The Community of Coronado has a strong ally in Garry Bonelli, Chairman of the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. On Thursday evening, August 29, Bonelli, Coronado’s own representative to the Port, addressed a small group of Coronado residents and members of the Coronado Arts community gathered in the Winn Room. Chairman Bonelli stated that the Port Commissioners are opposed to the addition of a 350 room hotel at the Ferry Landing as well as a proposed promenade around the Coronado Golf Course. The possibility that the lease holder of property at Grand Caribe Isle in the Coronado Cays may submit plans to build a hotel, on what is now a boat and RV storage site, still exists. However, the Port Commissioners do not support building a hotel on that site either. Concerns for the environmental integrity along the Bay is of vital concern to the Port Commissioners.
Coronado Residents Successfully Made Their Voices Heard
Over the past few months, Coronado residents have expressed opposition to the proposed draft of the Port Master Plan Update. At well attended summer meetings and through letters and emails, the community spoke out and the Port Commissioners listened. Mayor Richard Bailey stated he has also continued reaching out to Port staff and commissioners, “communicating Coronado’s position.” On July 24, 2019, Mayor Bailey, with support of the full Coronado City Council, sent a six page letter to the Port of San Diego detailing Coronado’s position on the PMPU. (Full text of the letter can be found on the city’s website).
On Thursday evening, several of the approximately thirty attendees expressed resentment over outside forces pushing big development and high density housing plans on already densely built out Coronado. There is agreement from many living at The Landing on First Street that the Ferry Landing probably does need a “face-lift,” but major high density facilities of any kind are very undesirable.
Representatives of the Coronado Arts community renewed their wishes to see a performing arts venue capable of serving about 300 patrons built in the Ferry Landing area. Others stated that more open space, environmentally sensitive recreation and access to water activities would be welcome.
Coronado is not fighting the PMPU alone. The Port held a Community Discussion at Portuguese Hall on Shelter Island on Wednesday evening, August 28. The meeting room was standing room only with over 300 attending. While Coronado, District 10, was not on the agenda, citizens of Shelter Island and Point Loma areas adamantly opposed the PMPU Draft. Many residents emphatically voiced their opposition to high rise hotels and increased density on Shelter Island. A long, proud history is something shared by generations from the Point Loma and maritime Shelter Island areas as well as generations of Coronado’s Emerald Islanders. The two districts also seem to share similar visions for their futures.
Port of San Diego Districts
The Port has 10 Planning Districts along the San Diego Bay. District 1 is designated Shelter Island, including La Playa. However, adjacent Point Loma is greatly impacted by development in District 1. As you travel around the Bay, the last designated district is District 10, the Coronado Bayfront. Silver Strand South has been designated District 9. Coronado is almost always impacted by development changes in other districts, such as Harbor Island/Lindbergh Field and Imperial Beach.
The Port has received 3,000 letters from people in many of the 10 districts criticizing the PMPU Draft. Every “quality of life” circumstance would deteriorate in already highly built out communities. Just as developers have expressed wishes to build out the Coronado Ferry Landing bayfront with new hotel rooms, retail/restaurant and commercial buildings, they want to do the same on Shelter Island. The Port would reap rewards of high rent revenues, but residents and local business would suffer greatly. Increased traffic along access streets through Point Loma would create a nightmare of congestion and pollution for residents. The increased traffic along the 5 freeway would negatively impact every one of the Port’s 10 districts, including Coronado.
Communication is Key
Port Commissioner Chairman Bonelli’s acknowledgement of the impact the citizen communications are having on the Port Commissioners should encourage everyone to always let their government entities know what they want and don’t want.