McGonigle Canyon, inside the open space. From the San Diego Mountain Biking Association.
I spoke to someone in Councilwoman Lightner's office today (so I'm actually breaking this news - but it's not hard to be ahead of the Union-Tribune) and they were helpful and responsive as always. The plan to give this open space some official status has been under discussion for over 10 years, and finally everyone recognized that it was good for all involved (including the local residents), and finally everyone thought it was about to go ahead - until the SD Development Services Dept. announced that the plan was subject to CEQA (California environmental rules) and specifically that there are two archaeological sites that need to be investigated first. Another delay.
My own suspicion is that private developers had some influence over this decision at Dev Services - these are the usual "customers" of this department - and they have reasons to want to delay what was otherwise a done deal to finally make Del Mar Mesa legit. However another source in city government circles says that developers aren't as powerful in SD as they've been in the past, so I might just be paranoid. And looking at it from a developer's point of view, delaying the official open space designation wouldn't mean reversing it. Either way it's frustrating for all involved, but if there are in fact archaeological resources to be protected, I hope this setback isn't for naught. And I also hope we can have official open space back there sometime this century!
*Not to be confused with the nearby small community park on the north rim of Penasquitos Canyon, which was just announced.