Mayor Bailey began the March 2 Coronado City Council Meeting with a proclamation recognizing Girl Scout Week and commending the scouts for “delivering life-changing, girl-led programs that encompass life skills, STEM, the outdoors, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement.” Carol Dedrich of Girl Scouts San Diego joined the meeting virtually to accept the proclamation.
A second ceremonial presentation was made by Emerald Keepers Board members Amy Steward, Ginger Cox, and Christina Slentz in appreciation of the city for promoting sustainable practices. “We would like to acknowledge the City of Coronado’s effort to make measurable contributions to reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions. We appreciate the work you have done to implement sustainable best practices,” said Steward.
City Manager Blair King used his report to honor the work and accomplishments of City Clerk Jennifer Ekblad. Ekblad recently completed two milestone accomplishments, including the highest certificate available as a “Master Municipal Clerk,” and a degree in Public Management from Arizona State University’s Executive Education Program. The certificates represent years worth of advanced education and work experience. “I’m very proud of [Ms. Ekblad] and so pleased that she is here working for our city. We have a Super Bowl winning caliber team and we want to share that with the public,” said King. Ekblad received congratulations and applause from the council and, in keeping with the Super Bowl theme, Mayor Bailey proclaimed Ekblad the “Tom Brady of City Clerks.”
Moving on to city business, council was presented with a public hearing and first reading of an ordinance they had directed staff to prepare in January. Director of Community Development Rich Grunow presented the ordinance which amends and codifies the existing practice of enforcing already adopted residential development standards of Floor Area Ratios for new single family homes with Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). The new language intends to make the applicable requirements clearer to property owners and builders, and provide greater transparency in the application process for staff, applicants, and residents. Grunow reported that the Planning Commission recently voted 5-0 to recommend adoption of the amendment.
Matthew Gelfand of Californians for Homeownership was the sole public speaker at the hearing. His organization filed a lawsuit against the City of Coronado in January 2021 and his public comments reflected the lawsuit in stating that the city’s “refusal to accept applications to develop ADUs alongside new primary dwellings” is unlawful. He argued that an ADU is not an extension of a primary home and should be considered an independent dwelling.
Councilmember Heinze commented that he was confident in the staff and Planning Commission recommendation stating, “we are not preventing anyone from building an ADU, we are just saying that if you are going to build it it’s not going to be bigger than anything else. We are actually making sure ADUs get built. Our ordinance is clearly going to comply with state law.”
The council voted unanimously to introduce the ordinance.
City Manager King presented the city’s plan to compassionately address the homeless while protecting the right to enforce local regulations against public sleeping, living, or storing personal belongings in public spaces. The city has a contract for a room at St. Vincent de Paul that makes available a bed, food, and basic services 24 hours a day, seven days a week at a cost of $3,802 per month. Only if a homeless person refuses the available aid offered through the Coronado Police Department can they be cited for violating the municipal code. “This program has worked out well for us. It gives us the ability to enforce our code and at the same time deal with people humanely,” concluded King.
In other business: Teresa Espaniola was appointed to the Cultural Arts Commission; Mary Farley was appointed to the Historic Resources Commission; Mary Berube was appointed to the Street Tree Committee.
The next Coronado City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 16 at 4 p.m.