City of Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan
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The California Coastal Commission will meet in Chula Vista on Wednesday, July 11; however, the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan will not be addressed until their August meeting, which will be held in Santa Cruz. Because many people can't travel to Santa Cruz, supporters of opposing bayfront plans are galvanizing their troops for action this Wednesday.

Several bayfront plans have passed the environmental impact review, but the only one that is before the coastal commission in August is the Sweetwater plan, which was tailored for Gaylord Entertainment’s hotel and convention center. Although Gaylord withdrew from the project, the city continues to back the Sweetwater plan because — for one reason — putting an alternative before the coastal commission would push back the timeline for the development.

Configuration of the 46-acre "signature park" is the central bone of contention. In the city-backed design, a segment of the park abuts an environmentally sensitive area, which would require light and sound restrictions.

Crossroads II, a community land-use organization, has collected signatures to demonstrate to the commission that there is resident-supported alternative called the Harbor plan; this was the first plan approved by residents and stakeholders and contains a larger elliptical park that would allow for outdoor concerts, large public events, or noisy birthday parties.

In addition to advocating for the Harbor plan, members of Crossroads II intend to protest the fact that the coastal commission will be considering the bayfront issue in Santa Cruz rather than Chula Vista.

Pacifica Companies is the only private landowner within the bayfront master-planned area and plans to build 1,500 townhomes and condos. In anticipation of Wednesday’s meeting, Allison Rolfe, Pacifica’s “director of Planning and Entitlements,” circulated an “Action Alert” email among community groups. A copy was provided to the Reader.

The email summons supporters of the city-backed Sweetwater plan to the Wednesday meeting and urges them to:

“Please wear blue if you can (any shade will do). We will give you a button or a badge when you arrive and ask you to fill out a speaker slip. You will not be required to speak. We will be bundling the speaker slips and turning them in as a batch to indicate how many supporters we have. We will be done by 9:00 a.m.

"We will have an organized presentation made up of 5 designated speakers who will speak for a total of less than 10 minutes. The second speaker, Laura Hunter, will ask all the supporters (you!) to stand up and/or wave to the Commissioners so they can see that you’re there in support.”

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Comments

Pancho July 9, 2012 @ 9:04 p.m.

I read the two opinion pieces in yesterday's Sunday UT San Diego. I sometimes feel the Crossroads II group just wants to be obstructionist. While I support their idea of greater parks space for the public, I think they have consistently been unwilling to be real partners with the city and more blockades to what the city is trying to do. One co-founder, Sandy Duncan I believe, dropped from the group because of the direction they were going and another co-founder, Pat Aguilar, is now a city council member. I just want something more than an eyesore for the bayfront, which is what we have had for a long time. Susan, doesn't Crossroads II also enjoy the funding from Earl Jentz? He owns something like 60 properties in Chula Vista and has opposed redevelopment. Does Jentz also oppose the city's bayfront plan? That is the real question.

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ChulaVistaIssues July 9, 2012 @ 11:04 p.m.

In response to Pancho, Crossroads II can speak for itself but it is simplistic to call them obstructionists. In this case, they want to see the Bayfront developed but, like myself, want to see more areas that families can use on the Bayfront. There will be a ton of open space areas and a "passive" park area but only 18 acres (out of 500) for a regular type park. By the way, the plan is financially flawed but the cheerleaders don't like to hear that. Opposition or not, the plan will be approved but there may be no development because of a bad financial plan.

Does Earl Jentz fund Crossroads II? No. The funds that CII uses for issues comes from their membership donations. They rely on volunteer effort. Sometimes, CII and Mr. Jentz agree on an issue, but not always.

Does Earl Jentz oppose the Bayfront? You can ask him that question but his actions have shown that he has no position either way.

Does Earl Jentz own 60 properties? I hear he owns a lot of property (good for him) but where do you get the 60 property figure?

Sandy Duncan dropped out of the group but not because of the direction they were going but because Ms. Duncan was a supporter of Councilwoman Bensoussan who, did indeed, change direction.

Also, CII has supported certain projects in the past but that has received little attention.

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Pancho July 10, 2012 @ 3:49 a.m.

I could be wrong, but Crossroads II was formed after the city was proposing to increase height limits, essentially to have tall buildings, right? Jentz spent over $200k of his own money for Proposition E in 2008. The main civic group behind Prop E was CII. Now there were other groups, the Northwest Civic Association, which Pamela Bensoussan co-founded, and the Southwest Civic Association, led by Teresa Acero, but Crossroads II was by far the loudest supporter of Prop E. You can see the old controversy from this old UT article: http://www.utsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080515/news_1sz15prope.html

Now some may claim that Jentz has not given a penny to CII, but CII's relevance and campaigning efforts would be minimal without his financial backing, even if it is done indirectly. Do your homework and you will find Jentz has around 60 properties in Chula Vista. The better question is how many of those properties are in the former redevelopment zone, which he loathed so much. Lastly, it is not simplistic to say that CII can be seen as obstructionist just look at their history. What city initiated projects has CII supported?

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Sjtorres July 9, 2012 @ 10:13 p.m.

I agree with much of what Pancho says. I'd like more park space too, but being obstructionist only keeps the industrial eyesore there longer. I'd also like to see all the SDG&E power lines and towers and stations gone too. How about a large outdoor bandshell and park east of lower Otay Lake? It's not Bayfront but it's a large space. Should make it a large signature park.

