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Environmental group sues San Diego County for Lakeside property approval

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Environmental group sues San Diego County for Lakeside property approval


LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — An environmental group is suing San Diego County over a plan it approved to build homes in a very high fire-risk area in Lakeside.

The property, known as Green Hills Ranch, is located 100 yards north of Audubon and Adelai Road in Lakeside.

This area is considered a very high fire risk zone by Cal Fire.

Still, the county approved a plan in June to put in 63 single-family homes on the property.

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But the Sierra Group says the approval process for Greenhills Ranch was flawed and that information shared by the county about the area’s fire risk was inaccurate.

In the court filing, the Sierra Club claims the county told the public the homes would be built in a high fire danger zone, a lower level than a very high fire danger zone.

Dr. Peter Andersen is a member of the Sierra Club’s San Diego chapter.

“Fair discussion, discussions among neighbors, discussions among citizens, discussion among public officials can only take place when there’s accurate information,” Andersen said.

The organization filed the legal action last week, asking the court to step in and vacate any approvals for the project based upon its initial study.

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In the court filing, the Sierra Club claims that building homes there could impact greenhouse gas emissions, biological resources, and fire safety, among other issues.

“We want to see robust housing built in San Diego County, but we don’t want it built in the high fire zone of the county,” Andersen said.

The Sierra Club writes the county’s, “misidentification of the project as only being in a high fire severity zone misled the public.”

“In fact, when you locate it on a map, the state fire maps, it’s in a very high fire zone,” Andersen said.

ABC 10News read through public documents related to the project.

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According to a planning commission report the wildfire evacuation plan concluded the project would not significantly impact evacuation of existing residents in the area.

The wildfire evacuation plan also stated that the project’s location has enough emergency services, fire evacuation routes, and water access.

A spokesperson for San Diego County told ABC 10News it can’t comment on pending litigation.

But the county spokesperson noted public notices were sent to property owners near the site and fire officials showed up to the county board meeting to answer any questions.

Atlas Real Estate, which is also named in the lawsuit, said, “The unanimous vote by the planning commission and (the vote by the San Diego County) Board of Supervisors supports that we’ve addressed all the concerns that the Sierra Club raised.”

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Anderson acknowledges there’s a housing shortage in San Diego County, but insists he and the Sierra Club are not being ‘NIMBYs,’ ‘not in my backyarders.’

“Lakeside has a lot of good places for development but not in a wildlife corridor in a high fire zone,” he added





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Comic-Con 2024: The best things we saw at Preview Night

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Comic-Con 2024: The best things we saw at Preview Night


It’s Preview Night at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

This night features less panels, events and activities than other nights throughout the annual convention, but it offers fans a chance to see some early sites and get inside the exhibit hall to see some of the best merchandise, art, movie props and displays, comic books and other items before the crowds get larger over the next few days.

Our reporters were out and about downtown looking for the best things they could find at Comic-Con. Here’s Wednesday’s list.

Dungeons & Dragons 50th anniversary pop-up shop

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There is a Dungeon & Dragons pop-up store at the corner of Eighth and G streets with a large dragon head surrounding the entrance door. The popular roleplaying card game is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, which is younger than San Diego Comic-Con. The store, which is selling memorabilia and clothing, was set to open at 7 p.m., but fans were showing up as early as 3 p.m. It is one of the farthest installations from the convention center.

— Phillip Molnar

‘Dexter: Original Sin’ interactive photo opportunity

Next to the Gaslamp Quarter trolley stop is a photo opportunity for “Original Sin,” a prequel show to “Dexter.” Inside of the shipping container activation are props from the show and a kill table where guests can lay down and get wrapped in cellophane. 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m Sunday. Free. 

