I am writing to express my disappointment with the advice that Coronado’s City Attorney gave the City Council during the meeting on Aug. 18 in response to a public comment regarding the City’s handling of the proposed Major Special Use Permit (MSUP) for Crown Manor, located at 1015 Ocean Boulevard, Coronado.
The MSUP proposes to allow commercial lodging of 16 overnight guests, special events with up to 188 people, valet parking at the Del for 60 cars and shuttling guests and employees between Crown Manor and the Hotel Del every night of the year. All of this is proposed in the midst of a quiet residential neighborhood.
On July 28 the Planning Commission considered the project and recommended denial by a 4 to 1 vote. The Commission received 200 letters and emails in opposition along with the opposition of the Coronado Historical Association. According to the Municipal Code, the matter must now be considered by the City Council “at the next available meeting.” However, the owner of Crown Manor has requested an indefinite postponement and in apparent indifference to this clear mandate, the City Attorney advised the City Council that the final hearing should be “held in abeyance because the applicant as the real party in interest is the one with property rights at issue” and he can’t be forced to proceed with the process against his will.
This advice misses three important points. First, under the City’s Municipal Code, the MSUP process is intended to be expeditious and transparent. A hearing before the Planning Commission is required between 14 days and 60 days from filing the application and a final hearing before the City Council is required at the next available meeting. Notices are required to be sent to all property owners within 300 feet and all residents within 100 feet of the project site. This protects both the applicant and the community.
Second, when the City Council considers the MSUP, it’s required to adjudicate whether the project meets well-defined standards in the Municipal Code such as whether it will be injurious to surrounding properties or residences. So, when the City Council adjudicates the merits of the MSUP, everyone with a protected interest at stake (i.e., surrounding residents) has a right to individual notice and an individual right to be heard. The City Attorney’s suggestion that the project applicant is the only person with a protected property right ignores the due process rights of Coronado residents.
Finally, if the applicant is unhappy with the opposition his proposal has encountered, he can abandon the proposal and resubmit a new or amended proposal at a later date.
The neighborhood residents surrounding Crown Manor were understandably outraged when they learned of the hotel and special events proposal. All of us are 100% opposed to permitting a commercial use in the midst of a residential setting with the accompanying noise, light, traffic, etc. But it is equally outrageous for us to be deprived of an opportunity to be heard, in a reasonable time frame, at a final adjudication of the matter before our elected representatives.
We urge the City Council to find an equitable balance for both applicant and residents and to bring this matter to a conclusion at the next available meeting of the City Council.