Balboa Park Plans Come to Screeching Halt

Judge may rule against city’s plans to renovate Balboa Park

By Lauren Steussy and Brandi Powell
|  Friday, Dec 16, 2011  |  Updated 2:33 PM PDT
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Plaza de Panama Plan in Images

Balboa Park

An image of the conceptual design for the same area.

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A San Diego judge issued a temporary ruling on Thursday that could significantly slow down plans for a renovated Balboa Park.

A city-approved Memorandum of Understanding with the Plaza de Panama Committee served as a contract to continue planning for a new parking garage. The garage would remove traffic from the center of the park.

In response to the memorandum, the Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) sued the San Diego Superior Court. SOHO claimed the city approved the contract before the completion of a State environmental review.

The temporary ruling deemed the memorandum illegal for the time being on Friday. Judge Judith F. Hayes said she’d get back to both sides “as soon as possible” with an answer, though she would not specify when that might be.

Neither side would talk on the record about Judge Hayes' ruling since it is still pending.

This isn’t the first major road block for the renovations. On June 8, the city’s Rules Committee voted “no confidence” in the project. This caused Plaza de Panama Committee Chair and Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs to suspend his work on the project.

SOHO has continuously targeted the renovation plans, claiming that the bypass bridge, paid parking garage and other changes alter the park.

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