Sunday, February 5, 2023

Cottages at the Cays, E-Bikes, New Commission Appointments Discussed at Dec. 6 Council Meeting

The December 6 Coronado City Council meeting was highlighted by the contentious proposal for the development of Cottages at the Cays. Coronado City Manager Tina Friend provided a presentation on the conceptual renderings and outline of the project. She recommended the council submit a comment letter to the Port of San Diego regarding the proposed project. 

The Port of San Diego recently received a project application to develop an “RV” resort on Grand Caribe Isle in the Coronado Cays. Cays Resort LLC, a private party, currently leases the area for proposed development, and the land is now in use as boat and marine storage. The lease expires in 2034. The Board of Port Commissioners have land use authority and purview of the project, and is expected to consider the application in January 2023. 

Application timeline for the Cottages at the Cays project.

The Cottages at the Cays Project as proposed is a rental property with 41 two-bedroom, two-bath cottages at the site, along with the construction of a “Grand Caribe Boardwalk,” café, and market. 

Project overview of the proposed Cottages at the Cays.

There was strong community feedback expressing concerns about the development itself along with the abruptness of the consideration and absence of public awareness. Cays Resort LLC hosted an informational event on November 3, 2022, and a second outreach activity on December 3, 2022. 

Community member Dawn Richards spoke during the public comments section, “Just as Lady Gaga was caught in a ‘Bad Romance,’ so too has Keith Mishkin been caught in a bad business deal. Why should 1200 families and a quiet residential neighborhood be continually disrupted because of one man’s bad business decision? Why should the wish of one developer and greed for development in a sensitive habitat take precedence over the rights of 1200 homeowners or the protection of the green necklace?”

Mark Crisson, president of the Board of Directors for the Coronado Cays Homeowners Association, also voiced his opposition to the proposed project, “I’d like to thank the council for its past stance against any more hotels in Coronado and on behalf of the HOA, I’m here tonight to request your continued position in that regard, specifically opposition to the proposed project.”

Crisson presented a petition signed by 800 residents which not only opposes the project but supports extension of the park into that area.

Executive Director of Discover Coronado Tom Little went up to the mic to share his thoughts on the project pertaining to the hospitality industry. Along with the Managing Director of the Coronado Loews Bay Resort, Little had met with the managing team from the Cottages at the Cays. 

“The development of this project will enrage Cays residents, erasing the good work that Loews has done for 30 years to respect and engage those residents. Discover Coronado will also suffer because of this, because the project will build resentment and distrust of the hotel and hospitality industry. I encourage the developers of the Cottages at the Cays to go back to the drawing board. Third time’s a charm. Create something that does no harm to the Cays residents and to those in the hospitality industry.” 

Councilmember Casey Tanaka perfectly summarized public opinion, “One of our speakers referenced our last eight page letter about the Port Master Plan Update, and in the eight pages there was a line about compatibility with the community, so it’s worth noting in our letter that ZERO people today spoke in favor of of the project. We had petitions; over one thousand people took the time to be against it. I’ve had one email in favor. That’s it. That’s the extent of the community compatibility I’ve observed.”

Tanaka also noted that the applicant was not present at the council meeting to voice his opinions.

In closing council deliberations Mayor Richard Bailey expressed, “It would be prudent for the city council to send in the letter expressing the sentiment that we heard here tonight.” 

The City Council voted unanimously to consider a comment letter to the Port of San Diego.

Electric Bicycles Policy Considerations

In April of this year, the Police Department organized three Bike Safety Rodeos at Coronado Middle School, Village Elementary School, and Silver Strand Elementary School. The city also formed an E-Bike Task Force to request recommendations from the Mobility Commission. 

Background info provided by the city council, which would eventually approve the motion to receive a report on potential bicycle safety strategies and provide staff direction as appropriate.

Recommendations from the Mobility Commission included creating city ordinances that govern e-bike usage, increasing fines for violations of bicycle codes, increasing enforcement of safety rules and vehicle code violations, and considering online courses on bike safety for chronic offenders. The Task Force suggested additional policies that would require future city council action, including amending the Municipal Code to ban e-bikes from city sidewalks and exceeding passenger capacity on an e-bike. 

The council voted unanimously to carry the motion. 

Considerations of Appointments

The council moved on to considerations of appointments of new members to various commissions. First was the Civil Service Commission whose new member would serve a three-year term to expire December 31, 2025. The applicants to this position were Lori Luhnow and Lisa Lombardo, and both were present to provide public comment. Lori Luhnow won the position with the council voting 3-2.

The next appointment was to the Design Review Commission to serve the remainder of a three-year term to expire July 31, 2025. Applicants included Rebecca King, Susan Hunt, and Kathleen Wonders. The council voted to appoint Rebecca King to the title.

A new member to the Historic Resource Commission was also considered to serve three-year terms to expire December 31, 2025. Charles Gossage and Mark Warner were the two candidates, and Mark Warner won the appointment 5-0. 


Bella Villarin
Bella Villarin
Bella is a proud military brat who has been a resident of Coronado since 2015. She was born in Japan, and after a short stay in Virginia, traveled extensively throughout Asia while living in Singapore and picking up another language. A junior at Coronado High School, Bella can be found at the driving range or golf course when not in school, studying, writing, playing the guitar, or spending time with her family. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]