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Tuesday November 8, 2022 — California General Election
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Local

City of San Diego
Measure C Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Passed

204,238 votes yes (51.1%)

195,156 votes no (48.9%)

100% of precincts reporting (850/850).

427,507 ballots counted.

Shall People's Ordinance O-10960 be amended to exclude the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area, which includes the Sports Arena, from the 30-foot height limit on buildings in the Coastal Zone, with any future development still required to comply with other governing laws?

Midway Rising is the redevelopment proposal that the City has approved for the Midway District, if Measure C passes.

Note that Measure C itself does not determine any specific real estate transaction or proposal.

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by Michelle Morgan & Myles Pomeroy, volunteers with the League of Women Voters of San Diego

The Question

Should buildings taller than 30 feet be allowed in the area near the San Diego Sports Arena?

The Situation

Measure D was adopted in 1972 to place a 30” height limit on buildings in the Coastal Zone.  At the time, conditions in San Diego were much different than now. At that time, most buildings were 30 feet or lower in height. There was no housing crisis and the Midway area was dominated by businesses that catered to the military as well as various strip commercial uses. The San Diego Sports Arena was built in 1966 but today the facility is generally considered to be outdated and not responsive to current needs. Now, the City desires to redevelop the Sports Arena site for mixed use as well as the larger Midway-Pacific Highway community to make it more transit and pedestrian oriented. 

The State Surplus Lands Act requires the City to first make any surplus land available for affordable housing with a minimum of 25% of the units to be affordable.

The Proposal

Would amend the San Diego Municipal Code to exclude the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan Area from the 30 foot height limit on buildings in the Coastal Zone. Building height would then be regulated by the height limit of the underlying zone. The remainder of the Coastal Zone would remain unchanged.

Fiscal effect

The Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan details many expected service needs increases based on the underlying zoning in the community. Increased City tax revenues (most significantly increased sales tax and property tax tied to private development) resulting from such economic growth are expected to be partially or fully offset by increased public expenditures. 

The potential impact to the City’s General Fund cannot be determined at this time.

Supporters say

  • Will create thousands of affordable homes and good paying jobs and revitalize the dilapidated Midway area.
  • Catalyst to modernizing the 54 year old Sports Arena and is the key to creating a pedestrian-friendly, transit oriented community with entertainment, shops and outdoor recreation.

 

Supporters:

Chris Cate, San Diego City Councilmember
Todd Gloria, Mayor
Dike Anyiwo, Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group
Nicole Capretz, Climate Action Campaign
Davie Gauthier, San Diego Building & Construction Trades Family Housing Corporation

Opponents say

  • Would allow dense construction of expensive residential towers within the Coastal Zone.
  • City politicians put this measure on the ballot to reward their developer and special interest friends with lucrative contracts and development deals which come at a massive cost to taxpayers.

 

Opponents:

Carolyn Chase, Earth Day Organizer
Philip Halpern, San Diego Character
John McNab, Save Our Access
Carl DeMaio, Reform California

Details — Official information

YES vote means

If approved by a majority vote of qualified voters who vote on the measure, this measure would amend the Municipal Code to change the height limit in the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area.

Summary

Office of the San Diego City Attorney; PDF published by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters

BALLOT TITLE

Amending the San Diego Municipal Code to Exclude the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan Area from the 30-Foot Height Limit on Buildings in the Coastal Zone.

 

BALLOT SUMMARY

This measure would amend the San Diego Municipal Code (Municipal Code) to exclude the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area (Community Plan area) from the existing 30-foot height limit on buildings.

This measure does not approve any specific development. Any proposed future development must comply with all governing laws at the time a development project application is submitted to the City of San Diego (City). Zoning laws in the Municipal Code would still regulate building height.

In 1972, voters in the City approved a citizens’ initiative measure that limited the height of buildings to 30 feet in the Coastal Zone (Height Limit Ordinance). Voters adopted the original language of the Height Limit Ordinance and are asked in this measure to consider an amendment to that law.

As defined in the Height Limit Ordinance, the geographic boundaries of the Coastal Zone include the City’s land and water area from the northern City limits, south to the border of Mexico, extending seaward to the outer limit of the City’s jurisdiction and inland to Interstate 5.

The Community Plan area contains approximately 1,324 acres of land. The approximate boundaries of the Community Plan area are Interstate 8 on the north, the San Diego International Airport on the south, Interstate 5 on the east, and Lytton Drive on the west. The Community Plan area includes the land surrounding Midway Drive and Sports Arena Boulevard, including the Pechanga Sports Arena. A map is included in the voter pamphlet and as part of this measure.

On November 3, 2020, the Height Limit Ordinance was amended by a majority of the City’s voters, as Measure E, for the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area (Measure E) and codified as Municipal Code section 132.0505(b)(4). A court entered a judgment granting a writ of mandate in Case No. 37-2020-00030308-CU-TT-CTL invalidating all of the City’s approvals to place Measure E on the November 3, 2020 ballot (Superior Court Decision). The City has appealed the Superior Court Decision and does not expect to receive a decision before the election on November 8, 2022. The City Council has approved to place the measure again before the voters.

