Author: Damien M. Schiff
Not too long ago I posted on a controversy brewing over the expansion of the Flower Hill Mall, which lies on the coastal outskirts of San Diego near the Cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach. The dispute is over whether the Mall lies within the California Coastal Commission's original permitting jurisdiction, or instead whether the Mall lies within the City's permitting jurisdiction. (The Mall has already obtained the necessary coastal development permit from the City). A local citizens group sued to stop the expansion, and this week a San Diego Superior Court judge denied the group's request for a temporary restraining order. Although the decision is not available online, it appears from the news accounts that the court applied the "substantial evidence" standard to review the City's determination that it and not the Commission has original permitting power over the project. Under that indulgent standard, the court need only find that there was enough evidence to allow a reasonable mind to conclude as the City did, for the court to affirm. It will be interesting to see whether the Commission will bring its own enforcement action in light of the judge's ruling in the citizen group's case.