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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

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Comments

BradleyFikes March 8, 2012 @ 9:10 p.m.

That brings back memories. I wrote about Chula Vista's bayfront development plans as a reporter at the Star-News -- 24 years ago.

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Susan Luzzaro March 8, 2012 @ 9:41 p.m.

Hey Bradley Fikes, I wish the Star News was archived online--the bayfront articles would be a kind of genesis story...how matter formed--or didn't.

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WJR March 8, 2012 @ 10:27 p.m.

I would like to see where this 40% of space reserved for the public to use is located. Seriously, please show me. Are they counting all of the roads and sidewalks?

You definitely cannot count the area worked out in the deal with EHC. That is not "public" in the sense that you can have a birthday party, festival, or community concert there. That is a buffer for the wildlife refuge. To say that that area is "public" is the same as saying that the grounds of City Hall are public. True, the public may walk through and admire things but may not do anything else.

The original community plan called for a signature or landmark park which was gutted to please Gaylord. Now, Gaylord is gone and there is no reason to not put the park back in its rightful place.

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BradleyFikes March 9, 2012 @ 7:13 a.m.

Susan, I think the Chula Vista Public Library has old copies of the Star-News dating back to my era and before.

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BradleyFikes March 9, 2012 @ 7:15 a.m.

Susan, Chula Vista has been trying to develop its bayfront since at least the 1970s. Greg and Cheryl Cox and Peter Watry should know the details. I'll try to think of others.

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Susan Luzzaro March 9, 2012 @ 7:48 a.m.

Thank you Bradley Fikes, the UT archives has a lot. They really did some lengthy investigative pieces back then. And the Star had a certain panache as I recall. Of course, the library (which due to budget cuts is hardly open.)

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Susan Luzzaro March 9, 2012 @ 10:16 a.m.

WJR, can it be assumed that coastal commissioners will have the original EIR/bayfront plan to look at as well as the revised one?

I also wonder what the city has to gain by not reviewing the old plan? Is it simply the city's hope that Gaylord will return?

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WJR March 9, 2012 @ 4:05 p.m.

Susan, I'm not sure exactly what the Commissioners will have but I'm sure it is a ton of paper. Good point about what the city / port want and why they would want to stick to the Gaylord plan. If they are hoping that Gaylord returns, it's like constructing building for a tenant that may or may not lease it. Doesn't make sense to me. And, as far as someone "like Gaylord" coming in, well, there is no one like Gaylord. They have a very unique business model.

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