The Bayside area of Coronado, from Orange Avenue to A Avenue faces the potential for significant change, from development proposals for the Coronado Ferry Landing, to HG Fenton ownership (and potential development) of the Smart & Final lot. What do you see as desirable for that area of Coronado and how would you as a City Council member have the City be engaged in that process?
The Port of San Diego has been working on a Port Master Plan Update (PMPU) for a few years now. As you can imagine, it is a huge task. Like many other projects in the region, the pandemic has slowed down the process and extended the schedule for completion. This month (October) there is a 4-week review period for the revised draft PMPU. Next summer there will be a public review period for the draft Environmental Impact Report and final approval is scheduled for late 2021. Then it goes to the California Coastal Commission for its review and approval with final certification expected by the end of 2022.
Besides enacting public policy for 34 of the 51 miles of San Diego waterfront property under the Port’s oversight, in most cases, the Port’s priority is to maximize revenue from the operations on that land. During the PMPU preparation process many Coronado residents, along with City Staff and City Council, have stressed to the Port Staff and Board that this goal is not consistent with the desires of Coronado. We would rather keep the Ferry Landing as a place that focuses more on other missions of the Port, including maintaining areas where green space is plentiful and where people can “...put their feet in the water….”
I, along with my colleagues on Council, City Staff, and many other residents, have been actively engaged in the process and communicating with our Port Commissioner and other members of the Port Board and Staff to ensure they understand this message. All have been understanding of our position. In fact, they have agreed to include no new hotels, no additional hotel rooms, and to abide by the Tidelands Overlay Zone (TOZ) agreement developed between Coronado and the Port (1983-84). This agreement, which is referenced in Chapter 86.39 of the Coronado Municipal Code, includes various criteria related to public parkland, open space, recreation vs. commercial space, parking, height limits, and much more.
With respect to the commercial property where Smart & Final is located, the current lease could be expiring as early as 2026-27, so, we can most likely look for some changes happening there in the near future. I would like see the addition of some public green space, the inclusion of buildings that are more consistent with the surrounding residential architecture and scale, along with some level of mixed-use integrated into the plan. Finally, it would be beneficial to coordinate with the Port development across the street at the Ferry Landing for consistency.
As for City engagement, I would advocate working closely with the property owner to express ideas from the residents. City Staff will certainly be involved in the design and permitting process, and our Planning and Design Review Commissions will also be reviewing development plans for the area.