2nd appeal filed over plan to clear cars from Balboa Park

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plaza de panama

Proposed parking structure for Plaza de Panama.

SAN DIEGO — A second appeal was filed Monday over a legally aborted plan to remove vehicles from the center of Balboa Park.

The Save Our Heritage Organisation, a preservationist group that won a court battle to stop the vehicle removal proposal backed financially by Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, said it filed its court action over some issues in which it did not prevail.

Last week, Jacobs’ Plaza de Panama Committee appealed San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor’s ruling that the City Council, in approving the plan, wrongly found that the project area has no reasonable beneficial use if the proposal does not go forward — a finding needed to alter a historic resource.

SOHO opposed the Jacobs plan because it would have led to construction of a bridge on the west end of the park. SOHO leaders contend the bridge would have been unsightly and would threaten the park’s historic status.

“Since the Plaza de Panama Committee has now filed an appeal, SOHO has cross-appealed on the issues on which it did not prevail in court or which the trial judge did not need to reach after ruling in favor of SOHO, including interpretation of laws preventing a paid parking garage in the `free and public park,’ adherence to the city’s general and specific (zoning) plans, and compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act,” SOHO Executive Director Bruce Coons said.

SOHO supports the removal of vehicle traffic from the center of the park, just not the way Jacobs wants to do it.

The group backs a proposal by Mayor Bob Filner to shut off traffic entering the area from the Cabrillo Bridge on weekends and holidays. The mayor also wants to get rid of parking stripes in the plaza and relocate handicapped and valet parking areas.

The Cabrillo Bridge is scheduled to be closed for four months early next year, anyway, for earthquake retrofitting work by Caltrans.

3 comments

  • Historic Beauty

    It's very inconsiderate when people that are not handicap can just decide to remove all the handicap parking close to the buildings and Prado that was convenient for disabled parking. Have you ever been there with a person in a wheelchair, walker or using a cane and had to park a half mile away and walk up a steep hills when movement is only 1 mile per hour?. Forced to stand and wait in a dislocated parking lot for a tram bus that will also most likely be difficult for disabled to climb into (they don't go up steps well). The idea of any underground parking garage stinks like the exhaust that it would produce and force people to breath as they wait in line to get out. Keep the parking lots free so everyone can afford to go to the park not just the rich who can afford 5, 10 or 15 for a parking garage or other parking fees. The park already lacks adequate security at night a parking garage would create a whole host of new problems and smells.

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