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Navy Broadway Back in the Public Eye

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The Navy will release a new environmental assessment this week on plans to build a multi million dollar headquarters on one of the most scenic sites in San Diego. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more

Navy Broadway Back in the Public Eye

(Photo:  Captain Matt Brown and Captain Mike Allen of the Navy’s Southwest Region Headquarters stand behind the old Navy buildings on Broadway. Alison St John/KPBS )

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The Navy will release a new environmental assessment this week on plans to build a multi million dollar headquarters on one of the most scenic sites in San Diego.

The Navy Broadway Complex on San Diego’s downtown bayfront met public resistance during city -sponsored public hearings on the project two years ago. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The Navy will hold a new round of environmental hearings this month, because a federal judge ruled in July the Navy - not the city -must get more public involvement.

The hearings wont focus on specific plans, like the ones presented by developer Doug Manchester. Rather, they’ll be an update of the environmental impact report originally done in the 1990s. That’s when the city signed an agreement allowing the Navy to develop the site.

Captain Mike Allen says the Navy needs commercial development on the eight block site, across the street from the U.S.S Midway. He says that’s the only way to afford a new state of the art headquarters.

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Allen : We’re in these old converted warehouses built in the 1900s and 1920s and there isn’t an alternative that we can see that will allow us the opportunity to move into a modern building, because of the way the budget is.

Critics say the waterfront location has too much civic value to be covered with commercial development. 

Downtown planning activist Don Wood, says the Navy’s new environmental assessment needs to consider things that weren’t in the agreement signed 17 years ago.

Wood : Including potential seismic faults underneath the site, which is on tidelands, seawater rise due to global warming, traffic, and other issues that the public has become aware of since the EIR was done in 1991.

The Navy  will hold 3 public hearings at the end of this month. And, starting next week. certain private citizens have been invited to attend personal briefings with Admiral Len Hering.

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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