Port Chair Says No Hotel At Ferry Landing, No Hotel In Cays And No Promenade - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

Port Chair Says No Hotel At Ferry Landing, No Hotel In Cays And No Promenade

by Luan Troxel | Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2019 5:36 pm

Port Commissioner and Coronado resident, Garry Bonelli, addressed the room during a Thursday, Aug. 29 meeting in the Winn Room of the Coronado Library with the following opening line: “No Hotel, No Hotel, No Promenade.”

The primary purpose of the meeting appeared to be two-fold. First, Bonelli, who was criticized for having not attended the meeting in July (he was out of town), had an opportunity to speak directly to the residents about the PMPU. Additionally, the meeting provided an opportunity for the Port to indicate what specific concerns it had heard from the earlier meeting and to check its understanding of the breadth and depth of those concerns. There was also an opportunity for attendees to add any other concerns to the list.

At first glance the meeting appeared to be a by-invitation only meeting with Port of San Diego representatives and a selected group of Coronado residents in the Winn Room at the Coronado Public Library on Thursday. After learning of the meeting, a quick call to the Port confirmed that the meeting was, indeed, public, leading to speculation as to why it was not broadly advertised or, if it was, why only some 35 or so citizens showed up when there was an overwhelming number earlier in the summer at the Nautilus Room to discuss the Port Master Plan Update (PMPU).

The meeting started with Bonelli stating: “I’ve been listening and have heard loud and clear that there should be no hotel at the Ferry landing, no hotel on Grand Caribe Isle, and no promenade around the golf course bay front.” Those words set the stage for what was a cordial meeting. Bonelli added that there will be a new draft PMPU for the public to see prior to a vote, that the Environmental Impact Report will be public, and that “this will be a team effort.” He also noted, however, that “I’m one of seven commissioners. We need four for a vote to go our way.”

The four main themes the Port discussed were: “Opposition to increase in development intensity, especially at the Coronado Ferry Landing”; “Height limits should be included”; “General concerns related to community character, with sensitivity to the adjacent residential neighborhoods”; “Maintain golf course land use.” Each of these themes was discussed in turn, with many comments or clarifications and ideas suggested from the audience.

The conversation started out on the first theme with a number of points reiterated. Overall, residents said that they would like to see the best use of the ferry landing space, including proper maintenance. Julia Viera, asked: “Why has the Port allowed the ferry landing to deteriorate,” adding that there has been “terrible, insensitive, and bad Port planning.” Bonelli responded that he expects the Il Fornaio building “will be scraped,” to which there was audible surprise in the room. Marilyn Field agreed that there has not been proper maintenance of the ferry landing buildings, but argued that “the red-roofed buildings are a symbol of Coronado,” and they ought not be torn down.

Jen Rubin, a local attorney who has been actively engaged on this topic, said that at a meeting with members of the Port in December 2018, she was told, “It’s our property, we’ll do whatever we want with it.” She clarified on Thursday: “It is not Port property. It is property held in trust for the people of the state of California … building anything that interferes with,” the concepts in Port documents of open space, recreation, and free use, “we are against.”

The possibility that has generated considerable concern in Coronado, the notion of a hotel at the ferry landing, was largely quieted by Bonelli’s statement that the Port had heard that residents on that topic. Nonetheless, Harold Myers, reemphasized: “I want to say no new 300 hotel rooms anywhere.” Bonelli hedged on that, saying that there is still potential to some additional rooms at the Marriott.

On the second theme – height limits – there was broad agreement and little discussion other than where the height of a building is measured from (a concern if the land needs to be built up because of rising sea levels prior to building). However, Viera made the point that the Port could simply, “restrict building anything and then they won’t have to worry about height limits.”

The third theme concerned community character and impact on adjacent neighborhoods. This topic primarily focused on traffic - general traffic, Navy traffic and bike lanes. Bonelli discussed the desire on the part of the Port to develop a web of water-based transportation so as to alleviate vehicular traffic concerns.

Here, Sydney Stanley took the topic in a somewhat different direction. She said she didn’t see in the PMPU a ratio of open space to development as had been in the TOZ. She said, “I want to see an articulated ratio and I don’t want to see any games.”

The final topic was the most straightforward. Bonelli reiterated what he had heard from the community: keep the current golf course land-use designation and no promenade around the golf course.

Bonelli mentioned several times that the residents of Coronado will have more opportunities to give input to the process and will see a revised version of the PMPU prior to the Port vote. Additionally, he emphasized that the process is not going to be fast. He said that Coronado should expect to see a revised PMPU around the end of 2019 to which residents will be able to provide additional input. Lesley Nishihira, Port Director of Planning, indicated that the Port is still happy to receive more comments now in addition to the already “3,800 pages,” a full “25%” of which “came from Coronado – many in the form of form letters.” The addresses to send comments or concerns are: pmpu@portofsandiego.org and gbonelli@portofsandiego.org. Bonelli also urged Coronado citizens and City Council members to attend the Port monthly meeting, “to get on record.” That meeting will take place on Monday, September 16 at 1 p.m. at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall A, 1 Market Place, San Diego, CA 92101.

Bonelli said to expect a large crowd.