Submitted by Jim Newhall
Our 2.2 square miles of land in Coronado is fully surrounded by water and Naval bases. The perimeter, between military properties, houses parks; beaches; golf course & bike path; yacht clubs, marina, boat rentals & boat ramp; waterfront homes, condos & apartments; a restaurant & chain hotel; City buildings & pool; and the Ferry Landing retail complex. Coronado’s interior encompasses motels, restaurants & businesses; private homes, condos & apartments; City infrastructure & parks; and schools. BOTTOM LINE: Coronado is full up and built out – there is NO vacant space left to expand anything! Vacant lots can be counted on two hands, VRBO and short-term rentals abound, and 15 hotels/motels already offer 1600 rooms for visitors. The ongoing Hotel del expansion will add 144 more rooms – a full 9 percent increase across the city.
We do not have the capacity for a 350-room hotel proposed by San Diego Unified Port District (SDUPD). 350 more rooms would be an additional 20 percent increase which Coronado cannot accommodate, especially with 800-1800 more housing units mandated by the State. The Port Master Plan for Coronado cannot be tolerated at the Ferry Landing nor anywhere else.
In addition to space constraints, traffic and visitors are choking Coronado. The Bridge dumps at least 75,000 vehicles into Coronado daily, clogging our streets, and placing residents at increased risk of vehicle and pedestrian accidents. And overnight tourists, day trippers, beach goers and bicyclists flood the city year-round. The Port’s own Ferry Landing Project, and local events like our Fourth of July parade/fireworks, Christmas celebration, live concerts, flower and car shows, art and theater, a summer festival, sports fiesta, the famous Hotel del and over 80 dining venues all draw hundreds of thousands of visitors yearly into our very small town. Coronado is a prime destination for visitors escaping the Arizona heat, and snow in the East and Midwest, and Dr. Beach has done us no favors by declaring Coronado one of the top ten beaches in America for several years.
It is time for Coronado to draw a line in the sand and not permit ANY further hotel expansion in OUR water-locked and over-crowded City. Not 350 rooms, not a lower number, not even a single new room. SDUPD is in business to generate revenues, and sees Coronado as their “cash cow.” But why does the Port’s mission statement not include priorities to protect bay cities from traffic and over-crowding and undesired expansion?
My outlook for Coronado is “RESIDENTS FIRST” (and I include the Navy in that category). That makes tourists, visitors and the Port a distant LAST for land use allocation, especially when it will adversely impact residents.
So what needs to be done? Coronado RESIDENTS are overwhelmingly opposed to a new hotel. But according to Coronado Times, Mayor Bailey has said “the city has no power to prevent development on Port-owned property” – WRONG ANSWER MAYOR! Our Mayor, City Manager and four Council members all need to tell RESIDENTS, publicly and unequivocally, that the Ferry Landing hotel plan is unacceptable to our City, regardless of the number of rooms proposed. Then tell SDUPD exactly the same thing. Then we will all work together until the Port relents and terminates the hotel plan. Coronado’s character, and its future, depend on it.
Apparently, our Port Commissioner Garry Bonelli succeeded in keeping open space, with NO hotel, at the Cays Grand Caribe Isle – GOOD ANSWER. Now the City must direct Bonelli to either support our RESIDENTS’ desires against a Ferry Landing hotel, or we will find a new commissioner who will represent us.
Jim & Alison Newhall