The City of Imperial Beach and the owner of two warehouses in the city's northeast corner are moving forward with plans to build a Bikeway Village.
The village may include retail shops and give people on the bikeway on their way to Coronado a place to rest before
"I know we would have a coffee house, we know we're going to have a bike shop and we're hoping to do a hostel, so those are the types of things we'll attack first," said Rex Butler, who owns the warehouses and Bikeway Village LLC.
First, the project must amend the general plan and local coastal plan to add a commercial/recreation-ecotourism zone.
The project's environmental impact statement must also be approved.
Public review of both actions ends April 9. Comments may be sent to City Planner Jim Nakagawa in the city's Community Development Department.
The project has been in the works for the past three years, Butler said.
"I think the idea is to have private ownership and good tenants. I would start tomorrow if I had the permit," he said. "I don't really know if there's anything on the downside to it."
After City Council holds a public hearing, the zone change will be presented to the California Coastal Commission to request approval.
If the Bikeway Village gets its permits and receives the go-ahead from the city and the California Coastal Commission, it will take about a year to build the new village.
Butler will invest about $4.5 million in project, he said, and the city will invest up to $1.8 million from city redevelopment agency funds, said Community Development Department director Greg Wade.
"That's dependent on how the dissolution of redevelopment plays out so at this point were not sure what if anything well be able to do," Wade said.
As soon as January, the city was in negotiations to purchase a portion of the land for the project that is owned by the San Diego Airport Authority but the city is no longer involved in that effort, Wade said.
Studio E Architects designed the two buildings and landLAB will design the landscape.
The zone will allow for retail businesses as well as hostels, hotels and even a bed and breakfast.
A minimum 60 percent of ground floor units must be active commercial use.
Several types of businesses will not be allowed, including tattoo or body piercing parlors, service organization clubs. City Council approval will be necessary for all proposed development.
No buildings will be taller than 26 feet high.
The project is required to take into account climate change scenarios.
"The state of California projects a rise of 10 to 17 inches by the year 2050 and a rise of 31 to 69 inches by the year 2100.
Among other new business ventures in the area:
- work is scheduled to begin in April on a new four-story American Legion Post with 30 housing units for seniors and veterans
- Palm Avenue Car Wash to open in May
- a Memorandum of Understanding was signed earlier this year between the Unified Port of San Diego and the cities of San Diego and Imperial Beach to explore ways to develop off Palm Avenue
To read more about the proposed zoning change, view a document on the subject from the City of Imperial Beach attached to this article.
Environmental Impact Statement
According to an environmental impact statement prepared by the city, four issues are thought to have "potentially significant impact:"
- hazards and hazardous materials
- cultural resources
- biological resources
Hazardous materials were found on the property as a result of their use as industrial facilities in the past and "historical railroad operations." To mitigate or try to resolve this impact, soil contamination levels will be submitted to the city before a grading permit is issued.
Private contractor RECON found that noise levels during construction could exceed 60 decibels in an area where sensitive species of birds breed like the Light-Footed Clapper Rail and the Belding’s Savannah Sparrow.
No sensitive or restricted plant or animal species were detected on-site during assessment and mapping, though potentially sensitive species have been found within 200 feet of the project.
To mitigate impact, RECON suggests no construction between Feb. 15 and Aug. 15, conduct nesting surveys or analyze noise in affected habitats to assure noise stays below 60 db.
To read more about the project's potential impact, read the statement attached to this article.