Statement on Land Use and Housing Committee Recommendations for Lease Approvals


June 13, 2019

San Diego, Calif.  –  Members of the ReWild Mission Bay coalition continue to note their disappointment with the City of San Diego’s Land Use and Housing Committee recommendation to extend the lease of the current Campland site in the northeast corner of Mission Bay by five years, thereby precluding the initiation of wetland restoration efforts west of Rose Creek and east of Kendall Frost Marsh Reserve.

The 1994 Mission Bay Park Master Plan called for the relocation of the current Campland site in order to facilitate wetland restoration at the mouth of Rose Creek. The plan was upheld in 2002.

Similarly, ReWild Mission Bay coalition members are concerned about the granting of an all-new lease to Campland to manage the Mission Bay RV Park on De Anza Point for five years, with three one-year extension options, after the current operator announced their intent to cease management of the site June 30.

De Anza Cove and De Anza Point have similarly been identified as ripe for wetland restoration, in part to improve water quality and climate resiliency.

San Diego Audubon and the ReWild Mission Bay campaign do not oppose the existing affordable guest housing in the northeast corner of Mission Bay. However, the organizations oppose expansion of this land use while the City and the surrounding communities are still debating land uses via the ongoing De Anza Revitalization planning process.

“The confidential nature of these negotiations has effectively silenced public participation in a very important land use decision for Mission Bay,” said Chris Redfern, executive director of San Diego Audubon, which manages the ReWild campaign.

“By allowing lease agreements to be bound up within a confidential settlement agreement, the City has been complicit in an end-run around the public planning process, and disenfranchised valued stakeholders and the public at large,” said Redfern.

San Diego Audubon Conservation Committee chair Jim Peugh said, “Proposals negotiated behind closed doors are being ramrodded through the city’s decision-making bodies with undue speed. If these proposals are approved by the full council, land uses will become further entrenched in the area, severely limiting our ability to use natural infrastructure to protect coastal communities from flooding and sea level rise.”

The four-person committee voted 3-1 in favor of approving the leases with no significant changes. The City of San Diego Planning Department pledged, at the suggestion of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s representative, to analyze the “Wildest” component in the ReWild Mission Bay feasibility study in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

Councilmember Vivian Moreno (D-8), chair of the Land Use and Housing Committee, was the sole dissenting vote. Moreno suggested an amendment that would give city council more oversight over the Campland leases by requiring council votes for each potential one-year extension, and emphasized the EIR should analyze the Wildest proposal in the same manner as other alternatives.

Councilmember Jennifer Campbell (D-2), who made the motion to approve the leases, objected to the amendment. Campbell, Councilmember Chris Ward (D-3), and Councilmember Scott Sherman (D-7) voted in favor of the lease recommendations.

San Diego Audubon Conservation Director Andrew Meyer said that Campland is seeking to “put the cart before the horse” with their proposals, which were given fast-track treatment by the city and through local planning groups, none of which have arrived at a defined decision on the leases.

Meyer also said that other critical issues are being missed. “Two days ago, on June 11th, the County of San Diego water quality program said the water at Campland is too polluted and to avoid contact. Water quality improvements are clearly needed, and this is the one objective the City should be using to weigh the merits of these leases. They do nothing to improve water quality, and only move us further down the path to a park that’s not providing public benefits for all of us.”

The full San Diego City Council is expected to consider the lease recommendations in the Monday, June 24, session.

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ReWild Mission Bay is a project of the San Diego Audubon Society and our coalition partners to enhance and restore wetlands in the northeast corner of Mission Bay, thereby creating new opportunities for wildlife to thrive, and for San Diegans to enjoy nature in our collective backyard.