Friday, December 4, 2020

City Council – Sports at Parks, Storm Drain Fees, GCMP Environmental Review

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 21, council approved minutes from the previous meeting with no corrections, there were no ceremonial presentations, and they got right to business. Beginning with the Consent Calendar, Councilmember Heinz requested that the consideration of appointment of two members to the Parks and Recreation commission be moved to consent (the appointment of Judith Mansfield and Susan Welch). Mayor Bailey removed item 5d from consent after having received a request from a member of the public to do so; item 5d was regarding the authorization by city manager to award a contract for the Golf Course Modernization Project.

Next up was authorizing the city manger to award a contract to Dudek for environmental review and to prepare the mitigated negative declaration for the Golf Course Modernization Project (GCMP); the MND had previously been identified by council as an appropriate level for environmental review for this project. The first issue brought up by the public had to do with disruption of highly prized bay views and property values. Both Community Development Director Rich Grunow and City Manager Blair King had reviewed and stated that the view issue didn’t rise to a level of significance for a full Environmental Impact Report as the location is about half mile away from residents and their private views won’t be impaired in any significant way. Other public concerns included geologic faults in the area, the area being in a flood plain, and comparison to other water reclamation sites that did full EIRs. Council approved staff recommendation to award contract to Dudek for mitigated negative declaration environmental review.

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Regarding the appeal of planning commission denial for a variance and coastal development permit for 2nd story expansion in the Cays on Trinidad Bend, which was also discussed at the last meeting, Marisa Smith gave the staff report recommending that council uphold the planning commission’s denial at 79 Trinidad Bend. It is a single family dwelling where the owners are looking to renovate portions including additions and expansions to the first and second floors and the addition of a roof deck. According to staff report, four criteria were looked at and there is nothing unique about this property, no hardship or unusual characteristic, which would give reason to give a variance. In reviewing past permits, some were approved, some were not, the rules were not always followed.

Although all city council members sympathized with the appellant, and were dismayed that there were errors in the past, the general consensus was that we don’t do our city a favor by continuing to make errors and that the code should be followed as written. Because the Cays HOA could change their rules and specific plan, a motion was approved to continue this item to a date in the future. Councilmember Heinze recused himself at the beginning due to owning nearby property.

A topic that brought many community members to the meeting to speak was the issue of youth sports at local parks, specifically Sunset Park. City Manager King first explained three items being presented to council to weigh in on.

  1. council to give direction on whether to allow youth sports to continue at Sunset Park outside of language of 1988 resolution 6803 for a temporary period of time.
  2. council to consider formally asking the Port of San Diego for more control to incorporate management and scheduling of Tidelands Park in a Coronado Sports Field Allocation Policy.
  3. council to consider use fees for groups and leagues using city parks.

Roger Miller, Director of Recreation and Golf Services, reported detailed field inventory at various parks along with primary sports field users. He acknowledged increasing numbers of players and increasing field time requests, summarizing that field demand exceeds supply.

The 1988 resolution 6803 allowed use by under-8 groups (tee ball and soccer mainly), but those groups don’t use Sunset as much so it’s been filled with other teams.

After public comments and council deliberation, council supported the three initial points: to allow sports access beyond the language of 6803 for a temporary period of time (need policy sooner rather than later), a formal request to the Port of San Diego to include Tidelands in Coronado’s field use policy, and some sort of fair, modest fee on a sliding scale for park use to assist with park maintenance.

Parks and Recreation as well as city council will appreciate input from residents that live around parks and leaders of our sports leagues to assist with the creation of an Athletic Field and Use Policy for scheduling, field load and field/turf management. Some goals of the policy to include: more equitable use of all parks, a policy that ensures longevity of parks for future use with adequate recovery for turf, and reduce impact to surrounding residents for all parks, not just Sunset.

The Storm Drain Enterprise Fund has been avoided, with fees unchanged, for about 30 years and there may be a need to charge an appropriate amount for storm drainage fees. This is in no way related to the GCMP wastewater project. The city’s financials are in excellent shape, “with the exception of the storm drain fund.” It generates $700,000 revenue from a $3.80 a month fee ($45.60 per year) collected with property tax and still it operates on a $685,000 deficit. The rate has not changed since 1991. If the rate was $14/month, there would not be a deficit and it would pay for storm drain enterprise activities. Director of Administrative Services Jim Krueger stated that each year there is a transfer from the general fund in order to make up the deficit in the storm drain fund. Council action was to direct staff to come up with a property related fee and develop a policy for how to calculate parcel cost and come back with recommendations on fees and gradual fee increases.

Oral communications additional info:

  • Ryan Cunningham, who is an independent candidate running for 52nd congressional district introduced himself to the council and attendees.
  • A member of the public asked council to look into additional temporary restrooms at Spreckels Park during concerts in the park and showed photos where between 20 and 36 people stood waiting in line at each restroom location



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Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.” Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:


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