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Commission Rejects Bayfront Hotel Project

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Aired 4/19/09

The California State Lands Commission rejected a hotel-timeshare project after a two-hour hearing in San Diego Thursday afternoon, because it restricted public access to San Diego Bay. Developers wanted to build an eight-story hotel on Harbor Island near Lindberg Field. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has more.

In what could have been a precedent-setting decision, the commissioners decided that the proposed Woodfin Suites Hotel project would limit access to the public trust lands. Those are tideland areas set aside for public access. The commission oversees those lands. The decision turned on the project's plan to sell 40 timeshare units. 

Project supporters argued that by providing a restaurant, marina services and other amenities, they were enhancing public access to the waterfront. But opponents claimed that by selling private timeshare units, the project would only benefit people that could afford to buy that access.

Opponents said if the commission approved the project, it could lead to more private development on public waterfront areas. The State Lands Commission has never approved a timeshare project on the public trust lands. The decision doesn't end the Woodfin project. The state coastal commission has final say and will consider the proposal next year. Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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