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Fact or Fiction: Answers to Rumors and Questions

Welcome to the Fact or Fiction: Answers to Rumors and Questions page, where the City of Coronado provides official information to the community regarding rumors and questions. The City will use this space to correct information and present facts. Truth and transparency are keys to a healthy and vibrant community.​

Was the Coronado Senior Association moved out of the John D. Spreckels Center to make room for the City’s Cultural Arts senior management analyst? (June 2, 2021)

No, the City’s senior management analyst for cultural arts has an office at City Hall where she works for the City Manager on arts and culture. There are three offices at the Spreckels Center that are for the use of facility staff only. The Spreckels Center and its programs are managed by a Recreation and Golf Services supervisor with a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in recreation administration. The Coronado Senior Association and the Coronado Lawn Bowling Club previously shared an office at the facility prior to the pandemic. To comply with public heath orders, operational objectives and, in compliance with state law, the City restricted access to these locations to City employees only. In addition, a professional service agreement with the Coronado Senior Association expired in June 2020. The City provided both organizations with assistance and two weeks to transition out of the City’s office space in November 2020.

Since the Spreckels Center does not have the word “senior” anywhere on the facility, does the City have a true “senior center” that addresses the needs of those 50 and older? (June 2, 2021)

The City replaced the Coronado Senior Center with the John D. Spreckels Center in April of 2017. The City’s Senior Center was operated by the Coronado Senior Association, which served about 450 members. Prior to the construction of the Spreckels Center, the City conducted a senior center needs assessment to identify community expectations and address the programming possibilities for the 8,000 adults, 50 and older, living in Coronado. In the survey, 51% of the collective respondents reported that the prior Senior Center was not designated for healthy active people; did not consider themselves a “senior” or would not go to a “senior center;” or felt it was for the very old or inactive. Prior activities were centered around table and card games. The Spreckels Center was designed to encompass a diverse community of adults and provide services with a focus on those 50 and older to include entertainment, technology, health and wellness, cultural and literary programs, as well as traditional activities. Growth in registration for programming at the facility has increased year over year, reaching a high of 1,551 in the winter of 2020, just prior to the pandemic and closure of the building. Spreckels Center staff is actively engaged with the Cultural Arts Commission and staff at the adjacent Coronado Public Library to expand programs and events as were identified in the community needs assessment.

Do I have to recycle my food waste now that EDCO has announced its new Organic Recycling Program? (Feb. 26, 2021)

Free kitchen caddies are being offered to Coronado residents by EDCO as part of its Organic Recycling Program, which has been implemented to comply with a state mandate to reduce the amount of organic waste entering landfills. The caddies will hopefully encourage residents to begin recycling, however, they do not have to participate and may continue to dispose of their organic waste as they see fit. It should be noted that organic waste accounts for more than 40% of the material in California’s waste stream. Organic material cannot break down when buried in a landfill, as it would in nature or in a compost pile because it decomposes without oxygen, releasing methane gas into the atmosphere. Organic material, such as food scraps and yard waste, may now be recycled when placed in green carts and then transported to EDCO’s new Anaerobic Digestion Facility, where it will be converted into renewable natural gas (RNG) and fertilizer. Construction of EDCO’s Anaerobic Digestion facility is nearly complete, which means starting Monday, March 1, Coronado residents may place food waste in their green trash bins for recycling. The EDCO Organic Recycling Program is voluntary for residents but is required for California businesses by state law. EDCO customers may place food scraps and food-soiled paper only along with yard waste in their green waste containers to be recycled. The anaerobic digestion facility breaks down microorganisms from food and yard waste and transforms it into natural gas that will be used to run EDCO vehicles. There is no reason to believe that organic food waste co-mingled with green yard waste will produce any more odor or attract any more rodents or vectors. Organic food waste caddies have been used by Coronado households for the past several months. Disposal of organic waste is simple and much more beneficial than disposing via a sink disposal. Any reusable container can be used as a kitchen caddie to collect organic waste, but EDCO also has the optional free kitchen caddie for household use. Visit www.edcodisposal.com and click on the Residential Service’s Organics page to learn more about the program and how to place a caddie order. Reducing contaminants in recycling will help meet the goals of Senate Bill 1383, which set a target of reducing organic waste by 50 percent by 2020, and 75 percent by 2025 to fight climate change and reduce methane emissions. The regulations require that jurisdictions conduct education and outreach on organics recycling to all residents and businesses. The City is working with EDCO to inform residents and businesses about the program and will soon launch an informational page on the City’s Comment Coronado public engagement site. To read more about the anaerobic digestion process, click here. Click here to watch an informational video on the Organic Recycling Program.

Why does the City waste money watering the synthetic turf at the Lawn Bowling Green? (Feb. 22, 2021)

Although it seems counterintuitive, applying water to synthetic bowling greens is not merely suggested but is highly recommended as a basic house-keeping measure. It is well known among those who operate synthetic lawn bowling greens that applying water regularly is required to maintain a smooth playing surface. The turf is resting atop a layer of sand measuring 10 mm. During play, consistent use tends to soften the sand in areas, creating an uneven field. To get the lawn back to a smoother surface again, caretakers apply water to the turf for 3-5 minutes to help flatten out the sand. Applying water also helps keep the green free of dust and debris and looking fresh and clean. The City decided to use synthetic grass at the Lawn Bowling Green to reduce maintenance costs, maintain constant conditions and provide a better finished surface. The City is not "watering" synthetic grass but is instead caring for the sand underneath, which is an important part of the lawn bowling green and play.

Does the City’s affordable housing provider San Diego Interfaith Housing treat tenants in an arbitrary, unpredictable, discriminatory fashion and evict people without cause? (Oct. 27, 2020)

In response to a post on social media reflecting negatively on the City and its affordable housing manager, no, San Diego Interfaith Housing does not discriminate or evict people without cause. The City of Coronado has an inventory of 171 deed-restricted affordable housing units scattered throughout Coronado. The City has had a long-term agreement with San Diego Interfaith Housing since 2018 to renovate and manage a majority of the City’s affordable housing units. Most recently, the City and San Diego Interfaith Housing celebrated the completion of work in September 2019 to rehabilitate 35 units at four facilities. The City believes Interfaith Housing, who has worked with Coronado over the past 10 years, is fair with its management of the City’s low-income housing stock. San Diego Interfaith Housing Foundation is a nonprofit agency established in 1968 whose mission is to enrich the lives of low and moderate-income families, seniors and persons with disabilities through the provision of affordable housing. Interfaith has developed more than 1,500 affordable apartment homes in San Diego County. Coronado is a desirable community and many people want to live here. Other than the City’s affordable housing inventory, there is a dearth of housing for low-income households. Qualifying to live in the Interfaith Housing-managed units here is important and the rules are inflexible. As with most property managers, and perhaps more so with state and federal regulations to follow, Interfaith is strict with those qualifying. Residency is based upon income limits. Failure to disclose income is one of the main reasons for evictions and future application rejections. In fact, if the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, which allocates federal and state tax credits to developers of affordable housing, discovers and reports a tenant whose household income is above the required qualification, Interfaith would be held liable for the loss of the tax credits for that unit in perpetuity. This would come in the form of an IRS penalty. Interfaith’s strict approach has caused some to accuse the operator of having a discourteous demeanor. However, the City has never seen Interfaith attempt to discriminate on the basis of race or religion. Interfaith deals with income nondisclosure every year and all are treated in the same fair, professional and impartial manner. There are no exceptions. These types of complaints are rare in Coronado.

