City of Coronado

The Coronado City Council meeting on Oct. 19 began with an acknowledgement and congratulations extended to Marcus Echols-Booth for his appointment to the Cultural Arts Commission. Following a brief period of public comment, the council then received a report from Police Chief Kay regarding an update on the License Plate Reader (LPR) Parking Enforcement program.

The LPR system was put into place to address concerns and complaints regarding a lack of turnover in parking spots in Coronado’s business-heavy streets. Kay attributed much of this to the previous parking violation fees being low ($24.50), the fact that people could continuously feed meters, as well as issues that could arise around maintenance of meters and time spent on coin collection. The LPR system went live in Coronado at the start of this year to remove parking meters, improve the appearance of regulated parking areas, and to provide free parking options and move away from fee based system.

A new parking fine amount was instituted for $57.50 and despite a few initial troubleshooting issues, Kay noted there have been a reduction in complaints, an increase in vehicle turnover in the business district, and generally that the LPR system was working as intended with goals in mind for putting it into place. There have been significantly less citations from Jan. 1-Oct. 1 2021 from the same time period on the metered system in 2020 (581 vs. 2,286), which Kay says can be to some extent attributed to the switch to a new system and the department working to dedicate someone full time to 10 hour shifts of monitoring parking and not responding to other calls during that time period, but in larger part due to more people following the parking restrictions with the new changes.

In discussion, Councilmember Bill Sandke reiterated that parking violation fines are not a money maker for the city, but rather that the city seeks to promote fair use parking and access to businesses over the course of the day. Kay agreed, adding, “The idea is to give people enough time that they can move on, and we don’t want to write these parking tickets. We don’t want to fine folks, but at the moment it’s the incentive that keeps folks moving along.” Councilmember Casey Tanaka also asked about potential parking data being learned from the LPR system that can help the city better address any issues in the future if the city knows the highest density days and times of day of parking use and car turnover, which Kay said next summer should provide a more accurate picture of.

Following this, City Manager Tina Friend gave an updates on the city, including continuing daily monitoring of the beaches for any signs that the oil spill up the coast is affecting Coronado’s shores which continue to turn up negative at this time. Friend also mentioned some upcoming event including the Halloween Happening celebrations on Friday Oct. 29 at the John D. Spreckels Center, and the first live ceremony in two years for the Hometown Heroes program honoring service members in the community that will be held on Nov. 6 at the Coronado High School Performing Arts Center at 10 a.m. Lastly, Friend announced that the final public workshop pertaining to the city’s Climate Action Plan will be held virtually via Zoom on Nov. 4 at 5 p.m., which residents can learn more about on Comment Coronado.

A public hearing for the proposal of a one-lot tentative map for a residential condominium complex at 554-556 G Avenue was brought before the council next. Before the presentation started, Sandke and Councilmember Marvin Heinze stated that they have property within 1000 feet of the residence in question, but have completed the analysis required by FPPC and both determined that this proposal will not affect their properties and create no conflict with their participation in the council’s discussion and decision.

The proposal for the properties in question on G Avenue includes the creation of a two-story, four unit complex that is consistent with general planning and zoning for the city. The property is zoned as R3 for multi-family residential use and is surrounded by a mix of single family, duplex, and multi-family dwelling units, as well as Coronado Middle School on the Sixth Street side of the property. As the property owner also owns the neighboring property that also recently received a tentative parcel map (for 4 or less units) approval for four condominium units, this proposal is being considered and filed as a tentative map (5 or more units) and a cumulative project.

The city’s Planning Commission recommended approval of the tentative map last month on Sept. 28, as the project is consistent with the city’s general plan, zoning ordinance, subdivision ordinance, and State Map Act and that the owner is ready to file the mapping completion. A motion was made to approve the tentative map based on the Planning Commission’s recommendation with all councilmembers voting in favor.

The meeting then turned to the appointment of a new member to Coronado’s Street Tree Committee to serve a three year term that would end on Oct. 31, 2024. After hearing from the applicant in attendance, Flavio Velez, who mentioned his background as a certified arborist in the arbor care industry, the council voted unanimously to appoint Velez to the position.

