The April 5th City Council meeting was filled with proclamations, beginning with the Coronado Flower Show Week, April 18 to 24. Flower Show Chair Diana Drummey, Homefront Chair Lisa Daniels, President-Elect Sara Stillman, and Children’s Chair Alexia Palacios-Peters were on hand to receive the honor from Mayor Bailey. The Flower Show is celebrating 100 years as the nation’s largest tented Flower Show and is put on by the Coronado Floral Association, in partnership with the Crown Garden Club, Bridge and Bay Garden Club, and the City of Coronado. This year’s don’t miss show will be held April 23 and 24.
Director of Library Services Shaun Briley, and President of the Library Board of Trustees Brenda Jo Robyn accepted a proclamation for National Library Week, April 3 to 8. The mayor noted that the Coronado Public Library, librarians, and staff bring together community members to enrich and shape the quality of life and address local issues. The library also provides literary, educational, and cultural programs for children, teens and adults of all ages.
Dispatchers Tanya Singh and Rebecca Jones received a proclamation from the mmayor proclaiming April 10 to 16 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. He commented that the Coronado Public Safety Communication Center serves as the first point of contact between the community and emergency services in an effective and professional manner. Dispatch Center personnel answered 9,483 9-1-1 calls and handled 42,523 incidents. He credited them for their diligence and professionalism in keeping the residents and community safe.
In her report, City Manager Tina Friend gave a status update on the Cays Park Master Plan. She said that after the council approved the pivot from the original process, staff is looking at usage data to give to the landscape architect to help with the design process. She also notes that tennis and pickleball are popular and 700 responses were received for a recent survey. They are looking at developing a policy for these sports, to help allocate scarce resources.
Friend announced that Senior Management Analyst Kelly Purvis (in her capacity as the City’s arts administrator) helped coordinate various stakeholders as they applied for County Board of Supervisors community enhancement grants, with three being recently awarded: one for Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) for $25,000; another for Community Development for $25,000; and one for $15,000 for Coronado Promenade Concerts. The City and Cultural Arts Commission continues to advocate for the upgrades for the COSA Performing Arts Center. The City has appropriated $250,000 for the project. The Coronado Promenade Concerts is a separate grant to support the upcoming summer concert series.
City Attorney Johanna Canlas gave a brief overview on the intention and wording of the term limits policy for city councilmembers and the mayor. She said that there is no lifetime ban, after serving two terms on council and two terms as mayor, as outlined in the 2002 approved initiative. Mayor Bailey asked if candidates could technically serve indefinitely and commented that term limits encourage new people to run. Canlas said while the language doesn’t preclude this, intrinsic evidence over the last 20 years has shown that candidates have taken a break and not run for multiple consecutive terms continuously.
Both John and Dawn Ovrom, who helped draft the term limit bill 20 years ago, spoke and said that they spent thousands of hours educating voters on the bill, which allowed two consecutive terms on council and as mayor, with no lifetime bans. “Our goal was for members to take a break,” commented Dawn, who also mentioned that a new ballot initiative can cost between $15,000 and $30,000. John said, “Don’t use this as a reason to change, because 71 percent of the voters approved it.”
Councilmember Donovan asked if wording could be inserted into the current ordinance prohibiting someone to run continuously without a break, to which Canlas pointed out that it would require going back for public vote. He then gave the Catch 22 example and said they would have to trust the voters. Councilmember Tanaka said that this has stood the test of time and most mayors have also been councilmembers. Councilmember Sandke made the motion to not prepare a new ballot motion for term limits and the council unanimously agreed.
Director of Administrative Services John Kim gave a brief presentation on implementing the annual indexed adjustment for police, EMS/Ambulance, and development-related user fees, and to the wastewater capacity fees, special event fees, and sports field allocation fees for fiscal year 2022/23. The proposed increase is three percent for these categories. The 2021 average for Construction Cost Index (CCI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI) fees is 5.2 percent.
Also, the proposed new fee schedule for the SB 9 Administrative Permit Fees is $500 for residential development and $800 for urban lot splits. Councilmember Donovan asked if the increase covers costs for the sports fields. Kim said that the city has typically subsidized recreation activities from the General Fund. The last assessment was done approximately a decade ago, and City Manager Tina Friend said that they are reviewing costs across the board, and will have an update within the next year, so the council can determine what percentage they want the cost recovery to be.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the Zuniga Jetty was presented by City Manager Tina Friend. The Zuniga Jetty Shoal is a shallow stretch of water near the entrance of San Diego Bay between Point Loma and Coronado, within the jurisdiction of the California State Lands Commission in the San Diego city limits and located near Naval Air Station North Island. Derelict and abandoned vessels wash up on nearby beaches, especially during and after storms, causing environmental and safety issues. Friend noted that 90 vessels have washed up on Navy beaches in the last decade, with 14 recently. Even though there is a two-hour mooring limit, it remains hard to enforce. Based on the success of a pilot program, the city would like to enter into a MOU with the City of San Diego, San Diego Unified Port District, and the California State Lands Commission to help solve this problem. The City of Coronado would contribute $50,000 from the General Fund, and the City of San Diego would contribute $75,000 to help develop solutions. Emerald Keepers President Amy Steward strongly supported this to help eradicate pollution in the bay. This motion was unanimously approved by the council.
Police Chief Chuck Kaye gave a brief presentation on military equipment used by the Coronado Police Department, required annually by AB 481. Councilmember Donovan specifically asked about the capabilities of the 40mm launcher. Chief Kaye noted that it is a shoulder-held weapon that fires less lethal sponge rounds to incapacitate suspects, which they have had for only a couple months and not yet used. He stated that they stay at the forefront of the most effective equipment to use. This ordinance was unanimously approved.
Reviewing current downtown parking policies was requested by Mayor Bailey to be considered at a future council meeting. The mayor pointed out that the lack of flexibility in current parking policies have unintended consequences. Blue Bridge Hospitality Principal David Spatafore, who has been in business here 24 years, agreed, saying “Let’s talk about this,” noting that parking requirements have been onerous and there are underutilized options, such as the Bank of America building. Owner Alex Shaw said they were open to looking at ways to help business owners. Pete Joseph, owner of McP’s Irish Pub, commented that the parking requirement is outdated and he is in favor of taking a fresh look. He felt that the B of A building was a good alternative. Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rena Clancy supported the discussion to help local businesses. Councilmember Donovan proposed folding this into the outdoor dining conversation, but this motion was unanimously approved on its own, to come back for discussion at a future council meeting.
Robin Hagemann was appointed to serve the remainder of a term on the Mobility Commission expiring on December 31, 2023.
Scott Metzger was appointed to serve the remainder of a term on the Planning Commission ending December 31, 2022.
Councilmember Sandke recently took a trip to Washington DC and had positive and not so positive highlights to report. He shared that the EPA still seems committed to helping solve the sewage problem, with Phase I starting this year. Funds are being lobbied for the Coronado Bridge suicide fencing, and electric tugboats are coming as alternative ferry options. He also indicated that the Navy won’t do anything about additional housing on base, and talked about staffing for the new Otay Crossing Border with pre-determined toll times.