Council members Dr. Jennifer Campbell of District 2, which includes Midway, and Chris Cate of District 6, combined to champion the proposed ballot measure that would exclude the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area from coastal zone height limits restricting vertical construction to 30 feet.
In proposing the ballot measure, Campbell noted Midway went through a recent community plan update she described as a “robust process.” She stressed that only the relatively small Midway planning area was included in the proposal, noting Midway does not offer ocean views. She pointed out the existing Pechanga Arena (formerly Sports Arena), which just began a long redevelopment planning process, is 77 feet tall.
“The Midway community has been asking for this change for several years,” Campbell said. “They need to build up, not out. This community is in need of improvement. Removing the height limit would provide a new vision for Midway by attracting needed investment.”
Cate said excluding Midway from the 30-foot-height limit “doesn’t touch any other community.” He said the measure would be passed by a simple majority vote.
The two dissenting votes were cast by District 1 Council members Barbara Bry and Georgette Gomez.
“I’m voting no on this item because it does not consider other development that is planned in this community, and it will have major impacts that need to be considered,” said Bry.
Gomez said she was troubled by a technical issue she saw in the ballot proposal.
Ward of District 3 favored voters deciding the issue adding he like the possible tie-in with a proposal to link the nearby Old Town Trolley hub with a future connection to San Diego International Airport.
District 8 Councilmember Scott Sherman “loved the idea,” while District 4 Councilmember Monica Montgomery said, “voters should have the opportunity to decide.”
Public testimony was mixed.
Point Loma resident Korla Eaquinta was opposed. “With the pandemic, there are better ways to spend money today than placing profits over the community,” she said. “If you allow one exemption, that will lead to more exemptions.”
Cathy Kenton, chair of the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group, was all-in on the proposed change.
“This is a critical measure for Midway and it never should have been included in Prop. D (authorizing the 30-foot height limit),” she said. “This could lead to the creation of an exciting community where people want to live, raise their families, play, and work.”
Dike Anyiwo, also of Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group, concurred. “It would enable us to have more of a neighborhood in our community,” he said.
The ballot measure was also supported at the hearing by Circulate San Diego and by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“This measure, if approved, would benefit our City,” said Campbell. “It would not only create jobs but increase the opportunity to provide an important and needed transportation network while funding infrastructure. Most important, it would close the gap in needed housing.”