City Council Addresses A Full Agenda With July 16 Meeting - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

City Council Addresses A Full Agenda With July 16 Meeting

by David Axelson | Posted: Friday, July 26, 2019 11:06 am

Traditionally the Coronado City Council takes the first meeting of July and August off as a vacation time. Certainly the staff, and regular attendees at the council meetings, including the author of this article, appreciate the down time. However, the unintended consequence of the mini-vacations are meetings with particularly large agendas, and the meeting of Tuesday, July 16, 2019, proved to be no exception. The outline version of the meeting agenda was seven pages long. The original Consent Calendar included 16 items, which grew to 18 prior to the Council’s final vote. 

The primary topic of the meeting was the proposed Port of San Diego Master Plan Update (PMPU), which less than 24 hours earlier, was the subject of a presentation by members of the Port Staff in the Nautilus Room of the Coronado Community Center. Approximately 500 people attended that session. The City Council Chambers were nearly filled to capacity the next afternoon, as the council meeting provided residents with an opportunity to express their reservations about the PMPU directly to the City Council.

In turn, the City Council was considering language for a Comment Letter on the PMPU that would be sent to the Port and could include points made by the public. The deadline for comment on the PMPU, which must be received in writing, either by E-mail or U.S. mail is July 31, 2019.

The crux of the matter is the PMPU calls for the possible addition of 350 net, new hotel rooms; 10,000 square feet of office space with a mix of commercial uses; and up to 60,000 square feet of non-water-oriented retail and/or non-water-oriented retail with restaurant space in association with a mix of commercial uses in the area at, or adjacent to the Ferry Landing. In addition the PMPU calls for up to 360 net new hotel rooms and associated meeting space in what the Port designates as the Crowne Isle Subdistrict of the Silver Strand District.

The attendant traffic, noise, and environmental concerns created by the proposed buildouts on Port Property were frequently referenced at both the Port’s Presentation July 15 and at the City Council meeting July 16.

Thankfully and appreciatively, Mayor Richard Bailey stated at the outset of the PMPU Agenda item the council wouldn’t word-smith the proposed Comment Letter to the Port from the dais. Instead City Staff would take the Council’s comments and the Public’s input and incorporate them into the more technical version of the Comment Letter previously prepared. This agenda item alone consumed just short of an hour and 30 minutes of the three hour and 40 minute (including an 11-minute recess) meeting.

A total of 16 speakers from the public addressed the City Council, with the general tenor of the comments varying between disapproval and strong disapproval of the Coronado-related section of the PMPU. A side issue was raised regarding the contents of the City’s original Comment Letter, which dealt with policy issues and one project issue late in the correspondence, a proposed Coronado Cultural Arts Center at the Ferry Landing. The consensus seemed to be including a specific project in policy-related correspondence might water down the effectiveness of the letter. City Manager Blair King suggested the letter could encourage the creation of a performance venue versus other uses, read a large hotel, for the Ferry Landing space.

Speakers from the public and councilmembers alike wanted references to a 1979 Memo of Understanding between the then San Diego Unified Port District (now the Port of San Diego), which contains five clauses, the second of which reads, “Whereas, the City and the Port have adopted a stated purpose to develop a mutually agreeable plan that is both respectful of Coronado’s needs and residential character, open space requirements and traffic problems, and consistent with the Port District’s primary purposes and duties as trustees of public land…” Although it does not carry legal force, the collective thought was to also include a reference to the Tideland Overlay Zone (TOZ), which was an initiative petition submitted by the people of the City of Coronado. The TOZ was never formally approved by the California Coastal Commission because part of the TOZ fell within the Port’s jurisdiction, but the principles are still relevant. Retaining the city’s 40-foot construction height limit was mentioned for inclusion in the Comment Letter. A memo prepared by City Attorney Johanna Canlas with the subject ‘Ferry Landing and TOZ,’ dated July 16, 2019, is particularly well done and speaks directly to the technicalities and the timing of the MOU and the TOZ documents.

Another area of common ground was the support expressed by the City Council on behalf of Coronado’s Port Commissioner Admiral Garry Bonelli(USN-Ret.). Some residents had expressed dissatisfaction at the direction the Port’s PMPU had taken and Bonelli is the current Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. All five councilmembers were unanimous in their support of Bonelli and his accomplishments on behalf of the City of Coronado.

In other City Council actions:

As part of the Consent Calendar, the City Council acknowledged the completion of the Cays Bulkhead Maintenance Project, the Second and Orange Parklets Project, the Digital Fire Services Dispatch System Project and the Eighth Street and Coronado Avenue Storm Drain Emergency Repairs Project. The Storm Drain Emergency Repairs Project, which was a complex repair job with many elements, ran from Feb. 20, 2019, to May 28, 2019, and cost a total of $579,701.

Also part of the Consent Calendar, the Council authorized advertising for a Bid for the Sewer Force Mani Project from the Naval Base Coronado Coastal Campus to the Coronado Cays Pump Station. According to the City Staff report on this item, “Design fees for the project are $605,000 and the engineer’s estimate for the construction is $4,740,000, for a total project estimate of $5,345,000. An additional $1,345,000 may need to be appropriated to construct the force main.”

Another authorization to advertise for bids was granted for the State Route 75 Median Improvements Project from RH Dana Place to Pomona Avenue. This project is budgeted to cost $200,000.

Councilmember Marvin Heinze was designated as the Voting Delegate for the League of California Cities Annual Conference, slated for Oct. 16-19, 2019, with Councilmember Mike Donovan approved as the alternate.

By a vote of 5-0, the Council prohibited right turns onto Palm Avenue from Northbound Alameda Boulevard between the hours of 2-6 p.m. The motion was based on the staff recommendation and came with two caveats including obtaining data to gauge driver reaction to the change and the addition of enhanced signage for the intersection.

The City Council via an addition to the Consent Calendar, approved the appointment of Janice McElroy to a second three-year term on the Design Review Committee.

By another unanimous vote, the Council approved an ordinance that opposes the new SANDAG ‘5 Big Moves’ transportation concept, which would have eliminated the majority of 14 unconstructed highway projects throughout San Diego County, to be constructed with voter-approved TransNet funds. The ordinance also renewed the City of Coronado’s call to have SANDAG re-purpose $25 million previously designated for the Tunnel Project, to be used instead for congestion relief, traffic flow improvement and a traffic safety project along arterial highways and roadways within the City.

By another 5-0 vote, the Council approved the second reading of an ordinance that will merge the Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Coronado Transportation Commission into the Coronado Mobility Commission.

After the Agenda was re-ordered by Bailey, the final discussion item of the meeting was what to do with the Five Points Intersection Improvement Project? The City has spent $50,000 on consultants, with no clear direction on improving the unusually configured intersection. At Bailey’s request and the Council’s agreement, the issue was continued to the City Council meeting of Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.

The next meeting of the Coronado City Council will be held Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, at 4 p.m. City Council meetings are held at Coronado City Hall, located at 1825 Strand Way in the city.