The Grantville Action Group filed suit in Superior Court today against the city of San Diego and its Redevelopment Agency, the county of San Diego and a family of landowners in the neighborhood over the settlement struck in July to pave the way for a new city redevelopment area.

In the complicated settlement plan, funds would be shifted between Grantville, downtown, the city, and the county, to settle a lawsuit brought by the county in 2005 challenging the city’s creation of the redevelopment area. The redevelopment area would siphon funds away from the county and use them to redevelop the specific Grantville neighborhood.

Brian Peterson, president of the nonprofit group of landowners, leaseholders and business owners in Grantville, released a statement announcing the lawsuit:

Clearly, this is a shell game to get Grantville tax increment to payoff the County and end the lawsuit. There is no way either of the downtown improvements are Grantville improvements. This scheme is clearly not legal. Furthermore, we resent that our properties in Grantville will now be threatened with eminent domain to fund downtown improvements. If Grantville really is blighted, all the tax increment should stay here.

The City Council and the Redevelopment Agency ratified the settlement in July, concurring that the money could be sent from Grantville to downtown, and from downtown to the county land at the Embarcadero. Donna Frye was the lone dissenter in those votes.

The county Board of Supervisors adopted those same findings Tuesday with a 3-1 vote, with Pam Slater-Price absent and Dianne Jacob opposing.

The lawsuit those findings are:

arbitrary, capricious, and not supported by any reasonable or substantial evidence, and the findings cannot be made …

Additionally, the settlement granted an exemption from eminent domain to a Grantville landowner, Phil Teyssier, who had joined the county’s 2005 lawsuit against the city. The GAG lawsuit today also names Teyssier, his company and trusts, as defendants because the group believes that the exemption for Teyssier is illegal.

“We believe it’s outside the [law] to offer one property, to grant an exemption from eminent domain,” Peterson said. “There’s no way that they can show that one is more blighted than another.”

KELLY BENNETT

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