Lingering in the Navy Broadway Complex debate is the question of whether the California Coastal Commission should review the controversial redevelopment proposal.

Deborah Lee, the commission’s deputy director, said the state agency wants the Navy and its selected developer, Doug Manchester, to submit its plans for the waterfront site for review. The Coastal Commission must approve a coastal development permit and renew its 15-year-old environmental review of the property before construction can begin, Lee said.

Lee said the changed conditions of downtown San Diego warrant a new review for the property.

“There have been a number of changes in the downtown area and we want to take a step back and look at the appropriate uses for this site,” she said.

Earlier this week, City Attorney Mike Aguirre said the city of San Diego’s Development Services Department should decide whether the 1990 environmental study of the project’s impacts on traffic, air quality and parking on the surrounding downtown community still holds up today. Read about that issue here.

Manchester and Navy officials have contended that the environmental study the commission conducted in 1991 took into account the changes that have since taken place downtown, such as more residents and more traffic.

“That’s a different question than ‘Is this an appropriate use and intensity for this site under the coastal act?” Lee said.

In addition, the commission wants to weigh the proposal before it issues a coastal development permit because of the inclusion of condo-hotels in Manchester’s proposal. Residential development is not allowed on state tidelands, and the condo-hotels walk a fine line that the commission needs to review, Lee said.


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