— Carlos Rico

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Batman Who Laughs

A cosplayer who goes by the name, Critical Mask Cosplay is seen outside Comic-Con on preview night. (Serena Neumeyer / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
A cosplayer who goes by the name, Critical Mask Cosplay is seen outside Comic-Con on preview night. (Serena Neumeyer / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

A New York resident who goes by the name Critical Mask Cosplay arrives at San Diego Comic-Con in his reimagined, “Batman Who Laughs,” inspired by an alternate universe where the Dark Knight becomes the Joker. He’s been a cosplaying since 2019, but this is his first time at Comic-Con attending as a professional cosplayer. He is one of the few attendees in full cosplay on Wednesday’s Preview Night but says, “When you’ve been doing this as long as I have, the party starts early.”

— Serena Neumeyer

Adult Swim’s Pirate Parrrty

Adult Swim is back behind the convention center for another year of wacky activities and entertainment. This year the theme is “Pirate Parrrty,” and the activation has various carnival activities such as an inflatable “Rick and Morty” Cthulhu Battle with a floating wobbly latter to get across, a rideable seesaw shark, a dunk tank and an inflatable captain’s quarters with bright colors and videos inside. Also, there is a stage that will host panels and musical acts throughout Comic-Con. Plus, a wrestling tournament with AEW wrestlers is scheduled for Thursday at 7:30 p.m. No badge is required to attend. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

— Carlos Rico

Lines

Is this the best or worst thing at Comic-Con? This made our list simply because it’s a clear sign that Comic-Con is back in San Diego. It’s a sight for sore eyes. And for sore feet.

Abby Hamblin

The Lodge by Paramount +

Happy Does in the Gaslamp Quarter has once again been transformed into The Lodge, an activation that promotes TV shows from Paramount +. Some of the marketing stations include “Tulsa King,” where guests can play three slot machines, Woodstone Manor’s Olfactory Atelier from “Ghosts,” a pizza parlor from “Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” a tattoo parlor from “Ink Masters” and an area to get a custom screen print shirt from “Star Trek.” Guests also get two drink tickets and a slice of pizza. This activation is free and open to everyone. There will be a daily standby line available. Noon to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. 340 Fifth Ave., San Diego.

— Carlos Rico

Costumes from ‘The Acolyte’

Clothes used in the new Star Wars show “The Acolyte” were on display in the Convention Hall on preview night in the Star Wars area. The most popular was the robe and mask of Qimir, the villain of the show. Also on display were other clothes and lightsabers used in the Disney+ show/

— Phillip Molnar

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‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ experience

Aficionados of the Planet of the Apes can enjoy six decades of Cornelius and many other characters of this franchise. The activation is like a museum with various exhibits, chronicling the history of the Planet of the Apes, including the new film “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” There are statues, costumes, movie and TV show props, movie posters, costumes and videos to watch. Plus, there is a real-life 2-year-old Harris’ hawk named Lola. Roxanne Wuco, falconer with Hawk on Hand, helps guests who want to get near Lola for a picture or video. This activation is free and does not require a badge to get in. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. 200 Harbor Drive Suite 120, San Diego.

— Carlos Rico

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Fairy Godmother cosplayer

Alyssabelle Ross of San Diego as seen at Preview Night of Comic-Con on July 24, 2024. (Natallie Rocha / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Alyssabelle Ross of San Diego as seen at Preview Night of Comic-Con on July 24, 2024. (Natallie Rocha / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Alyssabelle Ross of San Diego explored the convention hall during Preview Night dressed as the Fairy Godmother from “Shrek 2”.

— Natallie Rocha

‘Naruto’ fan photo opportunity

Arc Bhandari, Allia Butac, Nia Butac and their children from the Bay Area pose for a photo with Gamakich at Comic-Con. (Carlos Rico / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Arc Bhandari, Allia Butac, Nia Butac and their children from the Bay Area pose for a photo with Gamakich at Comic-Con. (Carlos Rico / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

(From left to right) Arc Bhandari, Allia Butac, Nia Butac and their children from the Bay Area pose for a photo with Gamakichi at the Naruto 25th anniversary booth #2813.