How can the City leave the lights on at the Coronado Public Library overnight especially during the current heat wave and with potential rotating outages? (Aug. 19, 2020)

The City recently became aware of an issue with a timer on the lights at the Coronado Public Library. The City has addressed the timer issue. However, it should be noted that the janitorial crew works until midnight or 1 a.m. and, while working, all the lights are on. When the crews leave, the timer usually goes off and the lights go out for the night. If the lights are on in the Library, usually they are on for the janitors. While some lights are left on intentionally for security reasons or to highlight public art, most are turned off overnight. Residents with concerns about City facilities can get a quicker response by using the City’s “Ask Coronado” app. Download the app from the Apple store or in the Google Play store to quickly and easily submit service requests. Residents also may call Public Services at (619) 522-7380 during business hours and the Police Department non-emergency line at (619) 522-7350 after hours to report issues. You can also report an issue online here.

What is the current status of the Golf Course Water Recycling and Turf Care Facility project? What is the status of the environmental review? How are the potential environmental impacts being addressed? Where will the proposed buildings for the project be built and why? (March 10, 2020)

Current Status

The project is undergoing an analysis of reasonably expected environmental impacts. In March 2019, the City Council considered the feasibility of the Golf Course Water Recycling and Turf Care Facility project which includes the construction of a satellite wastewater recycling facility to generate recycled water for irrigation purposes through treating wastewater. The project also includes a new turf care facility and the installation of new irrigation systems along the Golf Course and other public park spaces. The City Council directed staff to pursue analysis and development of the project. In August 2019, the City Council considered an initial study of the project to review its potential environmental impacts. The study included a project description, a preliminary analysis of potential significant environmental impacts in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act and a recommendation regarding whether to proceed with a negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration or environmental impact report.

Environmental Review Status

The first step in any environmental review process, according to the California Environmental Quality Act, is an initial study. The purpose of an initial study is to determine whether a project may have a significant effect on the environment. If the initial study does not identify any potential negative effect on the environment, a negative declaration should be completed. A mitigated negative declaration is to be used when a project has potentially significant effects, but those effects can be avoided or reduced to an insignificant level through conditions or design features incorporated into the project also known as mitigation measures. An environmental impact report is conducted when the initial study indicates a project will have significant unavoidable impacts on the environment and includes an analysis of each significant environmental impact expected and mitigation measures or alternatives to try to limit those impacts. Based on the initial study conducted for the project, the City Council determined any potential impacts of the Golf Course Water Recycling and Turf Care Facility project could likely be mitigated to insignificant levels and directed staff to complete a mitigated negative declaration for the project. City staff is working with environmental consultants Dudek and Associates to complete the mitigated negative declaration. Part of this process includes continued analysis of the project to confirm what, if any, impacts it may have and how those impacts can be mitigated through conditions and design features. Once the report is complete, it will be made available to the public for review and comment. The California Environmental Quality Act requires that the City respond to all comments it receives. The report will ultimately be presented to the City Council for consideration.

Environmental Concerns to be Addressed

In public outreach forums, through the media and social media, several residents have voiced concerns related to the project. These concerns are largely related to possible noise, traffic, odor and visual impacts. The City continues to work with its consultants to refine the conceptual design for the project, identify potential impacts, and confirm that those impacts can indeed be mitigated as stipulated by the California Environmental Quality Act. Concerns regarding noise, traffic, odor and visual impacts will all be addressed in the mitigated negative declaration. For example, with regard to visual impacts, the City is working to produce visual simulations of the proposed project to identify the size and shape of the structures, where they could be located on the Golf Course, the modifications to the Golf Course required to accommodate the facilities, and to what extent the facilities will be visible to the public. The visual simulations will be incorporated into the mitigated negative declaration for analysis. Beyond the strict California Environmental Quality Act impacts, which the City must address, it is the City’s intent to put forth the best end product that will be in keeping with the Coronado “brand.” These will be functional and efficient facilities that are pleasing to all who will see them, including residents, golfers, guests and tourists.

Building Location

Based on prior analysis of City zoning and land ownership as well as previously unsuccessful efforts with the U.S. Navy, the City has determined that the only feasible location for the satellite wastewater recycling facility building and associated facilities is the Coronado Municipal Golf Course. Since the recycled water will be mostly used to water the Golf Course and because the bulk of the project will be paid for by golfers, the site makes the most sense legally, practically and financially. A review of the Golf Course layout, conducted with the assistance of a golf course architect, identified three feasible areas within the front nine holes of the Golf Course to locate the facilities. These locations were included in the City’s most recent feasibility study for the project and were named the “Roadside,” “Trailside” and “Bayside” options based on their proximity to public roads, the Bayshore Bikeway and San Diego Bay respectively. As the City’s environmental review has progressed it was determined that two of the three locations have significant drawbacks. As a result, the City is considering the “Bayside” location the preferred option and is focusing its review in the mitigated negative declaration to this particular area of the Golf Course. The most significant drawbacks of the other two locations are as follows:

Roadside (existing Golf Course Maintenance Facility)
• The area is prone to severe flooding. Correcting this issue would require either raising the elevation of the area several feet, which would make any facility more visible, or installing a new storm water pump station and drainage systems. Such facilities would require regular maintenance in perpetuity and still leave the area susceptible to flooding during power outages.
• This area is prone to golf ball strikes. Correcting this issue to improve worker safety would require significant changes to the Golf Course and the possible installation of tall barriers.
• Keeping the Golf Course Maintenance Facility in this location does nothing to lessen existing noise, employee parking and other impacts on the surrounding area.

• This location provides little opportunity to conceal the structural improvements required for the project in a manner that would be acceptable to the City, residents and golfers.
• Constructing the facility in this area will require the most significant changes to the existing Golf Course layout.
• Any public related, environmental impact at this location is reduced by moving the complex further away from the closest residents and public vistas along Glorietta Boulevard, which results in the preferred alternative, the “Bayside” location.


Next City Council Update

City staff currently envisions providing the City Council with an update on the project status at an upcoming meeting. For more information regarding the project, contact the City’s Public Services and Engineering Department at (619) 522-7383.

Is there still time to have a say on the Coronado Cays Park Master Plan? (Feb. 7, 2020)

The City has not made any decisions about possible improvements to Coronado Cays Park, nor has it approved a master plan for the park. There is still time to participate in the Coronado Cays Park Master Plan project.

The City is currently working with a consultant to draft several alternatives for the public to consider. These alternatives will be based on feedback obtained through public workshops and online surveys conducted last year. The survey results were presented to the City Council in December. Two workshops attracted 136 people. Two online surveys were used to solicit public comment, one on use and amenities and one on visual preferences, with 458 surveys submitted for consideration.

Based on survey results, the public has indicated strong support for maintaining key park features such as the size of the existing dog run, the current parking capacity, natural grass at the park and the full basketball court. Although no final decision has been made, recommendations made to the City Council will most certainly reflect the desires of the community.

