Save Our Heritage Organisation
SOHO Sues to Challenge City's Approval of General Plan
On April 14, 2008, Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) sued the City of San Diego, challenging approval of the new General Plan and related amendments to its Land Development Code without compliance with state law protecting historic resources. The lawsuit also challenges the City's failure to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). San Diego County Superior Court Case No. 37-2008-00081864-CU-WM-CTL is now pending before Judge Ronald Prager.
The General Plan relies upon a mitigation framework to reduce impacts to historic resources. Mitigation includes, among other things, reliance on the Mills Act that provides tax incentives for rehabilitation of qualified historic properties. However, the City is already contemplating changes to its implementation of the Mills Act, upon recommendation of the Mayor, that would significantly reduce protections to historic resources in contravention of law. While some of the changes proposed to the City's Mills Act program relative to monitoring and enforcement would be beneficial some suggested changes would unlawfully reduce feasible mitigations of General Plan impacts to historic resources or are otherwise contrary to state law.
The lawsuit also claims that the EIR for the General Plan failed to include an adequate analysis of the environmental setting and of the impacts of build-out relative to historic, cultural, and archaeological resources; failed to identify areas most likely to face development-related impacts to historic resources; failed to identify and analyze feasible programmatic mitigation measures and a reasonable range of alternatives to address potentially significant impacts of the General Plan and its implementing ordinances on historic resources; and deferred adoption of programmatic mitigation to future study and to undefined community plans and the improperly deferred General Plan Action Plan.
SOHO Executive Director Bruce Coons stated that, "We hope to work with the City to correct the inadequacies of the General Plan to adequately mitigate effects on the City's irreplaceable and unique historic resources."
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