Assistant City Manager Dominique Albrecht spoke next, presenting the council with the proposed special and community events for the 2022 calendar year. Eleven special events and five community events have been proposed for consideration as follows:

Special Events: Flower Show & Library Book Sale (April 23 & 24); MotorCars on MainStreet (May 1); Promenade Concerts in the Park (Sundays May 29-Sept 4); Fourth of July Celebration (July 4); Coronado Island Film Festival (Nov 9-13); Holiday Open House & Parade (Dec 2); Valentine’s Day 10K (Feb 13); Padres Pedal the Cause (April 9); Navy MWR Bay Bridge Walk/Run (May 15); Bike the Bay (Aug 28); Silver Strand Half Marathon (Nov 13).

Community Events: Rotary Low Tide Ride & Stride (June 18); Fourth of July Rough Water Swim (July 2); Independence Day 5k/12k Run (July 2); Optimist Sports Fiesta (July 30); Open Water Swim (Sept 10).

Additionally, Albrecht explained the alcohol waiver requests which include two new requests in addition to the previously approved waivers for the Flower Show and Library Book Sale event and the Concerts in the Park series. One of the new requests is from the Fourth of July Committee to hold a fundraiser for the Fourth of July Celebration on Memorial Day weekend in 2022 in the form of a cornhole tournament and beer garden style event at Spreckels Park. The second new request is from the Coronado Swim Association to include a beer garden after both the Open Water and Rough Water Swim events they host.

Upon deliberation, councilmembers had no issue with the calendar events but mixed feelings on the two new alcohol waiver requests. Heinze has reservations about a private event with alcohol at Spreckels Park on Memorial weekend given that it is one of the main parks on the island that families make use of. He would love to support the Fourth of July Committee’s efforts to create a fundraiser but wonders if there might be a more appropriate and better equipped spot to do so.

Councilmembers Tanka, Sandke, and Mike Donovan reasoned that granting an alcohol waiver for Spreckels Park is not unprecedented, and given that the Fourth of July Committee has built up credibility and goodwill from the work they do, which is mostly volunteer, and that they haven’t asked the city for much over the years, they would be willing to take a chance and extend a waiver for their fundraiser event.

Regarding the Coronado Swim Association events, all councilmembers were in agreement that are not necessarily opposed to the idea but would need much more detail on what the group has in mind for the beer garden portion of their events before a decision can be made. The council also asked City Manager Friend to offer insight when a suggestion was made to create a policy for the city regarding such alcohol waivers for events at public spaces.

“From the city’s perspective,” Friend began, “we’re seeing an increasing interest in adding this element and dimension to special events and [a policy] is helpful for us because we can’t provide advice and guidance around how this might work and what might happen [at this time].” Friend recommended that having some guidelines city staff could discuss with prospective event holders and know what the council’s ideas for boundaries and priorities are (knowing whether beaches are off limits, if certain parks better lend themselves to this aspect of an event over others, etc.) would be beneficial for future applicants.

The council then made a motion to approve the calendar events for 2022 per city staff’s recommendation, and to accept the alcohol waiver applications as is with the exception of the swim events. The activity portion of those events are to be approved but approval for use of beer at those events be withheld at present provided they submit additional clarification of how those events would be conducted. The motion also included directing staff to draft up a policy for the council to look at about use of alcohol for these kinds of events in the future. The motion carried unanimously.

Next, city staff presented a report on the city’s affordable housing in-lieu fee and public facilities fee, per a previous recommendation from Donovan. Coronado’s in-lieu fee amounts have not been reevaluated since 1994 and this report, as well Donovan’s additional information regarding the history of the city’s in-lieu fees, made the case that they are out of date with modern price models.

Inflation and the increasing price point of housing over the years coupled with the fact that the in-lieu fees initially put in place in 1994 following a consultant and city staff’s data-driven recommendation at that time of $4.33 fee per residential square foot and a $2.34 fee per commercial square foot were rolled back by a vote with three new councilmembers in 1995 to a flat $0.50 fee for both residential and commercial development, which has not been updated since.

