of the best manufacturing jobs that any San Diegan has the
opportunity to fill.”

Derry Pence, president of the San Diego Ship Repair Association — which
sponsored the petition drive — said the city has “removed the welcome mat
for industry” in Barrio Logan.

Land-use consultant Joe LaCava said the plan wasn't perfect, but struck
“the right balance” between competing interests.

“To overturn the council's approval sends the wrong message about
participating in community plan updates,” LaCava said.

Development of Barrio Logan's zoning update took about five years, and
included numerous public meetings. Meanwhile, work is underway to update
community plans in around 50 neighborhoods around town.

The Barrio Logan issue will appear as two items — one for each City
Council action — on the ballot in June as part of a primary election for
council seats and other legislative races at different levels of government.

There's still a chance the zoning plan might not make it to the ballot.
One of the plan's primary supporters, the Environmental Health Coalition, sued
the Ship Repair Association in an effort to invalidate the signatures. The
coalition contends that alleged falsehoods uttered by the signature gatherers
should void their work.

A Superior Court judge denied the coalition's bid for a temporary
restraining order, but the lawsuit remains alive.

Categories: KUSI