City of Coronado

The Dec. 21 Coronado City Council meeting began with a celebration of resident and former city councilmember Al Ovrom. Mayor Bailey read the proclamation in Ovrom’s honor stating, “Whereas Al Ovrom Jr. was appointed on Dec. 16, 2014, to serve as a City of Coronado citizen representative to the Sharp Coronado Hospital Board of Directors, and to the Board of Directors Sharp Coronado Hospital Foundation; and whereas the City of Coronado wishes to express appreciation for Al and honor him for his dedicated community service; and whereas Al Ovrom volunteered his time and talent over the last seven years to make a difference to the lives in the Coronado community; and whereas Al has served on the Sharp Coronado Hospital and Coronado Hospital Foundation Board of Directors that provide crucial healthcare services to the Coronado community; and whereas Al displayed the highest example of character, ethics, and morals representing the City of Coronado; and whereas on behalf of the entire City Council I want to express our sincere appreciation of Al Ovrom for his loyalty to the City of Coronado and wish him much happiness in his life. Now therefore on behalf of the City Council I hereby declare and proclaim Dec. 21, 2021 as Al Ovrom Day.”

There was a brief period of oral communication in which one Coronado resident urged the council to direct the new port commissioner to back the park initiative for the currently open waterfront space at the Ferry Landing.

The Council then heard from four candidates for the appointment to the Board of Directors of the Coronado Hospital Foundation and Board of Directors of the Sharp Coronado Hospital and Healthcare Center. Each candidate had three minutes to introduce themselves and their qualifications for the position and Councilmember Heinze asked each about their thoughts on the way ahead with the owner participation agreement. After a few rounds of voting, the council appointed Mike Woiwode to be the Council’s new representative on those boards.

Woiwode cited his time on the City Council during the enactment of the hospital acquisition portion of the owner participation agreement and subsequent agency that succeeded the redevelopment agency at that time, noting how his involvement has given him a high level of familiarity with these processes as the city is headed to finalize acquisition of the hospital in 2024. “I very much appreciate the importance of the Coronado hospital in our community. …Should you decide I [fulfill the requirements for this position] I would welcome the opportunity to serve as the city’s representative to these boards,” Wiowode commented.

Council then received a report from city staff regarding the Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKO) and the letter drafted to send to the County of San Diego outlining the issues with the program as currently written. MEHKO allows commercial dining in private homes wherein the kitchen would not exceed serving more than 30 a day or 60 meals a week and must be operated by at least one resident of the home with a maximum of one outside employee and an annual cap of $50,000 in gross sales. The county of San Diego would be responsible for all annual health and food safety inspections of MEHKO kitchens, and MEHKO kitchens would be exempt from many of the laws and regulations that restaurants and residents comply with such as having to put in grease traps to minimize discharges of fats, oils, and grease into the sanitary sewer system, meeting standard Building and Fire Codes for dining establishments, and off-street parking requirements.

Meant to offer an alternative solution to food scarce areas, in its current form, MEHKO is an all or nothing initiative in counties that doesn’t allow for local governments to have any form of control over the way in which it’s implemented in a city. City staff thus brought forth the following potential complications and nuisance issues they foresee with MEHKO in Coronado:

• City would have no role in the County permit process

• City would have no land use or permitting authority over MEHKOs

• MEHKOs would not be required to comply with commonsense conditions

• MEHKOs would introduce commercial impacts into residential neighborhoods such as increased noise, traffic, parking, lighting, and smoke and odor nuisance issues

• County will not monitor or enforce nuisance complaints stemming from MEHKOs and the City would not have the tools to effectively monitor and enforce regulations (City would have no grounds to revoke or modify County-issued MEHKO permits)

City staff went on to state how these issues outlined would also create an unfair advantage to MEHKOs competing with traditional brick and mortar restaurants in Coronado, arriving at a time when restaurants have already been struggling around the constraints of COVID-19.

A discussion amongst the city council with the city manager and staff commenced, City Manager Friend mentioned in response to one question that the City would leverage any existing resources they could in regards to keeping the health and safety of Coronadans a top priority should MEHKOs go into effect in their current form, but that that would be something the City would need to formulate.

During public comment, Rena Clancy, representing the Chamber of Commerce echoed city staff’s concerns about the lack of regulations for MEHKOs and the negative impact they could have on Coronado’s restaurants.

The council would support pursuing an amendment to the state law for MEHKOs that would create more nuance than an all or nothing initiative to allow for MEHKOs in areas that need them while allowing other areas to amend or opt out of them where it doesn’t make sense. As Councilmember Tanaka commented, they are not opposed to the public policy behind the MEHKOs but the number of unintended consequences it would have in implementing that policy in a way that doesn’t allow for oversight by the local governments.

“Just for the sake of discussion,” Mayor Bailey added, “I would like to just offer up that in addition to strongly opposing a one size fits all approach for the entire county, I would not be opposed to seeing city staff get a little creative in perhaps offering some alternatives to whatever ordinance is proposed that could help the county accomplish what its stated objectives are; which is to deliver these micro-kitchens in places that are food deserts…and offer them a county-wide ordinance that would actually benefit their stated objectives without necessarily penalizes our small business community overall.”