If approved by a majority vote of qualified voters who vote on the measure, this measure would amend the Municipal Code to change the height limit in the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area. The amendments would take effect after the City Council certifies the results of the election. The measure includes language making the measure ineffective if a court reverses the Superior Court Decision on the previous Measure E and there are no further appeals related to Measure E.

 

PDF

Background

Office of the San Diego City Attorney; PDF published by the City of San Diego City Clerk

The City Council has directed the City Attorney to prepare a ballot title, summary, and impartial analysis of a measure that would amend the San Diego Municipal Code (People’s Ordinance No. O-10960) related to Coastal Zone height limits in the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area, which the City Council voted to place on the November 2022 ballot. (See Resolution R-314247, adopted July 25, 2022.)

The measure seeks approval to amend the San Diego Municipal Code (People’s Ordinance No. O-10960) by amending Article 2, Division 5, Section 132.0505.

The City Council adopted ordinance O-21508 on July 25, 2022, to submit the measure to the voters on the November 8, 2022, Municipal Special Election ballot.

 

PDF

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Office of the San Diego City Attorney; PDF published by the City of San Diego City Clerk

CITY ATTORNEY’S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS

In 1972, City of San Diego (City) voters passed Proposition D. Proposition D was a citizens’ initiative that amended the San Diego Municipal Code (Municipal Code) to impose a 30-foot limit on the height of buildings constructed in the City’s Coastal Zone.

The Coastal Zone, as defined by Proposition D and included in the Municipal Code, includes the City’s land and water area from the northern City limits, south to the border of Mexico, extending seaward to the outer limit of the City’s jurisdiction and inland to Interstate 5. The Coastal Zone excludes the land bounded by National City on the south, San Diego Bay on the west, and Laurel Street or the southwesterly projection of Laurel Street on the north.

This measure would amend the language placed in the Municipal Code by Proposition D in one community plan area only. Because voters approved the original language, voters are now asked to consider an amendment to the language through this measure.

The amendment would allow buildings, or additions to buildings, that exceed the 30-foot height limit to be built in the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area (Community Plan area). The Community Plan area contains approximately 1,324 acres of land surrounding Midway Drive and Sports Arena Boulevard, including the Pechanga Sports Arena. The Community Plan area is shown on a map in the voter pamphlet that is incorporated into this ballot measure.

The measure is similar to the amendment approved by a majority of the City’s voters in November 2020 (Measure E), which was invalidated by a Superior Court decision. The City has appealed the Superior Court decision and does not expect to receive a decision before the election on November 8, 2022. The City Council has approved to place the measure again before the voters.

This measure does not approve any specific development. Any new development must comply with all governing laws at the time a development project application is submitted to the City.

Zoning laws in the Municipal Code will continue to apply to regulate building heights. Any proposed development within the portions of the Community Plan area subject to Coastal Commission jurisdiction under the California Coastal Act would continue to require Coastal Commission approval.

This measure was proposed by members of the City Council, which voted to place it on the ballot. If approved by a majority of the qualified voters voting on the measure, the Municipal Code would be amended after City Council certifies the election results. The measure includes language making this measure ineffective if a court reverses the Superior Court decision on the previous Measure E and there are no further appeals. If a court reverses the Superior Court decision, Measure E will be in effect instead.

 

(Text transcribed by Voter's Edge volunteers from pages 3-4 the City Attorney's August 12 memo to the City Clerk — PDF here)

Financial effect

Office of the Independent Budget Analyst; PDF published by the City of San Diego City Clerk

FISCAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR CITY MEASURE ON NOVEMBER 8, 2022 BALLOT

MEASURE C – REMOVING 30-FOOT HEIGHT LIMIT IN MIDWAY-PACIFIC HIGHWAY COMMUNITY PLAN AREA

 

This measure would amend the Height Limit Ordinance codified in San Diego Municipal Code section 132.0505 to exclude the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area from the 30- foot height limit for development in the Coastal Zone. The Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area encompasses approximately 1,324 acres, of which 88 acres is owned by the City of San Diego, including the current Pechanga Sports Arena site.

Removing the 30-foot coastal height limit from the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area does not increase the maximum allowed residential and non-residential density in the Community Plan area, but may hasten the achievement of maximum allowed development density by making it more feasible. Thus, removing the 30-foot coastal height limit from the area may result in increased economic growth in the area over time including, but not limited to, residential, hotel, office, retail, defense industries, and businesses that cater to the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command facility and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

This type of economic growth typically results in a greater demand for public services in the area which requires increased expenditures from the City’s General Fund. The Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan details many of these expected service needs based on the underlying zoning in the community. Partially or fully offsetting these increased public expenditures will be an increase in City tax revenues (most significantly increased sales tax and property tax tied to private development).

