Peninsula planners discuss future of North Chapel
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 10/23/18 - 09:58 AM | 1826 views | 1 1 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
North Chapel in Liberty Station. / Photo by Thomas Melville
North Chapel in Liberty Station. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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In October, Peninsula Community Planning Board heard time is running out to save North Chapel in Liberty Station.

The group also got a pitch from a local resident who wants to create a Point Loma Chamber of Commerce, as well as vetting public concerns over the controversial Famosa five-acre housing project.

Ron Slayen, an artist in Liberty Station’s Arts District, clued the plan group in on recent developments with North Chapel. He noted McMillin, Liberty Station’s developer, has leased the chapel site to an as-yet undisclosed tenant.

“It would be an extraordinary dishonor of service personnel’s memories to do anything but keep the building as a chapel on the National Historic Registry,” said Slayen. “This is the only building left at (the former) NTC that really speaks to its history.”

Slayen said an ongoing petition drive has gathered 2,000 signatures since January of citizens favoring the chapel’s preservation.

Since 1942, North Chapel on the corner of Roosevelt and Truxtun has served as a Naval worship site. Today, the chapel is also rented out for weddings, funerals and special events, as well a being used by two Catholic congregations. 

In 2017, developers announced the site was underutilized and that they planned to lease it out to a restaurant or other retailer. A June 30, 2018 date was initially set for the chapel to be vacated, which has since been extended until the end of 2018.

Historic preservation architect Milford Wayne Donaldson wrote a letter supporting maintaining the chapel’s status and structural integrity.

“NTC has explored leasing the historic North Chapel for a restaurant or event space inconsistent with the original intent during the base reuse,” Donaldson wrote… “For 15 years the North Chapel has been used for religious services of many denominations, weddings, memorial services, etc. These uses were consistent with the historic uses of the chapel by the U.S. Navy. Many of our sailors attended their last church service before going off to defend our country… It is critical to retain the chapel for its intended uses as well as public uses without major alterations to the chapel’s spectacular interior. I urge the City of San Diego to oppose any change of historic uses of the North Chapel.”

“Chapels are for worshiping and that is why I am strongly opposed to converting the North Chapel into anything other than a chapel,” said District 2 Councilmember Lorie Zapf. “I would like to see the historic North Chapel preserved as part of San Diego's rich military history.”

In other action:

Michael Winn addressed PCPB presenting a letter to the board asserting, “Point Loma needs an inclusive political forum where residents can discuss and reach consensus around issues we feel are important, and give Point Loma a unified and respected voice.” Winn invited the public to an Oct. 24 meeting at 6 p.m. at Point Loma Library to discuss town council creation.

Residents continued to question the group’s transparency in dealing with the public’s desire to turn a five-acre, open-space site at Famosa and Nimitz boulevards into open space/park use rather than a proposed 78-unit affordable housing project. Some continue to question whether the site is legally owned by the San Diego Housing Commission, which is currently testing to the property to determine its viability for development.

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Geoff Page
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November 01, 2018
I'm puzzled about this story. I attended this meeting. The chapel was not on the agenda. A man got up during non-agenda public comment to update people on what was happening currently with the chapel. There was a brief discussion. Yet 75% of this article was about the chapel. The main issue on the agenda was the controversy over the open piece of land on Famosa and only 12% of this story was about that issue, one that affects far more people than does the chapel. I'd like to know why this article was written in this way.
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