Submitted by Daron A. Case, Esq.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and related statewide lockdown in place, economies are getting hammered on a national, state and regional level. All industries and sectors are affected. Here in Coronado, the City is projecting a $13 million hit to our budget this year.
The good news is that many concerning projects that have been looming over Coronado residents such as the $25M+ sewage plant on the golf course and $40M+ utility undergrounding master plan are no longer economically feasible and should be aborted. These projects that are not fiscally prudent were set in motion during a time when the City was “flush with cash” and had money to burn. That is clearly no longer the case.
The other good news is that SANDAG’s regional housing needs assessment (RHNA) methodology that resulted in an allocation of 1,001 new housing units for Coronado is also no longer economically feasible as we enter a national/global recession. SANDAG will have to reassess their RHNA methodology in light of the adverse economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As I live in the Cays, I see workers every day completing the sewer connection from the Navy coastal campus to Cays Pump Station. It is unfortunate the City spent $4 million dollars on this sewer connection which was done according to the City Manager to make the purple pipe sewage plant on the golf course “more viable.” Now that the sewage plant is no longer economically feasible, we have burned $4M and we will have to pay to pump the coastal campus sewage transbay to Point Loma in perpetuity. It is also unfortunate that we already hired a “consultant” for $288K to examine ways to rezone the town to accommodate SANDAG’s 1,001 new housing unit allocation for Coronado, as SANDAG will be forced to reassess their allocations given the change in economic conditions. Perhaps it’s not too late to abort the rezoning analysis and save a quarter million dollars.
The silver lining for Coronado from the COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic impact on our town is that our City Manager and City Council will be forced to switch their focus from changing the Coronado we know to bringing back the Coronado we once knew. Perhaps the tens of millions of dollars saved by aborting utility undergrounding and the golf course purple pipe sewage plant can be better used to create a local stimulus package to revitalize Coronado’s downtown commercial corridor and get our local economy back on track in the post-pandemic era.
Daron A. Case, Esq.