Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Council Discusses Budget Surplus, Mills Act Homes, Traffic and Halloween

A budget surplus, designating Mills Act homes, the 130 Challenge and Halloween festivities were all highlights of the Coronado City Council meeting on October 6. “There’s good news for the budget with $6 million more than expected that will help us through this year,“ commented City Manager Blair King regarding the approved Interim Financial Report.

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One of the longest topics of discussion was regarding the nine historic properties being considered for Mills Act designation. The houses under consideration were 875 Alameda Boulevard, 275 J Avenue, 1026 Flora Avenue, 555 B Avenue, 1231 Alameda Boulevard, 519 Ocean Boulevard, 1038 G Avenue, and 344 J Avenue, and 834 Tolita Avenue. Associate Planner Tricia Olsen gave a detailed report on all the properties and answered the council’s questions regarding the Historic Resource Commission’s (HRC) and city staff’s recommendations. Seven of the properties were recommended for approval by both the HRC and city staff and were unanimously approved by the city council. Two properties, 519 Ocean Boulevard and 834 Tolita Avenue garnered much discussion because of dissenting approvals by the HRC and city staff, but ultimately, the council voted to approve Mills Act designation for 519 Ocean Boulevard. Council then voted 3-2, with the mayor and Councilmember Sandke dissenting, to deny approval for 834 Tolita Avenue, based largely on the fact that it had been almost entirely reconstructed in 2006, and no longer met the Secretary of the Interior Standards.

Council unanimously approved an ordinance that would allow the city to have decision hierarchy for development projects with multiple permits. As background, the current municipal code regulations do not provide the city council with authority to review and issue decisions on an entire project if one or more companion permits fall under the decision-making authority of a city commission. This proposed code amendment would provide the city council with final decision-making over an entire project and all associated permits, with subordinate commissions making recommendations.

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City Attorney Johanna Canlas

City Attorney Johanna Canlas and Director of Public Services and Engineering Cliff Maurer gave presentations on the use of groundwater in Coronado, based on concerns raised by residents on this issue. California American Water (CAW), an investor-owned utility, has provided services to Coronado since 1966. Canlas said that a separate agreement was made when the golf course was built in 1957, whereby the city reserved the right to use recycled water. The city is also bound by the California Service Duplication Law that prevents local agencies from providing water services in a manner that diminishes the value of the water facilities constructed by privately-owned public utilities.

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Maurer said that Coronado currently uses one million to one and a quarter million gallons per day for the golf course, parks, and median watering. He highlighted that from an engineering perspective groundwater exploration is financially and environmentally expensive. Based on research and the proximity to the ocean, the water is most likely brackish, with saltwater intrusion, which requires treatment. He also pointed out that electric pumping is expensive and increases greenhouse gas emissions, and the net effects counter climate action goals. This report was received by the council with Councilmember Heinze commenting, “This is the right thing to do, using resources as best we can, and safeguard Coronado’s future.”

Halloween Activities

City Arts Administrator Kelly Purvis said Halloween will be not be cancelled in Coronado this year with the city and Coronado MainStreet stepping up to sponsor a Trick-or-Treat drive-thru for up to 300 cars at a location in both the Cays and the Village on October 31 from 2 to 6 pm. There will be photo opportunities along the route and home movie cards and goodie bags for all children. Resident registration opens on October 14, with nonresident registration beginning October 26. You can select your location and 20-minute timeslot by phone at 619-522-7342 or email recdept@coronado.ca.us.

The city will be sponsoring social media contests for kids, pets, and group costumes, house decorating and pumpkin decorating starting on October 9 and ending on November 1, with prizes awarded to the top winners on November 6. Stay tuned for details.

The Consent Calendar was unanimously approved with the following items of note:

Summary of the Annual Traffic Report

2019 ranked as the 7th highest annual average daily traffic (AADT) with 99,295 vehicles entering and leaving Coronado, with 28 percent more traffic on weekdays vs. weekends on the Coronado Bridge. Along the Silver Strand, the AADT was 22,821, with 40 percent more traffic on weekdays vs. weekends.

A total of 176 traffic collisions were reported in Coronado during 2019, 94 of which resulted in injuries, with no fatalities reported. Twelve collisions involved pedestrians and 14 were bicycle related, with a total of 23 DUIs. State Highways accounted for 103 (59%), with 73 (41%) on city streets 136 (77%) in the Village, and 37 (21%) along Silver Strand 3 (2%) in the Coronado Cays.

The top three collision factors included: improper turning, unsafe speed, and auto right-of-way violations. Councilmember Sandke pointed out that the B Avenue and 10th Street intersection was called out with three or more collisions for the first time in three years, and asked if this was being closely monitored to which King said it was.

The city currently has an educational campaign directed to Coronado residents, independent contractors, and HOAs, to help understand the environment-saving gas-powered leaf blower ordinance which will take effect on January 1, 2021. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, in person events had to cancelled, and electric leaf blower vendors have been offered an opportunity to display their products at virtual webinars on October 13 and 26 and will be live-streamed on Facebook and uploaded to YouTube.

A five-year contract will be awarded to Vigilant Solutions for the new License Plate Recognition (LPR) Parking Enforcement System that city law enforcement will use starting in January 2021. This new technology will replace the current parking meters with free parking, for a set posted time limit, monitored by the LPR system.

Jamie Monroe of Easy Day Sports gave an update on the Coronado 130 Virtual Challenge, which began on July 11 and runs through December 11, to commemorate 130 years since Coronado’s incorporation as a city in 1890. So far, this has been an extremely successful event with 250 teams signed up and 2,567 participants who have recorded more than 295,000 miles. One local 64-year-old has already logged 3,047, one swimmer has logged 230 swimming and teenagers are racking up miles skateboarding and surfing, golfing is even an option. Monroe said that the 876 people who have already completed this challenge can pick up their medals starting this week at the Community Center.

There is still time to sign up for free registration and run, walk, or roll your way to 130 miles and beyond. An upgraded level includes a t-shirt, and double or triple challenge for an extra fee. For details, visit the city website here.

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Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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