Blog Post

Court Invalidates City Of San Diego’s Conversion Of Tourist Motel To Transitional Housing For Violating Coastal Act

On December 14, 2017, Citizens for South Bay Coastal Access (CSBCA) sued the City of San Diego for violating the California Coastal Act when it approved Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to convert a visitor-serving motel on Palm Avenue in District 8 to a transitional-housing facility for misdemeanor offenders.  Joined by City Councilmember David Alvarez, CSBCA’s members supported the plan in concept but argued that the conversion required a coastal development permit and Coastal Commission approval to ensure that the affordable accommodations lost for coastal visitors would be provided nearby.  The Mayor, with the backing of City Attorney Mara Elliott, argued that the conversion was exempt from the permit requirement and from Commission review based on the City’s local development regulations.

On December 10, 2018, the San Diego County Superior Court ruled in favor of CSBCA, finding that the City was required to obtain a coastal development permit for the conversion.  During oral argument last month, the City admitted that Commission review is required if a permit is required but insisted that the City’s regulations trumped the Coastal Act.  The City also asked for permission to submit an additional brief on the issue, which the Court granted.  After reviewing the brief, however, the Court concluded that the City was wrong and that the plaintiff was right.

You can read the Court’s tentative ruling here: Tentative_Ruling.

You can read the Court’s final ruling here: Final_Ruling.

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