A petition drive for a revised bayfront plan has been launched in Chula Vista by a coalition of individuals, community groups, and a local business, Marine Group Boatworks. The “Better Bayfront Plan” proposes a 35-acre park, a reduced-density plan, and an extended lease for the waterfront boatyard business.
The petition was unveiled at an informational meeting hosted by Northwest Civic Association on April 11. David Danciu and Peter Watry, representatives of Crossroads II, an organization founded to deal with land-use issues, advocated for a combination of two alternative plans that already exist in the Chula Vista Master Plan Environmental Impact Review: the Harbor Park Plan and the Reduced Density Plan.
Representatives from the City of Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego presented the Sweetwater Plan, which will go before the Coastal Commission this July.
The Sweetwater Plan was created to accommodate the Gaylord hotel and convention center development. (Gaylord subsequently withdrew its development proposal). The city-backed plan contains the same number of park acres but divides them into two sections. Public activities in one portion of the park will be circumscribed because it abuts a conservation area. The park area is 11 acres, which Crossroads II believes is too small.
Both the plans include 1500 condos, 4 hotels, and a 2000-room resort.
The Marine Boatyard Group joined the petitioners because the port has not renewed its lease beyond 2020. According to Todd Roberts, vice president of the company, 60 percent of the company’s workers live in Chula Vista. Roberts also claims that the boatyard annually spends $7.4 million in South County.
Assistant city manager Gary Halbert stressed the need for the bayfront project to revitalize the city’s economy. He also said if the Sweetwater Plan fails to pass muster with the Coastal Commission, it will set the city back at least three years.
Halbert pointed out that the city can no longer rely on redevelopment funding or staff to reshape a new plan.
Watry responded that the Better Bayfront Plan has already passed the environmental impact report and noted that San Diego had a similar imbroglio with its park in the Embarcadero area and was able to move forward within a year.
According to Watry, Crossroads II resorted to a petition because the city and the port have refused to compromise on the size of the park.