The February 21 City Council meeting started with Citizen Representative Mike Woiwode giving an update on the happenings at Sharp Coronado Hospital, emphasizing the many awards that Sharp has received, like the distinguished Planetree gold certification and being named on the top 100 hospital list, to mention just a few. He highlighted programs to reward Sharp employees like hosting a taco truck and other recognition programs.
He talked about the capital fundraising program and noted that the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) renovation is complete, having been moved from the first floor to the fourth floor, allowing for construction to begin on the expansion of the Emergency Department (ED) from eight to 15 beds. Half of the funds needed for the ED remodel have been raised and the project will begin early next year. This will allow for the dramatic increase in emergency patients, which has increased by 50 percent over the last two years, with inpatient numbers increasing by 40 percent. Some of the additional construction is due to seismic requirements. He also said the city’s land purchase will be complete next year, and Sharp has signed a contract to operate for an additional 10 years, through 2034.
Woiwode also introduced new Sharp Coronado Hospital CEO Scott Evans PharmD, MHA, who said he joined Sharp in 2015 and was impressed with the emphasis on their employees and patients’ experiences. He said that Sharp is the market leader in San Diego, with a third-of the healthcare market. Sharp is currently doing long range planning and is dividing their healthcare system into two regions: Coronado, Chula Vista, and Grossmont Hospitals will be included in ‘The Region’, with other Sharp facilities in ‘The Metro Region.’
A gem in Coronado, the “Baby Del,” as it is affectionately known, was built in 1887, a year before the Hotel del Coronado. Originally located in San Diego’s Sherman Heights until 1983, it was moved by truck and barge to its current location at 1144 Isabella Avenue. The Queen Anne Victorian house is designated as a historic landmark and is a Mills Act property. Associate Planner Tricia Olsen gave a detailed presentation on the Historic Alteration Permit, highlighting the extensive restoration work which includes demolition of a rear addition and non-conforming roof deck; 1st and 2nd floor, attic, and basement additions, roof cresting restoration, a new wrap around porch, rear deck, and attached gazebo, new wood windows and doors in visible areas, with aluminum in non-visible areas, and improvements to non-historic accessory buildings. Olsen noted that this project was approved by the Historic Resource Commission (HRC). Staff agreed with all proposed changes except the four-foot encroachment of the roof deck.
Architect Kevin Rugee said that although the lot is a spacious half-acre, the 45-plus foot setback of the house makes the design and placement of additions more difficult and is why exceptions are needed. He noted that additions will not be visible from the front of the home. He mentioned that they tried to tie the old in with the new and hope to preserve this historic icon for another 100 years. When asked if the neighbors had any concerns with the proposed setback changes, Rugee said that he had spoken with two of the neighbors who had no issues. The council unanimously approved this Historic Alteration Permit, with the roof deck encroachment as was recommended by HRC.
Associate Planner Jane Thornton introduced an ordinance amending portions of the Density Bonus Law from the Coronado Municipal Code. This is part of the Coronado Housing Element and incentivizes developers with a sliding scale density bonus. Prior to 2021, the law permitted a maximum bonus of 35 percent for most cases. Assembly Bill 2345 went into effect in January 2021, and amended the law to allow 50 percent in most cases, and 80 percent if all the units in a development are affordable. Thornton pointed out that city staff are proposing referencing the government code, which will result in less updates. Councilmember Downey asked when the last time the city gave a developer a density bonus and was told that it was in 2006, when the senior apartments were built at 578 Orange Avenue. These changes came with a recommendation from the Planning Commission and were unanimously approved by the council.
Councilmember Duncan asked for a Policy #2 request to have the electric mini shuttle program put on a future council agenda for consideration. He commented that he was impressed with the work that Emerald Keepers and residents had done on researching this as an alternative or supplement to the Summer Shuttle, and would like to see more data and potentially conduct a pilot program. This ties into the city’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of environmentally friendly options. During public comment, five community members spoke in favor of the proposed Oz electric mini shuttle.
Councilmember Downey requested seeing the complete prioritized CAP list and City Manager Tina Friend said a proposed implementation plan will be completed by late this spring or early summer for the council to review. She also noted that it was important to manage expectations on the timing of getting a program like this going, which can take several years or more. The MTS contract for the 2023 Summer Shuttle is nearly complete and will be presented to council next month. Councilmember Donovan pointed out that the Summer Shuttle ridership numbers for the past several years are skewed due to COVID. This request was approved 4-1 by council, with Councilmember Donovan voting no.
City Manager Tina Friend applauded the Coronado Library for their calendar of unique and high level events. She noted that the author of the New York Times bestselling book “Lessons in Chemistry” is only doing seven stops on her national book tour, one of which is here.
On the Consent Calendar, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) was authorized between the city and the Coronado Firefighters’ Association (CFA) for 2022-23 through 2024-25.
During Oral Communication, Bill Huck invited Coronado residents to a fundraiser for the new Suncoast Market Co-op. “Here Comes the Sun” will be held on Thursday, March 16, at 5 pm at the Coronado Cays Yacht Club. The festive event will feature food, and entertaining games like Hole-y Cow Pie, Pickle in a basket, and a Chicken in every pot. Tickets are available at suncoastcoop.givesmart.com.
The next city council meeting will be held on March 7, 2023.