Suspect Solution

A massive proposal for Chula Vista’s bayfront will leap forward on May 4, when an amendment to the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan and final environmental impact report go before San Diego port commissioners.

The bayfront plan, which is expected to proceed rapidly to the city council, includes a conference center, hotels, and office and park space. Pacifica Companies, alone, is proposing 1500 condominiums, two office buildings, and a hotel to be located on Marina Parkway at the western end of J Street.

Former Chula Vista director of planning Jim Peterson worries that the average Chula Vistan may not be aware of the extensiveness of the Pacifica development, which he contends is not appropriate for the site. Based on 8 ½ x 11-inch drawings, Peterson believes the condos will be built on top of garages.

“This will create 13 high-rise buildings between 122 and 265 feet in height,” says Peterson. “From an urban standpoint, this cluster of tall buildings would be way out of scale with the nearby buildings.” Peterson wonders “if the city council is more interested in the tax-increment money that would flow to the redevelopment agency than a beautiful bayfront.”

In February, the San Diego Unified Board of Port Commissioners approved a land swap with Pacifica. The purpose of the swap was to move the residential development toward the Chula Vista harbor and away from the Chula Vista Nature Center and National Wildlife Refuge. The exchange places the residential development on land previously contaminated by Rohr Inc./Goodrich Aerostructures. The Chula Vista Redevelopment Agency will partially finance the contamination cleanup. The environmental impact report predicts the bayfront project will generate at least 80,000 additional car trips per day.

April 29, at 6:00 p.m., residents will have a final opportunity to familiarize themselves with the project and offer informal comments. Council member Rudy Ramirez and Crossroads II, a community organization, will sponsor the meeting in the Chula Vista council chambers.

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Recently, the port issued an approximate timeline on the Bayfront Master Plan. The RCC (resort conference center) is scheduled to start in 2013-2014 and the Pacifica Condo project begins in 2015-2016. If all this is built as planned there would be unmitigated traffic nightmares and only a bisected linear park for residents of Chula Vista. Please voice your opinion on April 29 at the council chambers.

Chula Vista still believes it can develop its way out of anything. The reality will be years of infrastructure debt. If you were going to buy an expensive condo on the bayfront, why would you buy one on a toxic site, in an industrial area with weak choices for schools and restaurants? For that matter, would you book a convention in Chula Vista or San Diego? The city needs to get more creative. The bayfront has unique natural resources. Cultivate them and package them for tourists.

Keep the bayfront a more natural, lower key attraction. Maybe a Seaport Village type of atmosphere. A place where Chula Vistans and tourists would like to spend an afternoon or evening. The idea of high rise apartments/condos is totally out of place there. Also, why should taxpayers, through the Redevelopment Agency, pay for cleaning up the pollution mess that Rohr/Goodrich has made. Pacifica is developing I.B.'s oceanfront as well as Chula Vista's with our money.

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