Coronado Cays Park is the City’s largest park at about 15 acres and home to Coronado’s most highly used joint-use sports fields. The grass playing surfaces have become uneven and show signs of stress and wear due to ever-increasing use. The irrigation system is aging and does not provide adequate coverage. The City is working to address these issues and, while doing so, wishes to consider possible changes to the amenities provided within the park to meet community and current user-group desires.

The City will continue to work with the consultant to develop improvement options for the park. This may be completed sometime in March. Two more public workshops are planned to present these options, possibly as early as April. Another online survey will be conducted to solicit additional feedback. After all the information-gathering is complete and recommendations finalized, a Cays Park Master Plan document will be presented to the City Council for consideration. It will be a public document available for review and comment.

Contrary to information being circulated in the community, proposed changes to Cays Park will in no way impact Coronado Cays Homeowners Association fees. Maintenance of the park and facilities is paid for by the City. Additionally, the City does not charge for the use of the fields or for the permits required to reserve them through the Recreation and Golf Services Department. The City does not receive any fees for tournament play, although staff monitors the events. The Public Services and Engineering Department’s annual budget for maintaining Cays and Sunset parks, where City sports fields are found, is approximately $131,000. The Recreation and Golf Services Department spends about $10,000 a year to manage reservations, permitting and administrative processes.

Coronado-based organized youth activities have grown in both the total number of participants and the type of activities offered. Currently, there are more requests for field time than field inventory. The City is working on a field allocation policy to address the increases in sporting activities that will address field use, allocation, wear, volunteer/recreational programs versus paid programs, and league and tournament play.

Is the City trying to extend San Diego’s Lindbergh Field into Coronado? (Jan. 22, 2020)

Contrary to misleading information on social media, the answer is no. The City recently mailed a courtesy notice to certain Coronado property owners about a Draft Environmental Impact Report released by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. The environmental report is related to the creation of the Naval Air Station North Island Draft Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan.

If adopted, the Draft Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan will have zoning implications on more than 1,000 existing residential units and commercial properties here in Coronado. The draft EIR concludes that the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan will “result in significant and unavoidable impacts to land use/planning in the City of Coronado.” Although these are not the City’s documents, notices were sent out because it is important for Coronado property owners to be aware of documents that will affect their properties.

The City is working on its own comments in response to the documents. Individuals can make comments. Both the draft Environmental Impact Report and the Draft Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan are available for public review through Feb. 7. There are review copies at City Hall and the Library.

Here are the links to the documents:

Why is the City ending its participation in the Rotary Santa program? (Nov. 14, 2019)

For more than 60 years, the Coronado Fire Department has assisted members of the Rotary Club of Coronado with a program that enlisted its staff and firefighters, and at times a City fire engine, to deliver Christmas presents to local children on Christmas Eve.

Rotary Santa has been a tradition for many generations of Coronado residents and the City of Coronado has been pleased to be a part. However, over the years, laws, regulations, rules, expectations and conditions have changed. The fashion in which the Rotary Santa program has evolved required City employees to collect, catalog, secure, store and account for wrapped Christmas presents. Although most employees performed these tasks willingly, the duties associated with the Rotary Santa program were above and beyond the scope of work for Fire Department employees and are not included in any Civil Service Commission-approved job description. While collecting and housing the gifts, the Fire Station became the temporary home to wrapped packages of unknown origin, raising security and liability concerns. On Christmas Eve, the alarm can ring at any time requiring the Fire Department to jump into action and forcing the volunteer Santas to exit the Fire Station and wait until the on-duty firefighters returned before resuming loading the presents for delivery.

To allow the Fire Department and its firefighter/paramedics to focus on their core mission, Rotary was advised a year ago that other arrangements would need to be made. The City offered free space in the Golf Course parking lot to house a storage container and the City also made available at no cost the Boathouse Club Room before Christmas to sort and load the presents for delivery. However, Rotary found a better alternative. The City is pleased that Rotary will continue the tradition of dressing up as Santa Claus and delivering gifts to Coronado families on December 24.

Coronado continues to support many community Christmas programs. The Fire Department and other City facilities will receive unwrapped presents in bins for several Christmas-related causes. In these cases, the gifts are unwrapped, staff involvement is minimal, and the expectation of custodial care is very low.

Did the new traffic signal at Alameda Boulevard and Fourth Street cause a back-up of traffic east of the intersection on Wednesday, Nov. 6? (Nov. 7, 2019)

No, the cause of the back-up was due to a delay by the California Department of Transportation in reconfiguring the lanes on the San Diego-Coronado Bridge to three lanes heading west.

Is the City going to make changes at Coronado Cays Park? (October 8, 2019)

Coronado Cays Park is the City’s largest park at about 15 acres. It is home to the City’s most highly used joint-use sports fields. Over time, the grass has become uneven and shows signs of stress and wear due to increased use. The original design of Cays Park does not reflect its current intense use. The irrigation system is old and insufficient and needs to be replaced. Replacing the irrigation system will disturb the entire park.

In seeking to address these issues and evaluate the amenities provided within the park, the City Council agreed to seek landscape architecture consulting firms in January 2019 to help assess Cays Park. The Council asked that the consultant hold one or more public workshops to develop a list of possible improvements. The list would then be used to develop designs for public review.

In July, the City Council retained Van Dyke Landscape Architects at a not to exceed amount of $107,000 to help with the park review. Van Dyke’s proposal includes a total of four public workshops to help obtain and respond to resident input. The first two public workshops would be oriented toward listening and information gathering and would be held at different times of the week to encourage participation (one weeknight and one weekend day). The second two workshops would be held to present schematic designs for the park and obtain public comments and opinion on each; again, these workshops would take place at different times of the week to encourage participation. Additional public participation would be available via attendance at Parks and Recreation Commission meetings and at a presentation to the Coronado Cays Homeowners Association.

The City invites the community to participate in the first two planned public workshops, October 16 and 19, to help identify desired improvements for Coronado Cays Park. This is the beginning of a process to confirm what the public wants and explore possible changes.

There is some misinformation being widely disseminated that the City wants to eliminate or change features of the park. The City would like to clarify that there are no pre-determined plans for any changes other than the need to replace the aging irrigation system.

The City wants to keep the focus on ways to improve the park without putting forth any specific plans. The City is hosting the workshops to hear from the community, including how to deal with the difficulty with growing trees in that coastal location, underused areas, parking and the orientation of facilities such as the restroom. The landscape architect can help answer some of the questions. For more information, contact Jim Newton at (619) 522-7313 or send an email to [email protected]

Why were two palms recently removed from the beach? (July 2, 2019)

The City removed two small palms from the beach recently, including one this week, due to safety reasons. Both trees were not planted by the City and appear to have been “volunteer” trees, which usually spring up on their own from seeds placed on the ground naturally. The first tree was infested with bees and its base was rotted. The second palm leaned and was in danger of falling over.

Is the City not respecting its beautiful historic sidewalks? (April 8, 2019)

The Public Services team takes great pride in maintaining the City’s sidewalks to the highest quality and safety standards in the region.

Every three years, each public right of way sidewalk in the City is evaluated, rated and scheduled, where necessary, for maintenance and repairs.