— Carlos Rico

Spongebob takes over Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe is celebrating 25 years of SpongeBob with Paramount+ and Nickelodeon. Guests can enter the front door for an immersive Bikini Bottom experience surrounded by employees dressed as SpongeBob and TVs playing classic episodes from over the years. The restaurant has also revamped its menu with vibrant SpongeBob illustrations that reference “goofy goobers grub.” 207 Fifth Ave., San Diego.

— Serena Neumeyer

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Barbieland at Comic-Con

Riding the momentum of the massively successful “Barbie” movie, Mattel displayed its newest toy set at its pink booth featuring the iconic doll. It’s a Mini Barbie Dreamland with dolls that are 1.5 inches tall — one-tenth the size of a regular Barbie doll.

— Natallie Rocha

Funkoville International Airport

Funko is turning the corner of the convention center at Comic-Con into its own “Funkoville International Airport.” Attendees can explore collaborations with collectibles from Mondo to a variety of pop culture apparel from Loungefly. Attendees can also choose between 40 to 45 exclusive Funko Pop collectibles featuring iconic franchises such as Star Wars and Godzilla. To celebrate the premiere of “Deadpool & Wolverine,” guests will be able to check out a “Pop! Yourself” stand to create their own image cosplaying as either Deadpool or Wolverine.

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— Serena Neumeyer

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San Diego records biggest hotel sale so far this year: $165M

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San Diego records biggest hotel sale so far this year: 5M


In what is the single biggest hotel sale so far this year, the 394-room Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines resort has been acquired for $165 million by a Los Angeles-based investment firm that owns no other hotels in San Diego.

JRK Property Holdings, a real estate company that focuses largely on multi-family housing, was drawn to San Diego because of its stature as a lucrative hospitality market. But the real draw was the Hilton property, given its highly desirable location near the coast, said executive Shaan Bhatia.

It also helped that JRK had $350 million in investor money still sitting in a separate hospitality fund waiting to be spent.

“The Hilton was on the market, and we’d been hunting,” said Bhatia, who is head of hotel investment for JRK. “San Diego is in our view one of the major growth markets, and there’s a very strong life sciences corridor next to this hotel that makes this a very strong long-term bet to make. It’s also in a sub-market where there’s no new supply coming in.”

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While the hotel’s last major renovation was a decade ago, there have since been “patchwork” refreshes, Bhatia said.

The hotel, with rooms overlooking the Torrey Pines Golf Course and Pacific Ocean, continues to do well financially, but JRK still plans to eventually invest $30 million in property upgrades, although those specific plans have yet to be finalized, Bhatia said.

“Over time, the property will need some level of upgrade, particularly the rooms,” he conceded. “But the property still performs extremely well and outperforms almost all of the local competitors in the aggregate because of its location and brand. We’re working through our plan right now but over time there should be a relatively comprehensive renovation.”

Selling the hotel was Braemer Hotels and Resorts, which noted in a news release that the sale enabled it to pay off the last of its remaining debt maturities in 2024. JRK will not own the resort property itself as the Hilton Hotel sits on city-owned land. There are 63 years remaining on the hotel’s lease with the city, Bhatia said.

While JRK used a portion of its hospitality fund to help finance the Hilton purchase, a loan was still needed, Bhatia said. High interest rates have been a key factor fueling a downturn in hotel sales statewide. Bhatia, however, pointed out that his firm was able take advantage of more favorable loans via the commercial mortgage-backed security market. In the case of the Hilton acquisition, the company put in one-third equity and took out a loan on the balance, Bhatia said.

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With the purchase of the La Jolla hotel, JRK will now own a total of 1,500 hotel rooms, including the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, the Oceana Santa Monica, five properties in south Austin, and two in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Bhatia said.

Emmy Hise, senior director of Hospitality Analytics for the commercial real estate firm CoStar, pointed out that while the Hilton Torrey Pines is among the priciest sales in the Western U.S., the price paid per room is less than comparable sales in the area.

