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“Future of the Port” Planning Reaches Major Milestone

Port Commissioners Certify Final Environmental Impact Report and Approve Port Master Plan Update; Coastal Commission Review Next

SAN DIEGO— The Port of San Diego has achieved a significant milestone in its strategic planning for the future, known as the Port Master Plan Update. On Feb. 28, port commissioners unanimously certified the Final Program Environmental Impact Report and gave their approval to the update.


The next step involves port staff working to process the update document with the California Coastal Commission, aiming for certification by late this year.


“We are excited to enter the final phase of this important plan that reflects our collective vision – of our communities, stakeholders and the port – for the future of San Diego Bay and the surrounding waterfront,” said Port board Chairman Frank Urtasun, in a statement. “After 11 years of community engagement including numerous public meetings and exchanges with the public, the (update) will help us continue to deliver on promises made to voters when the port was established in 1962. It will protect and enhance opportunities for public access and parks, preserve our natural resources, balance the need for development, provide good paying jobs and more.”


“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who provided input and engaged with this process. Your commitment and involvement has ensured a very thorough and comprehensive effort,” said Commissioner Ann Moore, who has spearheaded the effort. “The port has worked very hard to engage as many people as possible to ensure this plan meets the needs of all Californians and our communities for the next several decades. We look forward to the next stage with the California Coastal Commission and to celebrating when we cross the finish line.”



The Port Master Plan delineates the allocation of land and water resources in San Diego Bay and its adjacent waterfront areas for various purposes such as maritime activities, fishing, visitor-serving commercial ventures, recreation, environmental conservation and navigation. It dictates the locations for port-related operations, recreational facilities and commercial establishments including hotels, restaurants and retail outlets catering to visitors.


There are several re-occurring and prevalent themes throughout the update, including efforts to promote a healthy bay and communities and the Port as a robust regional economic engine, while  improving mobility and coastal access.



The San Diego Unified Port District Act and the California Coastal Act mandate the creation of a Port Master Plan. The port is presently revising its Port Master Plan to align with the evolving needs and priorities of Californians and the region’s development. The existing plan was sanctioned in 1981. While there have been numerous amendments targeting specific locations within the existing plan, a comprehensive overhaul never has been undertaken.



Planning for the update commenced in 2013. This structured process encompasses five phases, including master planning, the issuing of draft reports, environmental review and submission to the Coastal Commission.


Master Plan:

  1. Vision statement and guiding principles (completed in 2014) – This initial phase included a high-level assessment of port-wide assets and extensive public engagement.
  2. Framework report (completed in 2015) – Shaping a core set of comprehensive ideas, memorialized in a report that informed the development of the Draft update document (phases 1 and 2 make up the Integrated Planning Vision).
  3. Port Master Plan Update discussion draft and revision (completed in 2020) – This phase involved direction from the board for drafting documents to be used as the project description in the Draft Program EIR and which is comprised of goals, policies, and map, including.
    • Baywide Elements and Planning District Goals (Completed in 2017)
    • Policy Concepts and Water and Land Use Maps (Completed in 2019)
    • Additional Policy Discussion Topics (Completed in 2019)
    • Public review of update Discussion Draft (Completed in 2019)
    • Public Review of Revised Draft update (Completed in December 2020)
  1. Environmental review pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act (Completed in February)
    • Staff conducted the requisite “CEQA Environmental Review.” (Draft completed in 2021; preliminary environmental review work began during the third phase.)
    • Public review of the draft with the latest draft update. (Completed in 2022)
    • Release of the final PEIR with the Final Draft update. (Completed in December 2023)
    • Port Board certified the Program EIR and approved the PMPU (Completed on Feb. 28, 2024)
  1. PMPU Certification (Current phase; anticipated completion in 2025)
    • Processing of the PMPU with the California Coastal Commission (Anticipated spring 2024 – late 2024)
    • California Coastal Commission considers certification of the PMPU (Anticipated in late 2024)
    • Port Board approves the PMPU as certified by the Coastal Commission (Anticipated in 2025)

For more information about the PMPU process and/or to sign up to receive updates, go to

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