Preserving the City’s historic character is an important part of the City’s strategy. When sidewalks need to be repaired or replaced, which most commonly occurs when there are upheavals or cracking due to tree root system growth and intrusion, Public Services will replace the section of sidewalk with scoring, excluding the Coronado Cays.  

Where possible, historic contractor stamps, typically located near intersections, are preserved when sidewalks are replaced.

Does refinancing the former redevelopment agency’s bonds and loans create more density in Coronado? (September 1, 2018)

The short answer is no.

The refinancing of these bonds and loans -- otherwise known as the outstanding debt of Coronado’s former redevelopment agency -- by its governing body, the Successor Agency, cannot possibly affect density in town. There is no correlation. No new development is needed to pay off the outstanding debt, which was the result of funds used over the past 15 years to build City facilities and Coronado Unified School District schools. What is currently paying off that outstanding debt is tax increment revenue from the School District’s share of property taxes and there is more than enough collected annually to pay off the bonds and loans, and then some.

Property taxes in Coronado have risen steadily over the years due to a very strong real estate market. Many of these homes pay today’s tax rates because they were sold after 1978. But there are many homes in Coronado that continue to pay a property tax rate that is more than 40 years old. Approximately 82 percent of all single-family homes are assessed below the May 2018 median sales price. Proposition 13, which voters approved in 1978, rolled back most real estate assessments to 1975 market value levels, limited the property tax rate to 1 percent, and limited future property tax increases. Under Proposition 13, properties are reassessed only upon a change of ownership or the completion of new construction. Eventually homes will be reassessed once sold, which will continue to increase the City’s property tax revenues.

The refinancing of the outstanding debt of the former Coronado Development Agency, an entity separate from the City of Coronado, by the Successor Agency has been misconstrued by some in the community. The Successor Agency acted to refinance the outstanding debt solely to help the Coronado Unified School District. The Successor Agency could have continued paying the outstanding debt with the current tax increment revenue. The City is not benefitting nor is it harmed in any way from the refinancing action. It stands to gain nothing from the early payoff of the outstanding obligations of its former redevelopment agency. However, the School District will realize substantial benefits once the bonds and loans are paid off early, and for this reason, it is a benefit to the community. The sooner the debt is refinanced and paid off, the more revenue the School District will receive. The School District will receive the full amount of its allotted property tax revenues, or 32.46 percent, instead of it going to the former agency’s debt.

The initial repayment schedule would have had the redevelopment agency’s obligations paid by 2036. However, by restructuring the agency’s obligations -- a process similar to refinancing a home mortgage to take advantage of lower interest rates -- the debt will be paid off seven years sooner. The steady rise in Coronado property values and lower interest rates are the means by which the debt will be paid off sooner. Once the restructured obligations have been paid off, the School District can remove itself from the California School Funding formula and achieve the financially preferred "basic aid” status. The School District will then receive its entire allocation of property taxes from the San Diego County Auditor Controller.

Understanding how the refinancing works will help people understand the Successor Agency's reasons for taking this action and the School District’s full support. Click here for a full breakdown of Coronado's tax increment.

Is it true that enterococci bacteria can be caused by decaying kelp and why doesn’t the City think the current advisory at Avenida del Sol is related to sewage impacts from the Tijuana River or Mexico? (July 11, 2018)

The City has been challenged to explain why the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health issued a beach advisory just before the Fourth of July holiday. The advisory, which remains in effect, warns swimmers to avoid water contact in the area near Avenida del Sol in South Beach. The City made an educated guess that the elevated levels of enterococci bacteria were a result of the decaying kelp that washed ashore in the area where the high levels were recorded. Decaying kelp is normal for this time of year, when ocean temperatures rise. Many strands of kelp die and release from the kelp beds offshore. Regional, scientific studies tie enterococci to environmental sources, specifically, kelp. Here is an excerpt from one study:

“While there is no evidence showing that enterococci can grow in ambient oligotrophic waters (environments that offer very low levels of nutrients), experiments showed enterococci can grow in sands (Yamahara, Walters, & Boehm, 2009) as well as in water augmented with decaying kelp (Byappanahalli, Shively, Nevers, Sadowsky, & Whitman, 2003; Imamura, Thompson, Boehm, & Jay, 2011).”

The exact reason for the high levels of enterococci bacteria in the area in late June and early July may not ever be known. However, it is very unlikely caused by sewage from the Tijuana River for many reasons, the least of which is that beaches closer to the border did not test positive for any sewage contaminants. In fact, the City of Coronado’s waters tested only for enterococci, not fecal coliform or total coliform. Fecal matter is always present in human waste (sewage) contaminated waters. Additionally, the ocean currents in the area during the dates of the elevated enterococci readings were flowing north to south during the entire time of the elevated samples, (see images below). This is compelling evidence that whatever caused the higher levels of bacteria at the South Beach location could not have originated in Tijuana. According to Keith Kezer with the County Department of Environmental Health:

“It is unlikely that the advisory at Avenida del Sol is related to sewage impacts associated with the Tijuana River Valley or Mexico. Routine sampling at these locations, which ranges from one to three times each week, has not detected water quality indicative of sewage impacts from Mexico and has almost exclusively been below state established beach water quality health standards.”

A sewer discharge always leaves a trail of bacteria. If the source of the contamination was Tijuana sewage, the concentration of contamination near the source would be highest and progressively become more diluted as it traveled away from the source. There is no means for contamination from the mouth of the Tijuana River Estuary to travel 10 miles north without contaminating all points in between.

Ocean current mapping 1

Ocean current mapping 2
Ocean current mapping 3

Is the water quality being affected in South Beach and is Central Beach being tested for the Fourth of July? (July 2, 2018)

The City of San Diego, as part of its requirement for federal water pollution discharge permits, tests an outfall at Avenida del Sol weekly. On June 26, test results revealed an above-normal level of Enterococcus. Fecal coliform levels, which are seen in high numbers when the area experiences sewage flows from the Tijuana River, were minimal on the recent test results. The sample resulted in an advisory being issued by San Diego County. The City believes that the elevated bacteria levels are from kelp breaking up near Avenida del Sol and the Coronado Shores area due to higher water temperatures, an annual occurrence this time of year. There is no indication that the bacteria are from the Tijuana River since no beaches closer to the border have tested for similar levels of bacteria. The City of San Diego tested again on June 28, June 29, July 1 and July 3. The City tested on July 5. Results should be in late July 6. The county’s Department of Environmental Health conducted a test on July 2 after hearing community interest for the upcoming holiday and due to the current advisory. The test results over the last few days have shown a decline in Enterococcus levels. However, the advisory may only be lifted after a positive water quality trend that demonstrates levels have returned to below the state standard. The advisory will remain in place through the July 7-8 weekend as more samples are collected and tested. It is important to note that this is an advisory, and not a closure. The advisory suggests avoiding water contact in the area. Those with a compromised immune system, or the very aged or young may want to avoid contact with the water. The City of Coronado, via Laroc Environmental, will sample Central Beach area on Tuesday, July 3, no later than 8:30 a.m. Although the test will not be definitive, if we have a problem we will know quickly. We will inform the community and update this post. The City of Coronado participates in water quality monitoring programs locally and as part of regional, collaborative efforts to improve water quality for the San Diego Bay Watershed and San Diego Bay. The programs include monitoring in the receiving waters (e.g., bay, beaches) and storm drain outfalls to these receiving waters. In addition, water quality monitoring is also conducted by the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health, the City of San Diego, and the San Diego Bay Watershed Copermittees. For more information, visit the City’s Water Quality Monitoring page.

