Thursday, December 8, 2022

Library Fines Eliminated, Cultural Art Report and New Development Projects Discussed at Council Meeting

The June 7 City Council meeting began with Mayor Bailey presenting a proclamation to Girl Scout Nevaeh Henrich honoring her bravery and heroism in a life-threatening situation on July 17, 2021. She is credited for her quick assessment and action, which led to a positive outcome, when her friend’s mom and neighbor Frances Rogers was choking.  Henrich also received the Girl Scouts USA Medal of Honor and an American Red Cross Youth Hero Award.

Library late fees are a thing of the past after Coronado Library Board of Trustee President Brenda Jo Robyn proposed eliminating overdue fines. Currently only Carlsbad and Coronado Libraries still collect these fees in San Diego County. Coronado Library removed fines during the pandemic and has determined that the benefits outweigh the fiscal impact of keeping the policy in place. Equity of access is often cited as a crucial reason to remove library late fees. It also promotes good will for patrons and leads to increased circulation.

According to Library Director, Shaun Briley, “A lot of people are put off using the library because of the nuisance of fines, which flies in the face of our efforts to encourage people to use our services. Studies have shown that fines are not effective in getting materials returned on time and that fine elimination often results in higher circulation. In doing this, we are in line with trends across the county and nation.” To ensure items are returned, the Library will charge patrons for unreturned items that are 90 days overdue, and a block will be placed on the patron account until paid.

Overdue book fine revenue for the city for the coming fiscal year was only estimated to be $15,000. “We are hoping that patrons who have been discouraged from using the library because of these pressures will come back,” said Briley.

The Council unanimously approved this proposal, with the absence of Councilmember Heinze.

The arts are alive in Coronado, thanks in part to the Cultural Arts Commission. Chair Heidi Wilson and Arts Administrator Kelly Purvis showcased CAC’s successful ten years in their annual report and work plan for 2022-23.

Arts + Prosperity is a new program designed to provide greater assistance to local arts organizations and creative communities in their funding efforts, which have been hit especially hard over the past two years. Even with COVID related restrictions, the Visual Arts program was able to mount ongoing exhibitions in the C3 Gallery at the Community Center and the JDSC Gallery and, in collaboration with the Coronado Public Library, a new gallery space was created in the Spreckels Reading Room. Two new art installations “The Knot” and “Crossing Paths” are in the works. There is a focus on the League of Wives Memorial, in honor of 50 years after the POWs’ return. New branding and updated website CAA ~ Coronado Cultural Arts will be coming later this month, offering a broader platform and sponsorship opportunities.

Watch for details on their upcoming Summer Sizzle on June 16 at 6 pm at the C3 Gallery highlighting six artists. Coronado visual artists should plan to attend Oh My Gouache! on July 23 from 10 am to noon at the John D. Spreckels Center Grand Room, to learn more about opportunities to grow their business and network with local artists. For more information, check out

The 2022 Coronado Cultural Arts Commissioners are: Marcus Echols Booth for Arts and Prosperity, Paul Schulz for Arts Education, Chair Heidi Wilson for Arts Partners, Jeanmarie Bond for Communications: PR & Media, Dawn Richards for Literary and Performing Arts, Vice Chair Deb Kaller for Public Art and Facilities, and Teresa Espaniola for Visual Arts.  Wilson thanked the five retiring commissioners, Helen Kupka, Mariah Gillespie, Mark O’Brien, Tillie Vuksich, and Brad Wilson for their contributions.

Director of Public Services & Engineering Leon Firsht gave a brief update on the TransNet local street improvement projects for 2023 through 2027. This is part of SANDAG’s Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP) for which municipalities receive monies based on a set formula based on population and maintained miles. Coronado is projected to receive $807,935 for the first year and a total of $4,375,000 of TransNet funds over five years. He said identified projects include Street and Road Preventive Maintenance; Minor Drainage Repair, Street and Road Major Rehabilitation; Major Drainage; Traffic Operations, and Roadway Drainage Improvements, noting that these generalized categories offer the most flexibility in determining future projects.

Proposed development for 478 Orange Avenue

Associate Planner Marisa Smith gave three presentations on new condominium projects. The first proposal was to allow for the demolition of a two-unit complex that will be replaced by a three-story, three-unit condominium complex at 478 Orange Avenue. The plans showed the allotted parking spaces and changes requested by the Design Review Commission (DRC). The second project was at 543-555 Orange Avenue with a proposed 10-unit condominium complex. This project contains the required parking spaces, and an additional approved tree will be added. The third project was three units at 924 D Avenue, which is under construction. Consistent with guidelines, it will also have an additional approved tree. All of these projects were supported by the Planning Commission and approved by City Council, with Councilmember Heinze absent.

Proposed development for 543-555 Orange Avenue

Historic Resource Planner Tricia Olsen showed a proposal for the Historic Alteration Permit for 1025 E Avenue, which includes partial demolition and interior updates, with a side yard setback exception for a disability lift. This was approved by Council, with Councilmember Heinze absent.

In Oral Communication resident and former CHS teacher Larry Cartwright brought up concerns, from his personal observations, regarding city-contracted Benchmark Landscaping Company employees spraying RoundUp weed killer, near adults and children, in the Village and the Cays, without proper notice.  He asked the city to address this issue and find safe solutions.

Sharon Blongiewicz promoted the upcoming Friends of Children United Society (FOCUS) annual Rummage Sale on Saturday, June 11 from 8 am to noon. They will be accepting donations on Thursday, June 9 and Friday, June 10 from 10 am to 3 pm. She noted this event is a great fundraiser for FOCUS, typically raising around $10,000, and offers great bargains for shoppers on sporting equipment, toys, tools, fishing gear, boating items, jewelry, baby items, and much more.

CHS student Noah Morris spoke about driving concerns regarding intersections at Olive Avenue, and the stoplight on Glorietta Blvd. He also advocated for the city to have more electric vehicle chargers.

Approved on the Consent Calendar ~

Council voted to award the contract, with a cap of $84,700, for the design of the John D. Spreckels Center (JDSC) and Lawn Bowling Green turf replacement project to Nasland Engineering. Councilmember Donovan requested that staff bring back ways to mitigate the fungus problem and City Manager Tina Friend said that was being addressed.

A resolution was adopted calling and giving notice of holding a general municipal election on November 8, 2022, for the election of certain municipal officers as required by law, as well as consolidating it with the statewide general election on that date. This impacts the two expiring Councilmember positions of Sandke and Heinze.

The July 5 and August 2 Council meetings will be cancelled, consistent with past years.


Jennifer Velez
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: [email protected]