Councilmember Donovan made a motion to accept the staff recommendation to send a letter to the County Board of Supervisors opposing the adoption of a MEHKO program in its current form, while also encouraging residents to send letters or emails to the board as well. The motion carried unanimously.

The meeting moved to the final items on the agenda regarding the potential establishment of Senator Mills Park at the Ferry Landing and the approval of sending a comment letter to the Port of San Diego on the Port Master Plan draft update of the Environmental Impact Report. Both items were heard together given their overlap and potential impact on each other.

The Coronado Coastal Conservancy and the Coronado Legacy Collaborative have crafted a proposal to turn the currently unoccupied space on the waterfront of the bay at the Ferry Landing into a passive, open space park honoring Senator Mills. The space is approximately 20,000 square feet that has previously been in a stage of planning for restaurant development.

The proposal would require a change in the land use designation for that space, which is currently for commercial recreation. The existing lease for the property between the Port of San Diego and the Ferry Landing Associates (FLA) extends through August of 2037 and at present the FLA is required by the lease to use this site for restaurant development. A change in this land use designation would require approve from the Port Board of Directors, an amendment of lease terms between the Port and tenant, an amendment to the Port Master Plan to change the site from “Commercial Recreation” to “Park/Plaza”, and a Coastal Development Permit.

Regarding the Port Master Plan Update and the Environmental Impact Report Draft, the report is currently available for public review and comment until Jan. 10. Two of Coronado’s planning districts are affected by the Master Plan; Planning District 9 in the Silver Strand and Coronado Cays area and District 10 on the Coronado Bayfront covering the Ferry Landing, Coronado Golf Course, the Yacht Club and points in between. City staff has deemed the Environmental Impact Report draft as adequate in thoroughly evaluating potential environmental impacts and prosing mitigating measures to address them.

The letter drafted by city staff requests the Port expand their 48-hour notice to any construction activity in parks to give the City more time to coordinate accordingly. The letter in its form at the time of the presentation also indicated support for the Port’s proposed mobility hubs at the Ferry Landing and Loews to improve existing services and facilities related to access to transportation (which is not to be confused with SANDAG’s proposed hubs that city has previously sent a letter of opposition to). In addition, the Master Plan addresses micro mobility and in its current proposal would allow for e-bikes and scooter but no app-based “bike-share” operators to be permitted and the letter would request future coordination with the Port to ensure there would be no blocking of the Right of Way, no negative impacts to existing brick and mortar businesses on the island and ensure the aesthetics of the city be maintained.

Finally, city staff requested the Council’s direction on language regarding hotel rooms; whether there was consensus to strongly indicate that no new hotel rooms were wanted in Coronado at all, or whether language indicate that existing hotels be allowed modest growth. As city staff finished presenting, a reminder was given to all Coronado residents with an interest in the Port Master Plan and Environmental Impact Report Draft to send their comments, questions, or concerns via email to by Jan. 10, 2022.

After each councilmember stated their views on the four sections addressed regarding these issues – changing the land use of the Ferry Landing site to a park, the Port’s proposed mobility hubs, micro mobility options, and language about any ability for the Marriott or Loews to add additional hotel rooms to existing property space – the Council came to the following majority consensus on each:

• The Council is opposed to creating a park designation and changing the land use at the Ferry Landing lot in question but open to honoring and memorializing Senator Mills in Coronado in other ways.

• The Council would like to see mirrored language from the letter to SANDAG opposing mobility hubs used in the Port Master Plan Update for consistency and clarity, with the addition that the city is not opposed to working with the Port to optimize water transport such as ferries and water taxis at the Ferry Landing (and directing city staff to work with the Coronado Cays HOA to craft appropriate language specific to water transit in the Cays).

• The Council is continues to strongly oppose micro mobility in the forms of e-bikes, scooters, and app-based micro transportation and at present does not allow for those on the island.

• The Council would allow for language to include modest expansion of hotel rooms of existing hotel properties on the condition that they are within the existing footprint of those properties. Additionally, the Council would like language to be included that a stated public benefit should accompany any future development within those boundaries.

Mayor Bailey made a motion to direct staff to draft a comment letter addressing those four issues as outlined above to be prepared for and presented at the Jan. 4 city council meeting for a final opportunity for public consideration and comment. The motion was seconded, City Manager Friend indicating city staff would immediately reach out to the Cays HOA to address necessary concerns in the Cays and have appropriate language included in the updated draft, and the motion was passed unanimously.

Following a brief report from the Mayor and councilmembers on inter-agency committees – Councilmember Heinze being reappointed to the League of California Cities Environmental Quality Policy Committee, SANDAG adopting the Regional Transportation Plan and agreeing to grant a Public Labors Agreement for local labor unions that would be building those projects, and Councilmember Sandke giving an update with Caltrans and the suicide barrier for the bridge – the meeting was adjourned.

Next City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 4 p.m. For more information, visit

(1) comment


City would have no role in the County permit process

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.