Thousands of homes expected around the new Balboa Avenue Station at Morena Boulevard.
The Balboa Avenue Station Specific Plan ends right where one of the largest urban wetland restoration projects in the state begins.
Over the next 10 years, a construction boom is expected to add thousands of homes around the new Balboa Avenue Station at Morena Boulevard, which is expected to open in late 2021.
To convert the area into a walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented community, the city is creating a web of links to help people get around. But one vital destination has been ignored.
Critics of the plan want to make the Rose Creek area through Pacific Beach a city park. So far, the effort is stalled.
On April 16, the Coastal Commission approved – with modifications – the city of San Diego's plan to amend the certified Land Use Plan to implement the Balboa Avenue plan.
The modifications include stronger water quality requirements, protecting affordable visitor accommodations, and a beach shuttle service. But no park.
To opponents, it was a missed opportunity to create access to De Anza Cove and ReWild Mission Bay, a project of the San Diego Audubon Society and their coalition partners. The group is restoring wetlands along Pacific Beach Drive and both sides of Rose Creek.
The plan "must be designed for trolley riders looking for recreation spaces."
"I think you need to include Rose Creek as part of the plan," said Isabelle Kay, manager of the Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve at the corner of Pacific Beach Drive and Crown Point Drive.
Supporters say the planned shuttle could bring students to the sites, and provide recreation for those who live there and visitors.
Imagine a lovely park that connects to a restored wetland, and further connects into Mission Beach, said Gwendolyn Dick. The plan "must be designed for trolley riders looking for recreation spaces."
"Rose Creek has been piecemealed out of the city's planning around Mission Bay."
And while the wetland area has been excluded since it's outside the specific plan, the coming growth won't restrict itself to those boundaries. They want the city to support the restoration of the creek ahead of the construction boom.
"The city is proposing increasing the number of residents of this community sevenfold," said Karin Zirk, executive director of Friends of Rose Creek. "Which means seven times more trash, dog waste and people trampling on the pickleweed banks."
Michael Prinz, city planner, said the aim of this project is, where new development is adjacent to Rose Creek, it "should be designed in a sensitive manner and front the creek appropriately."
Complicating its stewardship, Rose Creek straddles a few different planning areas, which commissioners said were last updated in 1995. They include the Pacific Beach land use plan and Mission Bay Park.
Frank Landis, conservation chair for the San Diego chapter of the Native Plant Society, said that is part of the problem.
"Rose Creek has been piecemealed out of the city's planning around Mission Bay. It is not in this plan. It is not in the De Anza Cove plan; they're all adjacent to it."
Prinz says in an email that efforts related to Rose Creek and ReWild "will be addressed as part of the De Anza Revitalization Plan and through future capital improvement efforts."