How does a City get selected to Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Best Beaches in America list? (May 29, 2018)

Contrary to a recent social media post, neither the City nor any of its staff pay or have ever paid to be ranked by any organization or business entity, including Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Best Beaches list. Coronado’s City beach made Dr. Beach's list of the best beaches in the country for 2018. The City came in at No. 9 this year, as well as last year. The list is put together annually by coastal expert and Florida International University professor Stephen P. Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach. The City has no contact with Leatherman who, according to his website, uses 50 physical factors to make his decisions including beach width and condition, sand softness, water temperature and number of sunny days. The City does not receive notice of the list but hears about the rankings via the media after the list is released. After many years of rising to the top, Coronado’s City beach found itself at the No. 1 spot in 2012. The City often ends up in top rankings on lists such as best dog beach and best kid-friendly beach. The City has nothing to do with the rankings, but we are proud of them all. The City takes immense pride in its beach and works diligently year-round to ensure the beach is pristine, safe and accommodating to all.

The social media post made several other allegations that also are untrue.

First, Coronado’s City beach did not have record beach closures due to sewage spills last year. The waters at the City’s beach has a strong record of performance. The only closures were due to water quality issues related to sewer spills from the Tijuana River. In 2017, there were two closures, one in January and one in late February into March. The first was due to a series of storms that caused sewage from Baja California to pollute the ocean and the second was due to an unreported sewage spill that caused 150 million gallons of sewage from the Tijuana River to enter the ocean over a period of several weeks. In numbers provided by San Diego County Health officials, in the past 8 years Coronado ocean beaches were closed:
2010               2 closures/16 days
2011-2013 0 closures
2014              1 closure/4 days
2015              2 closures/5 days
2016              1 closure/3 days
2017              2 closures/11 days

Second, it was stated that the City has a “stingray epidemic.” This past summer, the City had an above average number of stingray stings. Lifeguards attributed the increase to an unusually small, gentle surf in 2017. When the surf is bigger, there are fewer reported stings. In 2017, the City’s Lifeguard Services reported 873 minor medical calls, which includes everything from a stubbed toe to washing sand out of the eyes to a cut hand to a stingray sting. Another factor for the increase in stingray stings, according to lifeguards, is the increase in the number of beach visitors in recent years. The numbers of stingray stings are down so far this year. Lifeguards recommend shuffling your feet when entering the water.

Third, it was stated that the City has dangerous riptides. The City has a lower than average number of reported riptides compared to other San Diego County beaches. Many neighboring beaches have a higher number of rescues due to their propensity for higher surf and larger crowds. Mention was made of the City being sued by the family of a drowning victim for not properly warning swimmers of dangerous waters. The lawsuit was dismissed.

Some people have expressed concern on social media that the City doesn’t care about Coronado Cays residents as it relates to the annual Free Summer Shuttle program. Why isn’t the City extending service to the Cays this year? (May  25, 2018)

The City cares about the Coronado Cays. But after several years of pilot programs failing to generate sufficient ridership to justify the cost of providing the service, the City Council decided to no longer offer the shuttle service to the Cays.

By way of background, the Council initiated Free Summer Shuttle service in coordination with the Metropolitan Transit System in 2013. The pilot transit program was created to help alleviate traffic and parking issues in downtown Coronado during the busy summer months. MTS also serves the Cays via regular 901 bus service along the Silver Strand from the Cays to the Village and vice versa. Over the years, City Council and staff have piloted several programs to extend shuttle service to the Coronado Cays: 
  • In 2015, the City offered free Compass Card bus passes to Cays residents to ride the MTS 901 bus to summer Sunday concerts and Fourth of July festivities. Due to a discounted MTS rate, the City was required to purchase the passes in advance. The passes cost the City $2,692 but, due to the discount, no refunds were issued for unused passes. The program was well-received on the Fourth of July. However, at the end of the year, there were many unused passes and rumors swirled that the passes were being used by non-Cays residents. MTS did not offer the discounted rate again despite the City requesting it. 
  • In 2016, the City opted for a different route. The City contracted with Loews Coronado Bay Resort to provide a Silver Strand Shuttle pilot project via the Loews shuttle. This provided bus service from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every 30 minutes from three stops in the Cays to Adella Avenue in the Village. This resulted in 4,040 trips from the Cays at a cost to the City of $60,000. The City's cost for a round-trip was $14.85 per rider.
  • After hearing that there weren’t enough stops in the Cays during the 2016 shuttle season, the City altered the program in 2017 to try to increase ridership and make it more convenient for Cays riders. The City implemented “Cays Curbside Service” in 2017. The program allowed people living in the Cays to be picked up at their door using a system that transported them to the Loews Shuttle service into the village and back seven days a week. This cost the City $9,298. Broken down, there were about 450 one-way trips at a cost to the City of $10.34 each trip. A regular full-day MTS bus pass is currently $5. Given the limited number of riders and cost, the Council discontinued the program in 2018.
   • The City marketed the program in the Cays via the Coronado Cays Homeowners Association, door hangers, ads in the local newspaper, Cays-sponsored A-frame signs letting people know about the service, press releases announcing the special Cays service, and notices in the City Manager’s Weekly Update. In three years, none of the pilot programs spurred any demand for the free service.
  • As a point of comparison, the Free Summer Shuttle carried approximately 150,000 people in the 2017 season at a cost to the City per rider of 90 cents.
  • Ridership has remained very high on the Fourth of July. The City will provide a free Fourth of July shuttle between the Cays Fire Station and the Community Center in 30-minute intervals from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

With a project to fix the problematic underlying structure of the Orange Avenue roadway coming in the fall, are the current asphalt repairs simply “make-work” and unnecessary? (May  25, 2018)

The roads we drive on are structures, much like buildings. Drivers and cyclists are primarily concerned with the condition of the top layer of the structure, but it takes the entire system to make it function properly. For asphalt concrete roads, as opposed to Portland cement concrete roads, the structural layers of the road, starting at the bottom and building up, are:

1) soil sub base;
2) aggregate base (compacted stone);
3) asphalt base course (larger aggregate in the mix);
4) asphalt wearing course (fine aggregate in the mix for smoothness and to prevent moisture penetration).

In the case of the 700 to 1100 blocks of Orange Avenue, there are areas where the road’s aggregate base course is failing. This weakness in the pavement structure’s foundation results in distressed pavement at the surface; evidenced by potholes, ruts and depressions in the pavement.

The current work repairing the potholes, being performed by the Public Services team, addresses immediate safety and quality of service concerns, but it does not resolve the underlying issue. Until the structure’s foundation is repaired, potholes and cracks will continue to arise.

The City worked with the California Department of Transportation over the past four years to schedule and fund a pavement structure rehabilitation project for Orange Avenue. This project was included in Caltrans’ current fiscal year budget and has been designed, competed and awarded. Due to seasonal traffic concerns, the work is planned to begin in late September 2018. In the interim, the current surface patches will provide the residents and guests of Coronado a safe driving experience.

