Preservation Wins & Winners
Message from the Executive Director
By Bruce Coons
Preservation in San Diego is different today than it was even five or six years ago. In SOHO's history up until that time we fought the good fight winning some very important battles, but sadly losing many. Today things are very different. We have won virtually every battle we have engaged in with the exception of the Hotel San Diego, which was a Federal Section 106 project and where we did not have any legal protection that we could use to ensure preservation of this important building.
Why are we more successful now then in any time in our history? This success is based on many things. One is our financial stability. Our war chest is the largest it has ever been and this enables us to use the legal tools available to assist in the preservation of historic sites. This reserve capacity allows us to wage the legal battle on many fronts without fear of being stretched too thin to take on the next one if a threat appears. The California Environmental Quality Act has also been strengthened in relation to preservation and this has been very helpful. Another factor is our visibility. In just the past five years SOHO has been quoted, mentioned or featured in the media be it radio, TV or print on an average of once a week or more. It is very tough to avoid SOHO these days. Our community outreach is strong, we attend meetings all over the county wherever a significant resource is threatened or its preservation is discussed. Another reason for our success is SOHO's credibility. We have time and time again demonstrated a high degree of integrity, being consistent, reasonable and showing the ability to balance conflicting priorities and requirements, while never losing sight of our goal to have everyone involved view preservation as an asset to any project. Another successful tool we deploy is the ability to work with property owners, decision makers and developers to ensure preservation of resources within their control has borne the most fruit. Collaborations run the gamut from the preservation developers who come in with initially good plans and that together we improve on, to various public and private entities that have no intention of saving the resource. These are sometimes very contentious at the beginning but in the end we are able to devolop a plan to preserve the resources and invariably agree that the development is much better for the collaboration, a process that makes us all winners. Many of these agreements are handled privately and never make the media. Of course there is still much to be done, we must require real mitigation for historic resources like other environmental impacts require.
We endeavor to influence historic preservation in any way we possibly can. Whether it is through advocacy, consultation, placement of people with preservation expertise into the development team, pressure, influence, legislation or litigation. We are in this to win and win we do. The consequences of losing are forever and losing is something SOHO does not intend to tolerate.
We have significantly determined what the future of downtown San Diego will look like. There will always be reminders of San Diego's past there and that is what will remind you that you are in San Diego and not in any-name city anywhere else in the country.
The most important piece of the success is you; we cannot do any of this without you. San Diegans have been much more interested in the preservation of their communities than in the past. This has made all the difference. You have our back as we go into battle.
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VIEW digital online version
Preservation Wins and Winners
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The Ranch House at Warner's
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2004 Historical Landmarks
Mission Hills Heritage
SOHO would like to extend appreciation
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Notice: Date Moved for SOHO Board Directors Meetings
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Found San Diego
Strength in Numbers
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