Aerial view of Midway District
An aerial view of the Midway District along Sports Arena Boulevard. Courtesy City of San Diego

A city of San Diego ballot measure that would remove the 30-foot coastal height limit for buildings in the Midway District appeared Thursday to have been approved by a narrow margin.

With less than 15,000 ballots left to tally in the county from the Nov. 8 election, the measure was ahead by around 9,000 votes, with a margin of 51.1% to 48.9%.

It was unclear how many of the still-outstanding ballots are from the city of San Diego.

Measure C’s passage would exclude the 1,324-acre Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area from the existing 30-foot height limit on buildings, which supporters say will spur housing opportunities and revitalize a run-down neighborhood.

Measure C’s supporters included San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, Councilman Chris Cate, and the Midway Community Planning Group. In their ballot statement, supporters said the measure “is the key to creating a pedestrian- friendly, transit-oriented community with entertainment, shops, and outdoor recreation.” They also said the Midway District is not a coastal area and should not have been included in the Coastal Height Limit Zone established in 1972.

Cate took to Twitter to thank supporters of the measure.

“Thank you to all the San Diegans that have once again supported lifting the height limit in the Midway District, and supporting the vision for more housing and opportunities in this neighborhood,” he wrote.

Opponents said removing the height limit would block coastal views and cause density issues leading to traffic congestion in the area.

In 2020, voters approved an identical measure to remove the height limit, but opponents sued the city and a judge ruled in their favor, stating that the city did not conduct proper environmental analysis before putting that measure before voters.

“Identical in wording to Measure E in 2020, which received 57% of the vote, we believe the uncertainty over the outcome and lower margin of approval indicates that voters have become more wary of proposals airily claiming to provide “affordable housing,” read a statement from Keep the Coast 30, an opposition group to the measure. “With this in mind, we want it known that our efforts have not ended with this election but only just begun. We will continue to organize and work with other grassroots groups to protect our coastal areas, and urge those wanting to do the same to join with us.”

Opponents again sued in an attempt to block Measure C, alleging that the city’s latest environmental impact analysis only studied the measure’s effect on views, and not other factors such as traffic, air and water quality.

Opponents, including environmental group Save Our Access, said the measure will force “high-rise development into existing beach communities” to the benefit of developers. Save Our Access, which filed both lawsuits challenging the height limit ballot measures, say more parks and open space would be beneficial, rather than high-rise development projects.

–City News Service


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Ellen Bullock