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San Diego’s Mission Bay Getting A Localized Facelift

King Tides at the Kendall Forest Marsh in Mission Bay, Jan.12, 2017.

Photo by Erik Anderson

Above: King Tides at the Kendall Forest Marsh in Mission Bay, Jan.12, 2017.

There are likely some dramatic changes coming for Campland on the Bay and the property that includes the now closed De Anza Cove trailer park.

City staffers spent more than two hours going over their two development proposals for the De Anza Cove region. City planner Alyssa Muto called the process difficult, something akin to squeezing 50 gallons worth of options into a five-gallon bucket.

The Mission Bay Master Plan considers the more than 4,000-acre aquatic park as a single entity guided by several underlying principles.

RELATED: San Diego Poised To Sharpen Options To Change Northeast Mission Bay

"It sets this high-level goal of recreation commerce and environment and balancing those uses. Within the Mission Bay master plan there are also a number of recommendations for what can be done in the De Anza special study area. De Anza was the last area of Mission Bay to be planned. So, it's shown as a blank slate," Muto said.

San Diego planners took another step closer Thursday to a major redesign of the northeast corner of Mission Bay.

City planners have filled-in that slate.

After months of work, and a cool reception to three potential redevelopment alternatives released late last year, the planning office narrowed the field to two choices. Both preserve the golf course, sports fields and shoreline park space. And they open up parts of the De Anza Peninsula, an area that has been off limits to the public for years.

"With this project, under both alternatives, we will develop that bike and pedestrian access in and around connecting to the existing bridge over the Rose Creek channel," Muto said.

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De Anza Revitalization Plan

De Anza Revitalization Plan

Conception art of the De Anza Revitalization Plan.

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Both alternatives call for the creation of additional wetlands around the De Anza peninsula. The first suggests about 27 acres. The second cuts a channel through the peninsula to create an island and close to 35 acres of salt marsh.

"You'll see the restoration efforts off-shore in the green area. Shaded similarly to the area in the west because it's intended to be a continuation of that habitat," Muto said. "And this area to the west is the Kendall Frost marsh as well as the existing Campland property and then the offshore areas proposed for restoration and for the Re-wild plan."

Both plans set aside about 40 acres for some kind of guest housing, which could be a recreational vehicle park or some other kind of camping related leasehold. The ad hoc planning group voted option two as its preferred alternative.

But neither option sits well with the two most vocal groups pushing for change, campers and environmentalists.

Sean Schwab helped organize Campland on the Bay supporters who delivered 2,700 signatures on a petition in support of a recreational vehicle park.

"There's a lot of room for improvement on that option two, without question. We really need to go ahead and stress the overnight camping option, like we have at Campland. And we have what, about 45 acres of that currently and that's certainly not in that option two. I really feel they missed the mark," Schwab said.

The Audubon Society is pleased that the existing Campland on the Bay property is being reclaimed as natural habitat, but the Re-Wild Mission Bay backers had pushed for a stronger commitment to the environment in the De Anza Cove planning area.

Photo by Guillermo Sevilla

City planner Alyssa Muto gives KPBS Reporter Erik Anderson an explanation of the two redevelopment alternatives for the northeast corner of Mission Bay on June 28, 2017

Rebecca Schwartz Lesberg acknowledges there are positive aspects to the two proposals, but she said there was a chance for more.

"What the city has tried to do is please the highest number of people, or, anger the fewest people. But this isn't a popularity contest. They need to be thinking long term about what this region needs," Schwartz Lesberg said.

San Diego planning official Alyssa Muta understood the frustration, but she said the city has to balance the needs of the entire Mission Bay region.

Both plans will be presented to the Mission Bay Planning group in August or September. City planners will start crunching costs in an effort to put a price tag on the renovation.

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