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Woodchuck July 9, 2012 @ 10:46 p.m.

Wow, one eyesore and one industrial eyesore! The previous commenters lend credibility to my Goodrich friends' fears that all the luxury development in the Port plan would be a poor fit with all the great longtime employment of the working waterfront. The hospitality industry may look nice but is well known as a creator of low paying jobs and generates the need for subsidized housing. I have no idea where the idea that Crossroads gets funding from Earl Jentz comes from--not true, just Earl bashing . I wish Crossroads was better at obstructionism because Chula Vista might not be saddled with long term debt needed to build the Taj Mahal of police stations and a 5 star civic center.

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eastlaker July 10, 2012 @ 3:24 p.m.

Good point about the police station. How much are we paying just for financing on that thing? I remember hearing that we are still only paying interest, and who knows when we will ever actually start chipping away at principal.

We know Bayfront development needs to take place, but having looked at the proposals, I think that the Harbor plan is much better. It is unfortunate that it looks like Chula Vista will be railroaded and end up with the "Sweetwater" plan. I hope there is enough interest by residents that community input is taken seriously.

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VigilantinCV July 9, 2012 @ 10:47 p.m.

First of all, Earl Jentz has never contributed as much as a penny to Crossroads II, although we consider him a good friend. Secondly, Earl Jentz is totally disinterested in the Bayfront Plan because he made a deposit on a condo in the 1993 Bayfront Plan. He thinks this one will flop just like that one did. "Much ado about nothing," is his attitude.

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Susan Luzzaro July 9, 2012 @ 11:18 p.m.

Pancho, I'm not sure why it would be relevant that a realtor, in this case Earl Jentz, opposes or supports a particular plan. I've never really even bet a nickel for fear of losing it, but I'd be willing to bet that the really big money, the real suits, support the current bayfront plan.

But you raise a question that I have been wanting the answer to. The media often reports about Jentz and I have seen some stories about him that didn't enlighten me. Maybe I will try to get my questions answered by him.

In the end, either plan, any plan, I believe is going to be a very long time in the making. There is more trouble brewing with a bay-related story that has nothing to do with "obstructionists." There are so many overlapping decision making agencies involved in the bayfront.

BTW , I think it's very clear that Crossroads supports bayfront development; as the article says they support one of the plans that's already been environmentally approved.

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jibaro July 10, 2012 @ 5:07 a.m.

Lived in Chula Vista since 1971. I am tired, very tired of seeing this city's part of San Diego Bay go undeveloped and under developed for decades.

JOBS ! We need jobs..low pay, high pay, short term, long term, it is a job! That job creates other jobs.

Would love to have "signature park", but the costs of more delays are too great.

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cvres July 10, 2012 @ 7:15 a.m.

jbara,

It's funny that you say you're tired of seeing it go undeveloped. I was down there for a picnic on the 4th and even though it was a gray day it was PACKED with the city's residents. People were picnicing, playing ball, kayaking, playing music, having big family gatherings. It's was clear they weren't think to themselves: this place is undeveloped.

I think when the public park is surrounded by hotels and conference centers, people might not feel so inclined to go down there, or to feel like this is "our" park.

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VigilantinCV July 10, 2012 @ 10:07 a.m.

Pancho -- just for the record, Crossroads II was formed in 2002 just after one group of people had managed to save Friendship Park (behind the library) from being destroyed by development, and another group of people had stopped a developer from building a strip-mall across the front of Southwestern College. The two groups got together, formed an organization, and named it Crossroads II at the suggestion of former Mayor Will Hyde, who had founded Crossroads I.

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Pancho July 10, 2012 @ 7:23 p.m.

Thanks for the insight. I've always wondered why they called it Crossroads II.

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Sjtorres July 10, 2012 @ 1:18 p.m.

Now, how about developing the Salt works to a large signature park? When does their lease expire? Plenty of space down there.

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joepublic July 10, 2012 @ 2:43 p.m.

Usually, meetings of government agencies that are required to hear public input are scheduled when average working citizens are able to attend. Most of the people who will attend this meeting of the Coastal Commission will be business people with flexible schedules and business interests. For Pacifica Companies to recruit them to pose before the commission is unfair to say the least, and in my opinion a pretty sleazy move by Pacifica Companies. People can disagree, but to put forth a false impression of what Chula Vistans want their park at the bay to look like, does democracy a real disservice.

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eastlaker July 10, 2012 @ 3:37 p.m.

Democracy looks like it is in short supply here in the South Bay. Maybe this is the issue that will bring people to the fore and get them to speak out, so that the Chula Vista Bay Front will work for all of us. I have long thought that we could have spots for canoers (regular and outrigger) and kayakers and all sorts of water sports available--and open green space, such as the Marina Green in San Francisco. A nice promenade stretch is good, but if there is going to be a convention center, why does that need to be so close to the water. Proximity to the water should be for those activities that directly benefit from that location. A convention center is enclosed, for focus on whatever the current group is presenting.

So--push the convention center back another block and have more green space in front. It will make the receptions look much better if they would be held on a nice green lawn. And then the lawn can serve multiple purposes.

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