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Judge cuts Navy Broadway Complex opponents off at knees in tentative ruling

April 21, 2009 - 6:30 pm

Bet you forgot about the Navy Broadway Complex, huh? Well, even though developer Doug Manchester has slimmed down his development team, the lawsuits have carried on. And a tentative ruling today from Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager gave the Navy Broadway Complex Coaltion (NBCC) a sound thrashing, finding in favor of the Navy and developer Doug Manchester on every complaint.

The Complex, a clump of five tall buildings intended for 16-acres of Navy land at the end of Broadway near the shore, has been the subject of legal and political battles at the federal, state and local levels for years now. Hotelier Manchester has agreed to build the Navy a new Southwest region headquarters in exchange for a long-term lease and the right to build hotels and offices on the land.

The Navy Broadway Complex Coalition, which would prefer to see a radically different, more people- and environment-friendly project than the office-hotel complex proposed by Manchester, have argued that since the last environmental review conducted on the site was in 1992, there needs to be a new study.

A few key points from the judge’s tentative ruling:

Seismic activity: The NBCC has often claimed that there is an active fault on the site. Compounding the problem of a fault, they argued, is that the type of earth at the site would “liquefy,” placing the foundations of the building in grave danger in the event of an earthquake. The judge observed that several mitigations had been put in place, and that no evidence of a fault was found in a 1992 geological study.

Danger of terrorism: NBCC lawyers argue that a Navy headquarters building located in the heart of San Diego’s Downtown presents an inviting target for terrorists. The judge ruled that this was not a subject for environmental studies.

Water supply: Opponents argued that the current reductions in the local water supply demand further study. The judge found that the 1992 environmental study effectively addressed the problem.

Greenhouse gases: NBCC argues that the project should have to address greenhouse gas emissions in its design. The judge found that the California Environmental Quality Act does not currently call for such analysis. While the California Office of Planning and Research is drafting guidelines to address greenhouse gases, the judge wrote, “Public agencies are not required to consider or draft regulations when evaluating a project.”

This ruling doesn’t end the fight for the NBCC, as it still has a federal case going forward, and it could appeal. A formal hearing on the state-level issues will take place tomorrow, in which NBCC attorneys will try to convince Judge Prager that he got it wrong.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Mike permalink
    June 29, 2009 - 12:49 pm 12:49 pm

    Good article, Mr Wolff.
    Mike Copass

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