Here is the central argument that opponents of Irwin Jacobs’ proposal to renovate Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama make in their lawsuit filed against the city on Tuesday: Even though an agreement the City Council approved with Jacobs on July 19 says it doesn’t commit the city to signing off on the final plan, it actually does just that. And that is illegal.
The lawsuit relies on a 2008 case from West Hollywood, which approved a similar agreement with a nonprofit to develop an affordable housing project on city-owned land. The California Supreme Court ruled that West Hollywood had broken the law because even though the agreement technically allowed the council to eventually reject the project or approve an alternative plan, other actions by the city made it clear it had no intention to do that.
In its lawsuit over Balboa Park, the preservationist group Save Our Heritage Organisation argues the San Diego City Council has done the same thing.