Eva Knott 9:34 a.m., May 18
The California Coastal Commission is meeting in Chula Vista's council chambers through Friday, March 9. Many had anticipated that the environmental report for Chula Vista's master bayfront plant would not only be on the commissioner's agenda, but possibly be approved.
Chula Vista mayor Cheryl Cox told the Daily Transcript in February that, "It has taken a few years to get to this point, but now everyone is on board with this master plan and redeveloping the bayfront."
But representatives of the community group Crossroads II told the commissioners today why they are not on board and why they believe "the people have been cheated."
President of Crossroads II, David Danciu, and vice-president, Peter Watry, said their main objection to the current bayfront plan is the lack of a "signature park, a landmark park for the people."
According to Danciu and Watry, the original bayfront plan, approved by the Citizens Advisory Commission, was approximately 40 acres situated in the middle of the planned development. It was to be an "active" park where people could meet for "rallies...outdoor concerts, 5-K runs, art shows, and so forth.
Danciu and Watry asserted that when Gaylord Hotels proposed to develop Chula Vista's bayfront, the initial park plan was scuttled, moved further north. They went on to argue that nine months of secret negotiations between the San Diego Port District and the Environmental Health Coalition, resulted in a park that would have "draconian restrictions." The new park would be located close to an environmentally sensitive area that would necessitate light and sound restrictions.
The former Chula Vista director of planning, Jim Peterson, also addressed the commissioners. His concern was the 1500 condos, offices, and hotel planned for the J Street exit. Peterson suggested that the 14 buildings ranging from 70 to 220 feet in height "at the entry point to a major recreational area" would create a "visual intrusion and generate major traffic."
The last speaker on the issue was Mayor Cox's husband, county supervisor Greg Cox. Supervisor Cox emphasized Chula Vista's many attempts to develop its bayfront. He told the commissioners that the current bayfront plan, which may be considered in April, preserves 40 percent of the area for the public to use and enjoy.
Proposed Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan illustration from gaylordentertainment.com