The National Research Center Responds to Validity of Citizen Survey (April 11, 2018)

The following addresses the question of the scientific validity of the National Citizen Survey, commissioned by the City of Coronado and conducted by the National Research Center, as it relates to the potential to allow for multiple responses from the same person or by those not targeted to take the survey.

National Research Center uses best research practices, and ensures that survey results are unbiased and that its findings can be trusted. The central concern is the chance that the survey could be completed more than once, thereby undermining the credibility of findings and creating the appearance that the survey is not scientific.

National Research Center President and CEO Tom Miller, who earned a Ph.D. in research and evaluation methods from the University of Colorado, Boulder, appreciates the opportunity to respond:

All questions about survey methods, including the question raised about the possibility of multiple responses, boil down to a single important question: Are the results likely to be a valid representation of the opinions of the adult population of Coronado? Corollary to that question is: Does the survey process itself create the optimal likelihood of garnering a representative set of community opinions?

National Research Center’s survey methods are based on years of research on survey data collection. Company principals have written two books published by the International City/County Management Association, and have published research in scholarly and lay journals and tested in the field for more than 20 years. The essence of the company’s approach is to follow a set of practices proven to maximize the chances of accurate findings.

Complete coverage of all dwelling units in a jurisdiction
Random/systematic sampling of housing units
Unbiased selection of adult resident in selected housing units
Anonymity of responses promised whenever feasible
Self-addressed and stamped reply envelope
Unbiased questions targeted for local government use that keep the survey as short and simple as possible
Layout easy to follow
Multiple contacts to remind response and offer new response materials. Importantly, contacting potential respondents multiple times encourages response from people who may have different opinions or habits than those who would respond with only a single prompt.
Multiple data collection modes (mail, web) as needed
Signed cover letter from City Manager to evoke civic responsibility
Adherence to American Association of Public Opinion Research Transparency Initiative requirements to make public the key survey methods.

The biggest challenge in survey research these days is to get residents to respond. Response rates have fallen in all locations, for every purpose and by every data collection mode. The threat of multiple responses in most local government surveys is minimal because of the time required to complete the survey and the low stakes of the survey questions. Optimal survey methods for garnering the largest and broadest response include making it very easy for residents to participate and ensuring that responses will be anonymous so that answers are honest. Sometimes residents forget or are too busy to complete their survey or they misplace it, so the best survey practice is to give residents multiple opportunities to give their response. To keep results anonymous, there is no code affixed to the questionnaire that would be required to respond to the survey and no secret identifying marks on the survey so that there is no way to link responses to individuals.

Secret codes can be used to identify residents and residents know this. In National Research Center’s experience, such codes affixed to surveys even in locations not readily visible often are removed by residents from mailed surveys and codes required for entry to a web or online survey reduce response rates and change responses because responses no longer are given in anonymity.

Multiple survey responses are unlikely to have any noticeable effect on the results. In the National Research Center’s research lab, the company has tested the possibility that residents would accidentally or intentionally respond more than once. By using identifying codes, the company determined that on average, about .5 percent to 1 percent of respondents have appeared twice in a sample. But imagine that as many as 5 percent of a sample comprised duplicate respondents in Coronado, a magnitude never seen by National Research Center. That would mean that 7 or 8 residents out of 300 responding residents ignored the clear instructions to respond only once and responded, instead, twice. Such an example of “ballot stuffing” would have no noticeable effect on results. Below is an example of that point.

Imagine that the results of the question about public art found 50 percent of 300 respondents, or 150 respondents, felt there was “too much” public art -- with a margin of error ranging from 44 percent to 56 percent.

Survey Sample Question

Now assume that the eight residents who completed the survey twice, submitting 16 duplicates, or about 5 percent of the 300 respondents, indicated there was “too much” public art in Coronado and those eight duplicates were removed. With 142 of 292 respondents believing that there was too much public art, the new figure would be 48.6 percent of respondents saying “too much,” with a margin of error from 42.6 percent to 54.6 percent. Even with this unlikely magnitude of “double voting,” there is no meaningful difference in results. A few “extra” responses do no harm and offsets the decrease in response rate expected if a code were required to respond. But what about some individual or some group that seeks to write in large numbers of duplicate responses to the anonymous survey? If there were mass intention to undermine the instructions of the survey – written and signed by the City Manager - the timing and volume of scores of unsought duplicate responses would reveal a signature of untypical dimensions that would be spotted easily by researchers. Such a pattern has not appeared.

Below are excerpts from two articles that support National Research Center’s point that giving potential survey respondents multiple opportunities to respond is survey research best practice.

1. In: “Survey Completion Rates and Resource Use at Each Step of a Dillman-Style Multi-Modal Survey” by Andrea Hassol, et al. Abt Associates Incorporated, article submitted for publication to “Public Opinion Quarterly”:

 “In designing data collection strategies, survey researchers must weigh available resources against expected returns…
 Considerable research has been conducted on methods for improving response rates to surveys. Several key factors are known to affect response rates, including salience of the survey (Herberlein and Baumgartner, 1978), form of mailing and monetary incentives (Dillman, 1991), and multiple contacts (Linsky, 1975, Dillman, 1991). A response-maximizing approach to multi-modal surveys, as best articulated by Dillman (1978), includes: 
A respondent-friendly questionnaire;
Up to five contacts with recipients of the survey (a brief pre-notice letter sent a few days prior to the arrival of the questionnaire; a questionnaire mailing that includes a detailed cover letter; a thank you/reminder postcard; a replacement questionnaire; a final contact, possibly by telephone.);
Inclusion of stamped return envelopes;
Personalized correspondence; and
A token financial incentive.

 2. In: “The Effects of MultiWave Mailings on the External Validity of Mail Surveys” by Michael Dalecki, et al. Journal of the Community Development Society. 19(1) · June 2010. University of Delaware:

 Abstract: Survey data, particularly mail questionnaires, are very useful in community development work. With relatively low cost, a practitioner can obtain valid information to determine community needs, support for programs and general attitudes and opinions of local citizens. Low response rates, however, can have serious effects on the validity of the data. Previous research has shown that follow-up mailings are essential to obtaining a high response rate to mail surveys. This paper examines the potential for sample bias if the number of mailings is reduced. Differences between groups responding to three waves of mailings to a statewide Pennsylvania survey (N = 9,957) are examined via log-linear techniques, using continuation ratio models. The results indicate that initial respondents differ from laggard respondents on five demographic characteristics, but differences diminish between early laggard and late laggard respondents. The implication is that single mailings of questionnaires could cause serious threats to the validity of the data. Multiple mailings and other methods to maximize response rates are necessary to improve the quality of survey data for community development work.

Did the City of Newport Beach successfully challenge a state law, Senate Bill 2, that mandates a city's zoning codes accommodate emergency shelters and transitional housing? (June  3, 2017)

No. Newport Beach did not successfully challenge Senate Bill 2, which became law in 2008, nor did it adopt an ordinance to limit or regulate transitional housing. However, Newport Beach unsuccessfully litigated regulations for “sober-living” group homes. Ultimately, Newport Beach settled for $5.25 million and spent more than $4 million defending three lawsuits. The litigation lasted seven years and cost taxpayers $9.25 million.