“The Hilton is the highest-priced hotel transaction in the San Diego market since 2022,” she said, “but the price per key (room) is lower than similar hotel types that traded in the area in the past five years. This is likely due to the needed capital expenditures or required property improvement plans.”

The 35-year-old Torrey Pines property, which at one time was owned by Hilton, last changed hands in 2013 when Braemar purchased it from Ashford Hospitality Trust as part of an eight-hotel portfolio. Ashford serves as the adviser to both the Hospitality Trust and Braemar.  The last time the hotel was sold by itself was in 2003 when it commanded a price of $106.5 million.

“When you look at the price they paid per room — $418,000 — that’s still below replacement cost, and it would be extremely difficult to replace this hotel, because of its location and the fact you have to deal with the Coastal Commission,” said Alan Reay, president of Atlas Hospitality Group. “So I think it’s a very good acquisition for the buyer. San Diego is still one of the best performing markets in California.”

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Nonetheless, hotel sales in California, Reay said, remain down compared to a year ago, but the decline has more to do with a disconnect between what hotel owners think their properties should sell for and the dollar figure that buyers are willing to pay.

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Nickelodeon showcases all-new products at San Diego Comic-Con 2024 – Three If By Space

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Nickelodeon showcases all-new products at San Diego Comic-Con 2024 – Three If By Space


Nickelodeon showcases all-new must-have products featured at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2024, available for purchase at the Nick booth (#4113) on the convention center floor!

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of SpongeBob SquarePants, Nickelodeon will transport fans to Bikini Bottom with larger-than-life replicas of SpongeBob’s pineapple home, The Krusty Krab, and the Barg’N-Mart in honor of the original pilot episode, “Help Wanted.” Every day of the convention, the booth will feature interactive games, photo opportunities, costume character appearances, and autograph signings.

At the booth, fans can stock up on memorabilia from their favorite Nickelodeon shows, including an exclusive 25thAnniversary Edition SpongeBob SquarePants Krusty Krab spatula, an Avatar: The Last Airbender reversible bucket hat, and more.

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SpongeBob SquarePants Reversible Hat

There is no place like home! Rep SpongeBob SquarePants’ home or a fun Bikini Bottom-inspired tiki print with this cool reversible bucket hat.

SRP: $25.00

SpongeBob SquarePants Barg’N-Mart Reusable Tote

Shop for all the essentials at the Barg’N-Mart! The reusable tote bag is inspired by the local supermarket of Bikini Bottom in SpongeBob SquarePants. Use it to help carry your Bran Flakes, Kelp Jerky, Kelp Nougat Crunch, Pop Kelp, Seanut Brittle, Volcano Sauce, and whatever else you’re craving.

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SRP: $7.00 or free with a purchase of $50.00 or more

Courtesy of Nickelodeon

SpongeBob’s 25th Anniversary Series: Limited Edition SpongeBob SquarePants Painterly Pin

It’s the best celebration ever! Celebrate 25 years of SpongeBob SquarePants with our SDCC exclusive, limited-edition pins by Zen Monkey Studios. Collect pins of SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs spattered with vibrant paint to capture the festive spirit of this milestone anniversary! Available only at San Diego Comic-Con, each pin is a colorful explosion of artistry, with only 350 pieces per design, making them the perfect keepsake for any fan.

SRP: $15.00

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­SpongeBob SquarePants The Krusty Krab Spatula: Exclusive 25th Anniversary Edition

Are you ready to serve up some smiles? Make some delicious Krabby Patties for you, your family, or your best pals with The Krusty Krab Spatula! We guarantee you will feel like an official Krusty Krab fry cook and create some delicious meals that would make SpongeBob proud! This is a 25th-anniversary edition.

SRP: $29.99

Avatar: The Last Airbender Reversible Bucket Hat

The Avatar: The Last Airbender Arrow Reversible Bucket Hat is a versatile and eye-catching accessory that replicates the elements in the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. This bucket hat features a unique reversible design, allowing you to showcase two distinct looks in one.

