SOHO Sues City Over Plaza de Panama Plan

Two weeks after San Diego's city councilmembers voted to enter into a partnership with Irwin Jacobs and his Plaza de Panama Committee, members of Save Our Heritage Organisation continue to fight. This time, however, the fight will not go down in council chambers but instead will take place in a courtroom.

On August 2, SOHO filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego for failing "to comply with state environmental laws" when the council joined efforts with Irwin Jacobs' Plaza de Panama Committee to remove cars from the plaza, build a parking garage behind the Organ Pavilion, and possibly erect a bypass road off the Cabrillo Bridge.

Members of the historic preservation group believe Irwin Jacobs glamored the council with a $25 million commitment.

"The inescapable point of the contract was explained by Plaza de Panama Committee Chair Irwin Jacobs, who requested that the Council "agree" with his project's "vision and goals" just as expressed in the [memorandum of understanding]. Otherwise, it was made clear, the Committee would walk away from the project as it did in June when the Rules Committee declined to endorse the [memorandum of understanding]," was the statement from SOHO.

SOHO is demanding that the Memorandum Of Understanding be delayed until the environmental review process is underway.

"It is simply too early to commit to the "vision" of the Plaza de Panama project as now proposed. SOHO contends that as a practical matter the MOU will have environmental consequences by influencing the shape of future development in Balboa Park.

"Scores of San Diego residents and organizations contend that the project would have devastating impacts on the iconic architecture and cultural landscapes of Balboa Park, a national historic landmark."

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