A local advocacy group says the City of San Diego deleted a line from a master plan document in order to allow a hotel owner to redevelop their bayfront resort.
Cory Briggs, the attorney for San Diegans for Open Government, filed a lawsuit last week against the City to stop a massive expansion of the Bahia Resort Hotel.
If the project moves forward, a large percentage of the 170 public parking spots on Gleason Road along Mission Bay will be demolished to make room for the hotel’s renovation. That renovation will nearly double the size of the Bahia Resort from 310 rooms to 600 rooms.
Residents throughout San Diego attended public meetings in opposition to the plan and held public rallies against the proposal from Evans Hotels. They said removing the parking will prevent access to the bay and give the hotel public land to build their resort on.
Despite the public opposition, the Mission Bay Park Committee approved the plan in January of this year.
But the lawsuit filed in California Superior Court aims to prevent the city council from giving final approval.
The lawsuit alleges that on October 3, the City’s Planning Department made an “administrative correction” to the Mission Bay Park Master Plan, deleting a sentence drafted in 1997 to “retain Gleason Road” in its current state. Deleting the phrase clears the way for the council to approve the project and for the hotel owner to build.
According to the lawsuit, that decision was approved “unilaterally by City’s director of the planning department, and not by the city council, without any prior public notice, public input.” Doing so, claims the lawsuit, violates the City’s Municipal Code.
The attorney for the group Cory Briggs tells NBC 7 the decision to remove the line from the Mission Bay Park Master Plan is another example of the city working in the interest of hotel owners and not the public.
“They seem to think the public stopped paying attention,” says Briggs. “The courts will remind them that the public’s right of access cannot be eliminated with a bottle of White-Out.”
NBC 7 Responds reached out to the City Attorney’s Office for comment. A spokesperson said the office “will review the case and respond through the courts.”