In January 2008 and after having received complaints from Newport Beach residents about traffic issues, cigarette smoke, loitering and noise, Newport Beach adopted an ordinance that placed strict limits on group living arrangements. Group homes are residential facilities in which individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addiction temporarily reside. The ordinance effectively prohibited new group homes, housing seven or more residents, from opening in most residential areas with some exceptions in multifamily zones. It also required existing group homes to complete a permitting process within 90 days for a special use permit, which required extensive findings in order to allow the group home to operate. The rules could be waived only if the applicant could show a reasonable accommodation was required under either state or federal housing laws.

Newport Beach was sued by three operators, who contended that the ordinance violated anti-discrimination and fair housing laws. They claimed the ordinance forced out many of the group homes serving a protected class because they could not qualify for permits.

A U.S. District Court judge first ruled in 2010 that the nature of the ordinance was not discriminatory and granted summary judgment to Newport Beach. The case was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2013, a three-justice panel, ruled that the ordinance may have illegally discriminated against group homes for people in recovery based on disability. The Court found that where there is direct or circumstantial evidence that the city acted with a discriminatory purpose and caused harm to members of a protected class, such evidence is sufficient to permit the protected individuals to proceed to trial under a disparate treatment theory. Newport Beach requested review of the opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied review. Newport Beach subsequently settled with the three operators for $5.25 million.

The court case is Pacific Shores, LLC v. City of Newport Beach 730 F.3d 1142 (9th Cir. 2013).

It is noted that the Newport Beach case addressed group homes and group living arrangements that predated the adoption of Senate Bill 2, which added the requirement in state law that cities must treat transitional housing the same as other residential uses in the same residential zone. Therefore, unless the conditions apply to all residential uses, they cannot be imposed on transitional housing. Imposing conditions or permit requirements exclusively for transitional housing but not to other residential uses would likely result in the same conclusion reached in the Newport Beach case.

What role does the City have in the redevelopment of the Coramart building and has the City prevented its redevelopment? (May  17, 2017)

Recently, some residents have speculated that the City has not supported or has somehow delayed or prevented the redevelopment of the Coramart building. This could not be further from the truth. The City takes pride in its award-winning main street and works daily to make residents proud of Orange Avenue and other streets in the business district. The City fully supports its businesses, treats all Coronado property owners with respect, and wishes each business well. The City is unaware of any proposal that has been made regarding tenants or improvements to the building that has not been well received by the City. To the City’s knowledge, no lease has been executed between the owner and any potential tenant for the space. The Coramart building, at 844 Orange Ave., was formerly a general goods retail store. The building has been privately owned by the same person/family for many years. The property has not been occupied since the retail store closed. The building is an unreinforced masonry building and does not meet current earthquake standards and may need to be brought up to current earthquake and building/fire code standards before it can be reopened, which presumably will incur a significant cost. Additionally, any eating or drinking establishment would require new parking per zoning codes. As a private building, the City would not participate in negotiations between the property owner and the tenant. The City is aware of the rumors that an agreement has been made to lease the building to either Vons or Rite Aid. As far as the City knows, they are simply rumors. Over the past several years, the City has notified the property owner when the building was not maintained in accordance with the minimum standards of the Municipal Code. When notified, the property owner has taken corrective actions

Are there fresh water aquifers in Coronado that could be used for a supply of potable water? (May 17, 2017)

It has been stated in recent weeks and over the years that fresh water aquifers, close to the surface, exist in Coronado. There have been stories told and second-hand accounts written, but no studies or documents have been found to confirm that any such aquifers exist. Geologically, this is generally impossible in Coronado, as many areas, including the Golf Course and Tidelands Park, were constructed on hydraulic fill or dredge material, and would not naturally support an aquifer.

Aquifers are geologic formations that contain and support the transmission of groundwater. The near-surface groundwater in the fill areas is tidally influenced and brackish. Brackish water is defined as water with a salinity level of 5 to 30 parts per thousand (water with salinity levels from 30 to 50 are classified as saline, and above 50 is brine). The groundwater in the Country Club area was recently tested and found to have a salinity of 19 parts per thousand.

In 2011, as part of a study considering alternative water sources for irrigation, it was discovered that the golf course pond replenishment well water was seawater strength and the dry weather groundwater that flows into the underground storm water system at Coronado Avenue and Eighth Street was brackish. (RBF Consulting City of Coronado Recycled Water Feasibility Study, August 18, 2011)

Current City records do not reveal the presence of fresh water wells.

There are high groundwater levels in Coronado because the City sits mostly at sea level. This groundwater, which when tested is brackish, is often present when excavating construction sites. There is the possibility that small fresh water lenses are present in the fill areas where significant irrigation takes place. Fresh water lenses are thin layers of fresh water that accumulate from rainfall (minimal in Coronado, typically less than 10 inches per year) and irrigation waters that percolate through the soil and rest atop the brackish ground water. This occurs because of the lower density of fresh water. These lenses, if they do exist, also have not been studied.

Deeper underground reservoirs exist in the greater San Diego area. In our area, there is the San Diego Formation Aquifer. The San Diego County Water Authority said groundwater production is limited by lack of storage capacity, availability of groundwater that makes it into aquifers and degraded water quality. It said: “Narrow river valleys filled with shallow sand and gravel deposits are characteristic of the most productive groundwater basins in the San Diego region.”

Even if Coronado were to find fresh water aquifers under the City, the California Public Utilities Commission has determined that California American Water, an investor owned utility, has exclusive service rights to provide potable water to customers in Coronado.


The City has fire rings at North Beach that get very busy during the summer. What is the City’s fire ring policy? How does the City monitor behavior at the fire rings and is it enough? (April 19, 2017)

Coronado has eight, five-by-five-foot fire rings at North Beach. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. City-provided fire rings are permitted uses per Coronado Municipal Code Section 86.38.020. In addition, Code Section 48.04.120 allows for fires to be built in a portable barbecue or other similar devices, however, coals used in any such barbecue device must be placed in a hot coal receptacle or fire ring before leaving. City officials have posted fire ring rules online and on signs at the beach. The rules are simple: The City requires beachgoers to use only clean wood or charcoal; no burning of pallets; no fire materials shall be placed higher than 12 inches above the upper edge of the fire ring; hot coals are to be placed in the proper receptacle; and anything brought on to the beach must be removed when leaving the beach. A few frequent beachgoers have expressed concern that cleaning crews don’t arrive early enough and don’t clean the sand thoroughly enough. The beach is inspected and cleaned every day of the year. Typically, crews arrive at the beach 7:15 a.m. to assess the entire 2-mile-long coastline, looking for safety hazards first, then creating a plan to address other issues based on which locations, such as Central Beach, see the earliest visitors. Workers then begin cleaning the sand, sweeping the kelp and removing trash. By 8 a.m., or earlier depending on the need, crews move to North Beach to pick up trash, sift the sand and empty trash bins. Hot coal receptacles, which can be found throughout the beach, are emptied as needed. North Beach is typically cleaned by 9 a.m. The City also has received comments that the City does not stop all pallets from being burned at the beach, especially outside the summer season. This does happen on occasion, typically during slower times of the year after City Lifeguards have left for the day and when the Police Department conducts more random patrols. The use of pallets is prohibited due to the nails and sharp pieces of wood that can be left behind when they are broken up. During the busy summer season, the City hires security personnel who begin patrolling the North Beach fire rings on the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend. They are on hand through the Labor Day weekend. Uniformed security guards work every day from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. to educate beach users about the beach and fire regulations and to report non-compliance to the Police Department, which also patrols the beach. The curfew for North Beach and vehicle parking on Ocean Boulevard is from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Security personnel take photos every night of the fire ring area before ending their shifts and provide documentation of the beach condition and any interactions they have with fire ring users. They have access to a locked trash bin for the disposal and safekeeping of wood pallets intercepted at the beach. City Lifeguards also provide early morning inspections of the beach. They will locate and mark any fire debris from portable or illegal fires and report them to Public Services for clean-up. Those who witness any beach rule violations are asked to call the non-emergency Police Department line at (619) 522-7350. If there is an actual emergency, call 911. To report any damage, illegal fire debris or trash that requires clean-up, call Public Services at (619) 522-7380. Historically, Coronado had 18 fire rings until 1994, when City officials removed 10, increased the space between them and established a beach curfew. In January 2014, the City Council amended the Municipal Code to limit fires to charcoal and clean wood only, and restricted fire material heights. The City consulted with the California Coastal Commission, who encouraged the protection of lower cost visitor and recreational facilities, citing Section 30213 of the California Coastal Act. Current state legislation seeks to preserve beach fires.

