The planned bulldozing of a once-thriving RV park in Imperial Beach by a developer to make way for a housing development and Bayshore Bikeway path has been delayed due to technical issues with the California Coastal Commission.
The commission has already issued a permit for the demolition of the Bernardo Shores RV Park and all the residents and RVs have departed within the past few weeks, but there will be a delay of one or two months while permit requirements are being fulfilled, according to assistant city manager Steven Dush.
The construction project at the former RV park, located at 500 Highway 75 at the southern end of San Diego Bay, entails construction of 184 townhouses and 3 single-family homes on the ten acres of land; a pedestrian and bicycle path between Highway 75 and the Bayshore Bikeway will also be included. The RV park had 124 rental spaces.
Contrary to earlier reports, Dush said, “The new development will not be a fully gated community.”
The plans for this demolition and construction go back years. The project was presented to the Imperial Beach City Council in 2012, the coastal commission approved changes in zoning laws in 2013, and the council approved the plan in 2014.
Dush said the positive aspects of the project include the "public amenity" of the bike path "that will facilitate active bicycle and pedestrian methods of transportation, which encourages health and helps meet the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals." He added that the residential housing will provide market-rate housing "that will assist meeting regional housing needs."
Dush said via email that signage requirements for both the city and coastal commission were in the process of being met by the developer, Beazer Homes USA. Due to the lot's proximity to the bay, Beazer also must meet signage requirements for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which will then be checked by Imperial Beach.
(Beazer was found guilty of massive mortgage fraud during the sub-prime mortgage crisis that contributed to the Great Recession.)
When asked what had become of the former residents of the RV park, Dush said, "The city has not had contact with individuals who utilized the RV park."
The issue of income inequality was discussed during the coastal commission's 2013 deliberations over changing the zoning laws, with commissioner Mary Shallenberger saying at the time, "I just think there's not enough low-income recreation on our coast and I just, in principle, I just hate giving it up; once it's gone it's gone."
Others argued at the time that the RV park, which rented spaces for $60 a night, or between $975 and $1045 per month, was not really a low-income alternative.