Port of San Diego continues to seek public input on Integrated Planning

Initiative would set a new course for future uses along San Diego’s waterfront and port district.

SAN DIEGO — A planning effort to establish a new blueprint for development of nearly 6,000 acres of land and water throughout San Diego Bay continues to make its civic rounds as the Port of San Diego pushed its Integrated Planning initiative at a public hearing and open house event in March.

The Integrated Planning initiative could have substantial ripple effects within the San Diego boating community once it is fully realized in the next few decades, as the port district’s impending redevelopment is expected to dramatically alter the region’s waterfront.

Port district staff stated the Integrated Planning initiative would “modernize our method for land and water planning and serve as a guide for future uses and development of … tidelands.”

Key goals include protecting natural resources and establishing the port district as a regional economic engine.

Specific details of the initiative’s impact on recreational boating have not yet been fleshed out. However, if recent approvals of redevelopment projects serve as an indication, the Integrated Planning initiative and Port Master Plan Update would balance boating interests with dining, retail, tourist, visitor-serving and other uses.

Anthony’s Fish Grotto, for example, is being replaced with a dining-themed redevelopment project featuring an open-to-the-public waterfront viewing area and dine-and-dock space.

Port district staff and commissioners are also considering a waterfront development at Seaport Village to serve boaters, tourists and visitors.

A planned redevelopment of the Chula Vista waterfront a few miles south of San Diego has already occupied much of the port district’s resources, and construction is not yet on the radar.

Finalizing and enacting the Integrated Planning initiative would allow the port district to have a set of establish standards applicable to all future developments along the San Diego waterfront – as opposed to considering each one piecemeal, such as is currently the case with the aforementioned projects.

Ultimately the port district hopes to achieve five objectives with the Integrated Planning initiative: reorganize content within the Port Master Plan Update; consolidate and simplify 35 land and water use designations into 20; obtain input on draft goals for the Land and Water Use Element; seek additional public input opportunities for the Port Master Plan Update process; and, foster public participation through open, collaborative and collegial workshops.

The port district most recently held a sanctioned workshop (March 9) and open house (March 23) to review the current status of the Integrated Planning initiative, which is roughly halfway through its five-year development timeline.

A draft Port Master Plan Update based upon the Integrated Planning process, which started in 2013, could be available as soon as this summer. The port district also plans to initiate an Environmental Impact Report in the next few months as well.

Port staff and the agency’s Board of Commissioners will revisit the Port Master Plan Update and Integrated Planning initiative at a special board meeting on April 27.

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