On Wednesday, the Imperial Beach City Council will review a plan to create an ecotourism commercial zone along the city's northeast boundaries ahead of plans to build a Bikeway Village along the edge of the Bayshore Bikeway.
The California Coastal Commission approved the change to Imperial Beach local zoning ordinances at its March 7 meeting.
A Commercial/Recreation-Ecotourism zone was created at the request of the city specifically for the Bikeway Village. The now defunct redevelopment agency wants to fund about half of the project.
The Bikeway Village project proposes the creation of a space for shops, recreation and possibly a hostel in 15,000 square feet of renovated warehouses.
About $2.2 million in funding for the Bikeway Village was devoted to the project by the Imperial Beach Redevelopment Agency in May 2012. Spending on the project awaits approval by the California Department of Finance, a decision the city expects will be made in the coming months, said Assistant City Manager Greg Wade.
Approximately $4.5 million will be spent by the Bikeway Village, LLC. which is headed by the building's owner Rex Butler.
The request to change zoning was approved, but its implementation program was changed by the commission to discourage the creation of a sea wall in the future if sea level rise becomes an issue.
"New development shall be sited and designed to account for sea level rise such that the need for hard protective structures is avoided," language added to the plan by the commission said.
City Planner Jim Nakagawa and Assistant City Manager Greg Wade were at the meeting but were not asked to comment by the commission.
"This particular site for Bikeway Village is high enough above the existing water line or sea level and it will remain high enough so that it would not be impacted by sea level rise by current studies," Nakagawa told IB Patch. "Now 20 years from now God knows but right now all studies say Bikeway Village is still going to be high and dry."
Nakagawa cites a 2012 study on the local impact of sea level rise. Click here to see the full study.