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SRP: $25.00

Nickelodeon San Diego Comic-Con 2024 Custom T-shirt

Fans can purchase t-shirts at the retail shop and create their own custom design from a choice of 20 fan-favorite Nick shows and characters. Items are ready within minutes!

SRP: $25.00

Nickelodeon San Diego Comic-Con 2024 Custom Flip Flops

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Fans can purchase flip-flops at the retail shop and create their own custom design from a choice of 20 fan-favorite Nickelodeon shows and characters. Items are ready within minutes!

SRP: $15.00

LIMITED EDITION

Limited Edition Playmates Toys Classic TMNT Black & White Original Sketch Turtles: Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo

Booyakasha! Discover the origins of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with this exclusive figure set! Based on Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s first group sketch, each of these highly detailed, black-and-white turtles comes with signature weapons, a collectible sleeve, and a card of the original sketch. The figures also include bases that connect to recreate the iconic scene, making this set a must-have for any TMNT fan!

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SRP: $30.00

DEBUT

Plushiverse Avatar: The Last Airbender Momo Plushie Fanny Pack

Add some style to your outfit with an adorable Momo Plushie Fanny Pack! Simply buckle it around your waist for hands-free functionality and use the adjustable belt for a perfect fit. These are perfect for holding all your essentials so you can have more fun hands-free!

SRP: $20.00

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Courtesy of Nickelodeon

Avatar: The Last Airbender Avatar State and Momo Diamond Art Club Painting Kits

Embrace the charm of these fun adventurers! Fans can create vibrant artworks of Aang in the Avatar State and Momo with Diamond Art Club kits by simply applying colorful diamonds to pigmented canvas paintings. Each kit includes premium canvas, reflective resin diamonds, an applicator, tray, baggies, labels, and instructions. No experience is necessary!

SRP: Aang Avatar State $35.00; Momo $30.00

Cubles Reptar Paper Craft Poseable Character Kits

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CUBLES, maker of paper craft poseable character kits, debuts the one, the only REPTAR of Rugrats fame. Friend to babies, enemy of towns—build him, then set him on a path of destruction wherever your heart desires. *Ice Skates not included.

SRP: $13.00

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Plushiverse SpongeBob & Patrick Plushmates Besties

These SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star Plushmates Besties are adorable plushie keychains that hold hands! Each plushie has magnetic hands that let them stick together and a plastic keychain so you can clip them onto your bag or keys. Give one to your bestie and keep one for yourself! These on-the-go companions are sure to add some cuteness to your day!

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SRP: $15.00

Overtime x SpongeBob Classic Hoodie for Adults and Kids

Rock the SpongeBob look with this unique hoodie! Featuring an “O” SpongeBob logo on the chest, “OVERTIME” on the sleeve, and a vibrant SpongeBob graphic on the back, this cozy cotton and polyester blend is perfect for fans who never want the fun to end!

SRP: Adults $80.00; Kids $75.00

Dr. Squatch’s Nautical Nonsense Bar Soap Inspired by SpongeBob SquarePants

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Are you ready?! Dive into an ocean of tropical freshness with the limited-edition Nautical Nonsense bar soap. With notes of juicy pineapple, cool chamomile, and fresh moss, this brick will transport you to Bikini Bottom and leave your skin feeling soft and breezy.

SRP: $6.00

Plushiverse Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 6” Reversible Plushies

Cowabunga! Bring Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo along on your own adventures by checking out these reversible plushies. These 6” tall plushies have two different faces that make it perfect for showing how you feel at school, home, or the office, plus they’re soft and cuddly!

SRP: $15.00

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Cubles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Paper Craft Poseable Character Kits

CUBLES, maker of paper craft poseable character kits, debuts their IDW-era inspired Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo are gritty, tough-as-nails, and ready for trouble. Build all of the brethren and get ready to take down the enemy.

SRP: $9.99





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