Donovan argued that leaving that amount as is has short-changed the city over the years with the current impact and in-lieu fees and given little incentive to developers to create affordable housing given that the average fee remains at $7,000. “When you consider the lowering of the fees [in 1995] plus inflation over the next 27 years where we are today, my sense is that we’ve been underserved as far as getting income based on the development within Coronado,” Donovan mentioned.

As such, he suggests the fee models be reviewed per staff recommendation which would enlist the help of a consultant to do the same kind of study that was done in 1994. An updated study would identify what development and public facilities are costing the city today so that the council can make an informed decision on what the appropriate fees should be updated to in order to recoup some of that cost.

Tanaka, Sandke, and Heinze agreed with this reasoning, though Tanaka added that the council may want to then also consider a clear objective for the city should an increase in the in-lieu fees be put into place. Donovan mentioned major projects being discussed such as a water recycling plant that the city might have had more funds for throughout the years for such projects. “All of these fees have to be justified,” Donovan agreed. “…I think we have to update it every year or two and go in and get audited and make sure that we’re not making any money on this; it’s supposed to be a break-even [system].” With that, the council voted on a motion to move forward with the city staff recommendation and the motion carried unanimously.

The final item on the agenda for the council meeting was in regards to the city’s information report on Senate Bills 9 and 10. State Bill (SB) 9 will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022 and requires a city’s ministerial approval of two dwelling units on single family zoned parcel or urban lot splits in single family zones if each resulting lot meets the standards below. SB 9 allows for a local jurisdiction to adopt ordinances to regulate certain aspects of development regarding the law and enforce objective standards on new development, but doesn’t override private land use restrictions imposed by a homeowner’s association.

These standards include: Setbacks up to four feet in side- and rear-yards; FAR limits that do not preclude units up to 800 square feet; Height limits of up to 16 feet; Parking of one space per unit; Access to a street; New parcel minimum size of at least 1,200 square feet and no less than 40% of the original parcel size

The bill prohibits combining SB 9 with state ADU or Junior ADU provisions, limiting each lot to a maximum of two units and, in Coronado, a maximum potential of four dwellings on a parcel. Coronado has about 2,800 parcels that could potentially qualify for development under SB 9 in the Village area (non-historic, single family zoned properties of 2,400 square feet or more) but staff adds that it would be unrealistic to assume that each eligible parcel would be affected by the bill. Each of the standard requirements listed above would have to be met and city staff believes an ordinance could be prepared to control reasonable development while complying with SB 9.

City staff included imagery showing the many potential unit split layouts that Coronado units eligible for SB 9 development could see, including options where parcels are and are not split (creating a duplex, for instance). Given that each parcel lot is unique, city staff would have to review them individually.

SB 10 allows, but does not require, jurisdiction to adopt an ordinance to zone parcels for up to 10 units without CEQA analysis through 2028. The bill applies to transit-rich areas and urban infill sites, which all of Coronado can be considered. City staff can create an ordinance in regards to SB 10 to allow certain parcels to be developed as such, should city council recommend it, however SB 10 implementation is optional and doesn’t force any changes on the city at present and staff recommends focusing on an SB 9 ordinance at this time.

In addition to standards listed above, staff can craft an ordinance for SB 9 that would also include limitations such as limiting demolition to 25% of exterior walls if a tenant is in residence. All councilmembers agree that residents would prefer the city seek an ordinance that regulates bulk development as much as possible. Heinze suggested letting city staff take the lead in providing the council with the best way to have the least impact on density in Coronado. A motion was made to direct the Planning Commission to create an ordinance to implement SB 9 with an emphasis on controlling density, managing bulk and mass, and potentially focusing on single story, 800 square feet dwellings with parking requirements but for staff to come back with numbers from their findings. The Council approved the motion unanimously.

Before the meeting was adjourned, Donovan brought to attention that the Naval Base Coronado won an award for the best welfare and recreation across the military and commended them for their achievement.

The next Coronado City Council meeting will be held on Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. For more information, visit https://www.coronado.ca.us/government/city_council.

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thisiskatewinslet

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