Redevelopment proposal at Navy’s Old Town property creates waves
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 06/16/21 - 07:30 AM | 6066 views | 6 6 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
POTENTIAL IMPACTS – Simulation views at full build-out from Presidio Mormon Memorial Park: Alternative 1, less than significant impact to visual resources as the existing size and scale of the structures on Old Town Campus would be maintained. Alternatives 2 through 5, significant impact, primarily related to the obstruction of view corridors and the contrast of the height, bulk, and scale on OTC with the existing surrounding community. Alternative 4 has the highest proposed density and the highest visual impacts.
POTENTIAL IMPACTS – Simulation views at full build-out from Presidio Mormon Memorial Park: Alternative 1, less than significant impact to visual resources as the existing size and scale of the structures on Old Town Campus would be maintained. Alternatives 2 through 5, significant impact, primarily related to the obstruction of view corridors and the contrast of the height, bulk, and scale on OTC with the existing surrounding community. Alternative 4 has the highest proposed density and the highest visual impacts.
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An environmental analysis is out on the NAVWAR redevelopment proposal to turn it into a transit hub with housing and airport connections, while pressure is building to downsize the project by a local group calling itself Save San Diego’s Character.

“Recently, the Navy initiated a direct mail campaign to notify residents and business owners of the impending renovation of the NAVWAR facility in Old Town offering five ‘alternatives’ to review and select a viable option,” said Patty Ducey-Brooks of Presidio Communications, speaking for Save San Diego’s Character. “The Navy proposes a version that has caused lots of concern regarding the character, integrity, and history of San Diego.”

In response, residents, and business owners in Midway, Old Town, Mission Hills, Bankers Hill, Point Loma, and Ocean Beach have enlisted an aggressive campaign to support Alternative 1, which encourages the Navy to rebuild a suitable facility for NAVWAR in Old Town.

A draft environmental impact statement on the NAVWAR redevelopment proposal is out for public review now until July 13, and there is a Wednesday, June 23 Zoom meeting scheduled on the project from 5:30-8 p.m.

Navy spokesperson Caitlin Rose Ostomel said the NAVWAR redevelopment project is still in the early environmental and planning stages.

“While the exact development plan is not known at this time, the range of alternatives analyzed in the draft environmental impact statement represents a reasonable range of development options,” said Ostomel. “The Navy initiated a request to gauge industry interest and solicit ideas for modernizing Old Town Transit Center through a public-private development arrangement. In a public-private development, the developer pays for the construction of new Navy facilities in exchange for lease or other development rights of the remaining land.”

Save San Diego’s Character claims the NAVWAR redevelopment project, if totally built out, would create high-rise commercial development; 106 buildings stretched for half a mile along I-5 that reach up to 350-feet in height; 10,000 new residential units for 14,000 residents; a $4 billion transit hub; and a wall of commercial buildings that would create a visible and physical barrier for the residents and communities of Midway, Old Town, Downtown, Mission Hills, Bankers Hill, and Point Loma.

The Navy’s five alternatives for NAVWAR redevelopment are spelled out at www.NAVWAR-Revitalization.com. Under Alternative 1, Navy-only redevelopment of NAVWAR facilities would occur by phasing construction projects over five years. This alternative would not involve mixed-use development or a transit center on Old Town Center.

Under Alternatives 2-5, new modern facilities would be constructed for NAVWAR at OTC. Once new NAVWAR facilities are constructed, all existing buildings on OTC would be demolished and replaced with private development of residential, office, hotel, retail, streets, alleys, sidewalks, parks, and open space. A public-private development agreement would be implemented over a 30-year period.

Two Save San Diego’s Character supporters both expressed a preference for Alternative 1 only.

“Alternative 1 is the only path forward to prioritize Navy modernization and allow time for City, community, and historic organizations to provide input to private development and transit,” said Jaime Gonzales. “Buildings up to 21-32 stories, adding up to 10,000 dwelling units, and 70,000 new car trips a day, should not be wedged into 70 acres in the congested Midway District. San Diegans must have a voice to create a proud legacy that fulfills the housing and transit needs of tomorrow without undue sacrifice to our citizens’ lives.”

“I would like NAVWAR to approve Alternative 1 and immediately commence the redevelopment of their NAVWAR facility for their mission-critical operations of Cyber Security and Information Systems,” said Susan Trebon. “I oppose Alternatives 2-5 as these plans allow for the high-density build of up to 21-32 story high-rise structures not compatible nor congruent with San Diego’s Old Town Historic District. 

“I would like NAVWAR and the community of San Diego to work together for mature growth and redevelopment of this valuable and unique area. Any proposed redevelopment structures' scale, bulk, height, and design should be in harmony with the historic district of Old Town, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, and Liberty Station. And the redevelopment's aesthetic and design elements should be done with reflection, respect, and preservation of our historical community,” Trebon said.

“The Navy is committed to providing extensive opportunities for public involvement, during the development of the draft and final environmental impact statements and to share their ideas, concerns, and questions on the project,” said Navy spokesperson Ostomel. She added the environmental study out for review on the project “provides an analysis of the potential effects a proposed federal action may have on the environment. The EIS process includes public involvement and results in more informed decision-making.

“Alternatives that meet the purpose of and need for the project are developed and the EIS documents the potential impacts each alternative could have on the environment. In the EIS, measures are developed to avoid or reduce environmental impacts that might result from each of the alternatives, resulting in the selection of an alternative for implementation as documented in a record of decision.”

Comments
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San DieGONE
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August 08, 2021
Does the NAVY own that property exclusively, without concurrent jurisdiction with the state?

Property taxes for that real estate and those residential properties would be astronomical these days, so it makes sense to allow high-rise condos all the way to the moon, if they so desire, if the land is under concurrent jurisdiction with the state.

Or the opinions of the citizens who live and own residences in the area might be considered in terms of what they think it should look like, I guess, if you think this nation is some kind of "Democracy" or whatever.
no more density
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June 28, 2021
Residents & Voters who's views aren't effected probably don't care about esthetics or views. The better argument to be made for Alternative 1 is that 2-5 will worsen traffic, pollution and make it even harder to park your car wherever you live. All those new residents are going to drive to work, to shop, and to have fun. Any San Diegan who uses the 5 or streets nearby will feel the negative impacts of 2-5.
Nathan Brenner
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June 16, 2021
CLEARLY, ALTERNATIVE 1, NAVY ONLY. YOU DON'T PUT HIGH DENSITY, HIGH RISE RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT IN A VIEW CORRIDOR. YOU DO IT WHERE THERE IS A MESA WITH NO POTENTIAL TO FLOOD, LIKE CLAIREMONT. REDEVELOP THE LINDBERG AIRPORT WOULD PROVIDE FOR A PERFECT LOW RISE HIGH DENSITY RESIDENTIAL/RETAIL DEVELOPMENT (MOVE THE AIRPORT TO AN AREA LIKE EL CAJON OR CHULA VISTA)
housing bro
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June 17, 2021
lol nobody cares about your view bro. house the people!
anonymous
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June 18, 2021
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Don Wood
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June 22, 2021
You certainly don't surround one of the Navy's most secret facilities, its worldwide cybersecurity center, with highrise residential and leased office buildings. There would be no way for the Navy to prevent Chinese or Russian spies from buying or leasing housing or office space within a stone's throw of the cybersecuirity center and eavesdropping on it using sophisticated electronic monitoring technology equipment. There are federal laws that describe security requirements for new Naval and cybersecurity facilities, and it the Navy gets it way to obtain a new cybersecurity faciility for free in return for allowing developers to surround it with market rate housing and office facilities, I don't think it would comply with those federal laws.
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