San Diego Challenged on Destruction of Rentals Through Condo Conversion

     SAN DIEGO (CN) – The City of San Diego illegally approved 30,000 rental-to-condo conversions since 2004, falsely claiming that the conversions are exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act, two affordable housing groups claim in Superior Court. “(D)uring the same period of time, no other city in the State of California has approved conversion projects affecting more than 2,000 rental apartments per year,” the complaint states.

     Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development and the Affordable Housing Coalition of San Diego County are represented by Mekaela Gladden with the Briggs Law Corp. in its suit against the city and developers and investors.
     “The rate of conversion in the City of San Diego is unrivaled anywhere in the State of California and is therefore an unusual circumstance that precludes respondents from approving the conversion projects based on an exemption from CEQA; for instance, during the same period of time, no other city in the State of California has approved conversion projects affecting more than 2,000 rental apartments per year,” the complaint states.
     It continues: “(D)espite respondents’ erroneous determination that conversion projects are exempt from CEQA, in reality they are not exempt because they have significant direct, indirect, or cumulative adverse impacts on the environment, including, among other things, displacement of persons, increased traffic and demand for parking, public health impacts, energy, and growth-inducing impacts (e.g., construction of new housing and homeless shelters). In a memorandum dated Nov. 10, 2005, the City Attorney for the City of San Diego reached the same conclusion.”
     Plaintiffs demand an injunction ordering the defendants to comply with CEQA before doing any more conversions.

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