September 2011 home page

  Covering Its Bases
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

Protea Properties, the developer renovating the Flower Hill shopping mall on Via de la Valle, has now filed a Coastal Development Permit, stepping away from the ‘whose jurisdiction is it’ dispute and leaving the City of San Diego and the California Coastal Commission (CCC) to slug it out.

At issue is whether the Coastal Commission or the City of San Diego, which approved the development in April, has jurisdiction over the property. The renovation adds 75,000 square feet to the current 112,000 sq. ft shopping area and was approved by San Diego despite warnings as early as 2006 from the Commission’s San Diego District Office that the property was in the Commission’s jurisdiction and a Coastal Development Permit was required. A big chunk of the added footage is for a new 35,000 sq. foot Whole Foods Market.

old growth trees killed

In the meantime, the Flower Hill movie theatre is gone and the hillside behind is being sculpted for a four-story parking structure and the Market, despite a warning that continued work could result in a $15,000 a day penalty for proceeding without the Permit. Protea Holdings plans to continue construction in order to meet their time commitment with Whole Foods. In the meantime City and San Diego Commission staffs continue to meet in an effort to resolve the issue. If there is no resolution at the local staff level, the dispute could go the full Commission, an independent, quasi-judicial state agency appointed by the Governor, the Senate Rues Committee and Speaker of the Assembly, for a decision. The next Commission meeting is scheduled for September 7-9 in Crescent City.

In other action, San Diego Superior Court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Citizens for the Excessive Expansion of Flower who claimed that the Environmental Impact Report for the expansion was inadequate given the mall’s location next to the coastal wetlands.





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