Although an increase in allowable building height may spur additional development and economic activity, the potential impact to the City’s General Fund cannot be determined at this time. The net fiscal impact to the General Fund will be dependent on the type and mix of land uses as well as long-term market demand for these uses. Typically, residential uses require higher municipal service expenditures than revenue-generating non-residential uses such as retail and hotel.

 

PDF

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE C

 

DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS AGREE
VOTE YES ON C!

LET'S CREATE HOMES AND JOBS, REVITALIZE MIDWAY, MODERNIZE SPORTS ARENA

Measure C will create thousands of affordable homes and good paying jobs, revitalize the dilapidated Midway area, and create a vibrant neighborhood San Diego families can finally enjoy: A modern Sports Arena. Public parks. Millions in funding for San Diego schools and overdue infrastructure repairs – without raising taxes.

MAINTAIN BUILDING HEIGHT LIMITS ON THE COAST
In 1972 the Midway community was arbitrarily included in the Coastal Height Limit Zone, despite having no coastal views. Measure C applies ONLY to the Midway community and keeps the 30-foot building height limit in place for coastal communities. Let's fix the mistake that has been holding our Midway neighbors back and finally give them a chance to thrive.

NEW SPORTS ARENA & ENTERTAINMENT HUB
Measure C is the catalyst to modernizing the 54-year old Sports Arena and is the key to creating a pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented community with entertainment, shops and outdoor recreation.

MORE HOUSING AND COMMUNITY INVESTMENT
Stuck with all the restrictions and none of the coastal benefits, the Midway area has suffered from blight due to lack of investment. Let's make way for more homes, new parks, local jobs, and advance our climate goals.

AN ECONOMIC BOOST SAN DIEGO NEEDS
Measure C moves forward already approved community investments including:

  • Affordable and middle-class homes near transit in a community that wants it
  • Walkable and bikeable streets to the San Diego River Park and the Coastal Zone
  • Additional commercial, retail and housing with good paying jobs
  • New park space with outdoor recreation and eating areas

The Midway Community Planning Group unanimously supports removing the 30-foot height limit in Midway because it will bring to life the community's vision for a thriving cultural and economic hub.

/s/

CHRIS CATE
Councilmember

DIKE ANYIWO
Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group

TODD GLORIA
Mayor

NICOLE CAPRETZ
Executive Director
Climate Action Campaign

DAVE GAUTHIER
President
San Diego Building & Construction Trades Family Housing Corporation

 

PDF

— PDF published on the website of the City of San Diego City Clerk's Office

Arguments AGAINST

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE C

KEEP OUR COAST OPEN AND ACCESSIBLE
STOP CORRUPT BACKROOM DEALS

Be careful! City politicians are trying to fool voters into approving Measure C by putting a misleading ballot title on it. Measure C will increase congestion, block coastal views and access, and unfairly benefit developers and special interests at a cost to taxpayers.

Save Open and Accessible Beaches

In 1972 citizens created the coastal zone height-limit law to establish our right to open and accessible beaches.

Measure C is a scheme that unravels that hard-won legal right.

Measure C allows dense construction of expensive residential towers within the coastal zone. Measure C is part of a larger plot by developers to dismantle the height-limit along San Diego’s entire coastline. Measure C is about forcing high-rise redevelopment into existing beach neighborhoods.

Stop Sweetheart Deals for Special Interests

City politicians put this measure on the ballot to reward their developer and special interest friends with lucrative contracts and development deals. These sweetheart development deals and contracts come at a massive cost to taxpayers!

Prevent Freeway Congestion and Wasting Public Land

Measure C means worse freeway congestion, overloaded beach access roads, and less parking.

The Community Plan for this project's area includes 980 acres of public land and public rights-ofway. Measure C is about forcing high-rise redevelopment onto these public land parcels. By defeating Measure C we can insist on a better plan that balances reasonable development with recreation areas and a restored stretch of San Diego River for kayak and paddleboard journeys to San Diego Bay. This can only happen if we vote NO on Measure C.

SAY NO TO BEACH BARRICADES!
VOTE NO ON MEASURE C

CAROLYN CHASE
Earth Day Mom 

PHILLIP HALPERN
San Diego Character

JOHN MCNAB
President, Save Our Access

CARL DEMAIO
Chairman, Reform California

— PDF published on the website of the City of San Diego City Clerk's Office

More information

News (14)

Additional Info

Midway Rising is the redevelopment proposal that the City has approved for the Midway District, if Measure C passes.

Note that Measure C itself does not determine any specific real estate transaction or proposal.
  • Midway Rising (endorsed by Todd Gloria, 2-year negotiating agreement approved by City staff)

Contact Info

Yes on Measure C
Not available.
No on Measure C
Save Our Access
Phone: 619 531 0773
KeepTheCoast30.org
Contact Name:

Frank Gormlie

Email help@keepthecoast30.org
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Who supports or opposes this measure?

Yes on Measure C

Organizations (6)

Elected & Appointed Officials (3)

No on Measure C

Organizations (2)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)

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