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No Action Was Right Action on County Lots

What to do with the parking lots that flank the County Administration Center between Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive is far from the most vexing problem the Board of Supervisors has to wrestle with.

Fortunately for the board, there are no timetables that have to be met, no demands from state or federal governments that something be done with the 8.6 acres of asphalt, no crowds of taxpayers screaming for action.

So, the supervisors made the right choice last week when they looked over three alternative plans presented by a task force and then decided not to adopt any of them. None of the plans was as offensive as the late, unlamented Harbor Square--once approved by the supervisors--that would have plunked a hotel and an office tower on the prize bayfront lots.

But two of the plans would have cost the county money for the next decade-and-a-half, when the original goal was for development of the lots to raise money without an increase in taxes. The third plan went back to the idea of a 250-room hotel.

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It would be shortsighted to argue that the parking lots should never be developed. There is not much to recommend two large parking lots on the site, except that they maintain the “view corridor” to San Diego Bay.

But this is publicly owned land, and it does sit next to one of the most beautiful government buildings in California. When it is developed, it should be with a high priority on finding the right project that will enhance local residents’ enjoyment of the waterfront.


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