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On April 11 the San Diego Unified Port District staff sent a letter to the Coastal Commission staff asking that the CCC substantially weaken its proposed conditions related to approval of the NEVP Phase 1 Coastal Development Permit (CDP).

For example, the April 1 report by Coastal Commission staff calls for the San Diego Unified Port District to identify and build a new replacement Waterfront Destination Park along the North Embarcadero to mitigate the loss of the planned Broadway Landing Park which would be destroyed by building a new cruise ship terminal on the Broadway Pier.

The CCC staff report includes specific planning steps and deadlines the port would have to meet to identify a site, secure project funding, conduct public input workshops and develop an Environmental Impact Report and Port Master Plan amendment for submittal for Coastal Commission approval.

Currently, this process is shown as requiring approximately three years from the approval of the current Phase 1 CDP. In its letter, the port staff is requesting that that process be extended to five years.

Despite the fact that local citizens are losing the long planned Broadway Landing Park now, they would have to wait another five years before the port would mitigate that loss.

Another example, the 4/1 CCC staff report requires that the port implement its plans for a downtown waterfront shuttle service before removing 146 existing parking spaces from the bayfront.

Instead, port staff is suggesting that 146 replacement spaces be located at the existing Lane Field parking lot, even though the port is working with the Lane Field project developer to secure funding to pave that parking lot over for a major new hotel project.

If the CCC weakens this condition as requested, the port may not implement a waterfront shuttle for years to come.

The port is also demanding that California taxpayers, not the San Diego Unified Port District, face legal liabilities if the Coastal Commission is sued for approving the Phase 1 CDP with the modifications being proposed.

For decades, the port has treated the California Coastal Commission as a toothless tiger and ignored specific CCC mandates.

For example, the CCC mandated that the port build a new public park on the Navy Pier when the port took the title to the Navy Pier from the Navy. That happened in 2003, but the port has taken no actions to comply with that mandate for seven years.

Wednesday’s Coastal Commission meeting will determine whether the CCC is going to keep rolling over for the port, or at last live up to its charter and begin enforcing the California Coastal Act and the California Environmental Quality Act along San Diego’s downtown waterfront. You can drive to this public meeting or watch it live via the CCC’s website here.

–DON WOOD

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