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San Diego City Council Renews Campland’s Lease, Approves Expansion Into De Anza Cove

Speaker 1: 00:00 The camp land recreational area at mission bay park will be around for a while longer to San Diego city council voted on Monday six to three to extend camp land lease for five years. The decision is opposed by environmental groups led by the Audubon society. KPBS reporter John Carroll joins me now with more. Welcome John. Thanks jade. So John, before we dig into this decision to extend its least remind us what and where camp land is. Speaker 2: 00:26 So Ken plant is a 46 acre site in the northeast corner of mission bay. They've been there for 50 years. Uh, it provides waterfront access to campers and that's one of the reasons that the people who are in support of the camp land lease extension cited it as important for the city to vote in that way because they say it's hard for people to find affordable ways to camp and enjoy the waterfront. And this is like the only one that they have. Speaker 1: 00:57 Hmm. And what are some of the other reasons they're in favor of this at lease extension? Speaker 2: 01:01 Well, the big thing that the camp plan folks have been pushing is that they are going to clean up a fairly sizable portion of the neighboring Deanza Cov mobile home park. Uh, our listeners might remember a few years ago, after years of litigation, decades when the city finally, uh, was able to triumph and they evicted everybody who'd lived there. So they're all gone, have been gone for years. And now we have all these mobile homes just sitting there. A few of them will remove, but not a lot of them. And they're decrepit. They're falling apart. They, uh, are laden with asparagus. It is a complete mess. This is Jacob Gelfand. He is with camp land and he is going to talk about, um, the mess in that area. Speaker 3: 01:49 Anyone who goes and walks that site cannot look me in the eye and say that it is not a crisis waiting to happen. And that this is not a, an embarrassment to the city as, as it stands, the, uh, the coastal bike and pastoring and path, uh, under this project would be made much safer, much more accessible for the public to enjoy. Speaker 2: 02:11 So as part of the deal with camp land getting the five year extension, they've agreed to go in and clean up a bunch of these. But there's a catch as also as part of the deal, they get $8 million in rent credits from the city. So in other words, it's paying Peter to pay Paul is just one bit of money going this way and one going that way. And the contention from the folks against the camp plan proposal is that this is really ultimately all being paid for by the taxpayers. Speaker 1: 02:42 Hmm. So then why do environmental groups oppose the lease extension? Speaker 2: 02:46 Well, that's one of them, what I just said, but also, um, they say this is just putting off the inevitable that the longterm vision for Mission Bay Park is restoring it to something close to what it once was like a hundred years ago. Uh, and that means restoring the Kendall Frost Marsh area, all the wetlands around there, they say that, uh, this is something that is very important as it fits into the city's climate action plan. And to just postpone it is just meaning that it will eventually be more expensive. And also that the process of deciding the eventual plan for mission bay is still in process and they say you're just jumping in and sort of putting the brakes on it temporarily. And you brought a clip along? I did indeed. This is Andrew Meyer. He is with the San Diego Audubon society. They're the ones sort of taking the lead and a coalition of groups that oppose this and he talks about the main concern for the society being water quality Speaker 4: 03:48 and this proposal before the city council today does nothing to improve water quality. That's the one, the one measure that they should be doing and they are not doing it. So we will let them know you've got to improve water quality through this proposal and needs to be improved. Do it through this proposal and do it through every proposal that you look at for this particular part of mission bay in the future. Speaker 1: 04:08 And so the water quality around Deanza cove is bad right now. Speaker 2: 04:11 It is considered the worst water quality around the bay because of its location. It doesn't get a lot of flew through a, so there's not a lot of flushing opportunities. Uh, the Rose Creek, uh, was diverted many, many years ago by the city and that led to the current situation with the more stagnant water in the DNC cove area. Speaker 1: 04:33 Okay. So despite those issues and the arguments being made, the city council went ahead and approved the five year lease extension. What are some of the other details of that? Speaker 2: 04:44 So the lease extension allows cam plan first of all, the state where they are and then it allows them to expand. And this is an important part as well, not just cleaning it up. They get to expand into Deanza cove area, the mobile home park. And that's going to allow them to nearly double the amount of RV parking spaces that they now have. So it's not just cleanup, it's they get to use a big portion of that as well. Speaker 1: 05:09 And the city council voted six to three in favor of this decision and not along party lines. And one of the points council members who supported the deal made is that it will take at least five years to analyze and come up with a redevelopment plan for the area. And can you tell me about that? Speaker 2: 05:25 Right. So they're saying, look, yes, it's in the middle of the process, but the process of government is naturally slow. So why not take advantage of this offer while the city retains ownership of all that land and get the Deanza cove area, at least mainly cleaned up, which the city cannot afford. So that's the contention of folks on the positive supporting camp plan side on the council. Speaker 1: 05:51 Mm. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter John Carroll. John, thank you very much. Thank you. Jade.

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The San Diego City Council on Monday voted 6-3 to approve a five-year lease extension for Campland on the Bay campground, allowing it to expand to a large area of the recently closed De Anza Cove mobile home park.
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