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  Who’s King of the Hill?
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

 

As we go to press, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) is hoping the question of which agency, the Commission or the City of San Diego, has jurisdiction over the Flower Hill property will be resolved “amicably.” The Flower Hill expansion project was unanimously approved by San Diego City Council on April 19, 2011 despite the Commission’s repeated correspondence with the City, since 2006, maintaining the property was in their permit jurisdiction not the City’s.

Deborah Lee, CCC San Diego District Manager, said that she is still hoping to meet with the City and the applicant to participate in a “more detailed review” of the project related to their concerns: visual impacts, limited visitor-serving uses and impaired access to the Coast, an important visitor destination. “The identified traffic impacts, while limited to (a segment of Via de la Valle) materially affects a major coastal access route and are therefore problematic,” the Commission stated in earlier correspondence. Further, “The identified mitigation is questionable since it would fail to guarantee that the needed road improvements…would either be permitted or completed.”

At the April 19 meeting, Councilmember Sherri Lightner asked staff if the jurisdictional question had been resolved. Both the City Attorney and the Department of Development Services responded that the question had been thoroughly vetted, and it was determined that the City had jurisdiction. Ms. Lee said that they were waiting for the City to file a Notice of Final Action before any further decisions were made. In the meantime, according to the Union Tribune, the organization Citizens Against Flower Hill Excessive Expansion filed a lawsuit on May 10 “generally contending that the Environmental Impact Report for the expansion was inadequately vetted given the mall’s location next to coastal wetlands.”

 

 
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