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Legal fight impacting San Diego's Sports Arena site to continue

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Posted at 4:32 PM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 21:50:34-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The city will appeal a recent court ruling that blocked its plan to overhaul the Midway district and allow dense redevelopment of the Sports Arena site.

Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal said on Dec. 10 that the city should have issued an Environmental Impact Report before putting Measure E the November 2020 ballot.

The measure, which passed with 56% approval, eliminated the 30 foot height limit in the Midway District and paved the way for the Sports Arena site to be redeveloped with housing, offices, a new arena and parkland.

A group called Save Our Access sued the city over the lack of environmental study and won.

"Currently, the city's initiatives are build, build, build, and I don't understand why that has to come at the cost of natural spaces or at the cost of the public," said Mandy Havlik, a Point Loma resident who is one of the group's members.

The legal decision made for another setback in the city's goal to redevelop the 48.5 acre site. Earlier this year, it invalidated a previous real-estate deal because it failed to declare the land as surplus under a state law that prioritizes affordable housing.

Now that that's corrected, Mayor Todd Gloria told KPBS that the city would appeal Bacal's ruling.

"We'll fight, and we'll fight like hell," he said. "The revitalization of the Midway District is critical to the future of our city, not just for a new sports venue but for the provision of housing that is attainable to low and middle income San Diegans."

The city is in the midst of a 90-day negotiating period with five developers. They were warned about the legal situation before submitting their plans.