It has been reported in national news stories based on a local report that the City of Coronado’s beach was closed for several weeks. (March  20, 2017)

The ocean shoreline from the border to the north end of Coronado was affected by a sewage spill in Mexico first noted in early February. Coronado’s beach was closed by San Diego County Department of Health officials on Tuesday, February 28, and reopened on Friday, March 3, at 3 p.m. for a total of four days, not several weeks. The spill reportedly involved  million of gallons of sewage in the Tijuana River over a period of several weeks. The river drains into the Pacific Ocean just north of the border. If there are local businesses that have had substantial economic impacts due to the sewage spill, they may report that information to www.SDCountyRecovery.com to help the region qualify for federal disaster assistance for the spill. Completing the form does not guarantee assistance, but will assist in determining federal eligibility

What are the white cones along the Silver Strand State Highway?(March  20, 2017)

 Many residents and commuters ask about the many small cones along the Silver Strand State Highway. They are part of the Navy’s Dune Restoration Project. The Navy recently updated the community about the project. Here is a synopsis: The project is a requirement of the Silver Strand Training Complex Environmental Impact Statement and supports Navy training in this area. The project provides nesting habitat for two federally protected birds, the California Least Tern and Western Snowy Plover. The two-phase project will restore native coastal dune plants. The Navy began planting for phase 1 in the winter of 2012 and all plant protectors for this phase were removed in the spring of 2015.  Planting for phase 2 was completed in January 2016 and the protective cones may need to be in place for up to 30 months; however, the cones will be removed as soon as plants can withstand the intense herbivory.

Questions have come up in the community about what uses are allowed in the City of Coronado’s R-1A residential zoning code. What are those uses?(March  2, 2017)

Here are the allowed uses that apply to all R-1A properties in the City:

  1. One single family dwelling
  2. One duplex or two single-family dwelling buildings in the R-1A(E) zone on a minimum lot of 10,500 square feet
  3. Incidental home occupations (See Chapter 20.08 of the CMC)
  4. Accessory Buildings (See Chapter 86.56 of the CMC)
  5. Off-street parking (See Chapter 86.58 of the CMC)
  6. Residential care facility, supportive housing, and transitional housing, as defined in Chapter 86 of the CMC

The City adopted a resolution in February 2013, amending the Coronado General Plan by adopting the 2013-2021 Housing Element, which is required by the State to effectuate State housing policy. The City was required to amend its Municipal Code within one year of amending the General Plan to address the amendments to the 2013-2021 Housing Element. In early 2014, the Planning Commission recommended approval of and the City Council then formally approved the Municipal Code amendment related to the Housing Element. If the Housing Element is not certified by the State and adopted by the City, Coronado is not eligible to receive some state and regional funding.  Additionally, even if Coronado were to not amend its Housing Element, it could not prevent the subject uses in its residential zoning districts.  As required by State law, language was added to clarify that supportive housing and transitional housing are a form of housing and shall be permitted in zones where housing is permitted, subject to the same development standards as the same type of housing in that zone.

Why are there two construction sites at Spreckels Park? And why is the site near Seventh only a concrete pad? (February  27, 2017)

The Spreckels Park Restroom project includes the demolition of the existing restroom, which has run its useful life and does not meet current demand or Americans with Disabilities Act codes. It will be replaced with a larger restroom and two pads for two new portable restroom trailers for occasions that require greater capacity. One concrete pad is near the existing restroom and the other is on the south side of the park near Seventh Street. When empty, the pad nearest Seventh has been designed to have a second life. The Parks and Recreation Commission approved a design that includes a foursquare court and two hopscotch games. The portable restroom for that concrete pad will have three restrooms, including one that is ADA-compliant. The other portable restroom, which is larger and has more toilets, will be placed on decorative pavers. The portable restroom trailers are designed to eliminate the need for port-a-potties in Spreckels Park throughout the summer months; which will eliminate the odors and improve the Park’s appearance. The total appropriation for the project, including design, construction and administration, is $614,000. Portable restrooms are in place during construction. The art work has been preserved and will be restored. Additionally, two new murals will be installed on the new restroom. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of April of this year.

Hopscotch and Foursquare

Why is the Glorietta Bay Boat Launch Ramp closed and when will it reopen? (January 23, 2017)

The Dock C and Glorietta Bay Boat Launch Ramp project began last month and includes demolishing and rebuilding Dock C as well as rebuilding the boat launch ramp and nearby dock. Demolition is nearly complete on all the Dock C docks. The boat launch ramp was closed on Monday, February 13, to allow construction to begin uninterrupted. It will reopen in May. Signs have been posted and the San Diego Unified Port District was alerted. There are three other boat ramps in the bay that boaters can use: Shelter Island, Chula Vista and National City.

What was the odor in Coronado on Easter Sunday? (April 19, 2017)

On Sunday, April 16, the City received multiple reports of a possible “noxious odor” in the Village area at about 6:30 p.m. Coronado and San Diego Fire crews responded to various locations to locate and identify the source of the odor. While investigating the odor, Fire officials discovered that there also were multiple reports of a similar odor at North Island Naval Air Station. Prevailing winds appeared to push the odor through the cities of San Diego and National City. No significant findings were found on detectors and monitors. A total of 20 reports were received but no source or identification of the odor was determined. The City has the personnel, training and equipment for just such potential emergencies and wants the community to know that it responded immediately, sending units out in the field with detectors and monitors to reach the source. Since there was no hazardous material detected, no further action could be taken. The health and well-being of the community is the No. 1 concern for public safety officials. No one in the community was in any danger. If the City’s equipment had detected a source and identified the odor, actions would have been taken immediately to secure the threat, including notifications, public announcements, community outreach and local evacuations, if required. Coronado residents acted properly in calling the City and public safety officials encourage residents and visitors to call 911 if they smell, hear or see something that could pose a danger to the community. The City thanks you for your involvement.

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