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Activists offer to settle lawsuit over Broadway Pier

October 18, 2010 - 10:02 pm

An activist group will drop its lawsuit over a cruise-ship terminal currently nearing completion on Broadway Pier if the Port of San Diego agrees to a series of conditions aimed at getting the most possible public access to the pier.

The Navy Broadway Complex Coalition (NBCC), an organization fighting for more public spaces along the Downtown waterfront, has sued the Port, claiming that the terminal under construction on Broadway Pier is illegal because it conflicts with the Port Master Plan, the Port’s guiding land-use blueprint. The case is scheduled to go to trial later this year.

However, according to a letter from Cory Briggs, the attorney representing NBCC, to the Board of Port Commissioners—dated Oct. 18 and sent to Port lawyers this evening—the group will drop the lawsuit if the Port agrees to, among other conditions:

  • bar any cruise ships from berthing at Broadway Pier between Memorial Day and Labor Day (Briggs says in the letter that Port officials have said publicly and under the penalty of perjury that San Diego’s cruise-ship industry operates only between Labor Day and Memorial Day—”If these statements were true, then making a commitment to keeping BP available exclusively for the public during the summer should be a no-brainer,” Briggs’ letter says);
  • bar any cruise ships from berthing at Broadway Pier between Labor Day and Memorial Day unless both berths at the neighboring B Street Pier are in use (Briggs says Port officials have said Broadway Pier is needed only for overflow);
  • cap at 20 the number of times ships may berth at Broadway Pier between Labor Day and Memorial Day;
  • conduct a study exploring the feasibility of moving the San Diego’s cruise-ship business to the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal (a popular idea among folks who want to rid the north embarcadero area of cruise ships and open Downtown’s western waterfront to strictly public enjoyment);
  • stop all spending on renovations of the cruise-ship facilities on B Street Pier (the main location of cruise-industry activities in San Diego) until the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal study has been completed and acted on;
  • and create a 205-foot-wide public park running from Hawthorne Street at the north end to Broadway at the south, either east or west of Harbor Drive, but in addition to the public esplanade already envisioned in the so-called North Embarcadero Visionary Plan (NEVP).

Briggs’ letter says the offer will expire at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 if the Port fails to accept it by that time.

NBCC member Ian Trowbridge told CityBeat in an e-mail: “We are trying to settle all our differences with the port on the NEVP and Broadway cruise ship terminal because we want to work cooperatively with the port in the future. Our settlement offer is from a position of strength not weakness, and we will go to trial if a reasonable settlement can’t be reached. I am convinced the public want the redevelopment of the downtown waterfront to be implemented as soon as possible but that they also want an open process that they can participate in.”

For a detailed history of the brouhaha surrounding Broadway and B Street piers, click here.

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