The City of Imperial Beach City Council appoved portions of the Bikeway Village project at their meeting last week, and will move to approve a final ordinance at their May 16 meeting.
Situated in the city's northeast corner on the edge of the Bayshore Bikeway, the Bikeway Village would convert two warehouses into a 42,000 square foot property that may include a coffee shop, other commercial properties and a hostel.
Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolultion that approves the project's design and site plan reviews as well as steps deemed necessary to mitigate the project's environmental impact.
Another ordinance will be decided on next week to approve the creation of an ecotourism commercial/recreation zone for the project to operate within.
Property owner Rex Butler will invest about $4.5 million in project, he said, and the city may invest up to $1.8 million from remaining redevelopment agency funds, said Finance Department director Michael McGrane.
Whether that money goes toward the Bikeway Village depends heavily on Sacramento defining vague portions of AB26, the bill that dissolved redevelopment agencies Feb. 1, McGrane said.
Once council approves the project it will then need a thumbs up from the California Coastal Commission.
City Planner Jim Nakagawa said he hopes to get the commission's approval at a meeting in San Diego in October and break ground within a year.
Mayor Jim Janney instructed city staff to "engage with the Coastal Commission" and that the city needs to "campaign" on investor's behalf to attract more businesses to the area in the future.
"The only way Imperial Beach is going to move forward is to be proactive in helping private business to move forward. We are going to make life easy and accommodate people that want to invest their own money in our town," Janney said.
"We cannot be waiting for somebody else to tell us what to do. We are going to have to ask, we are going to plea. We will campaign for things that we think the city needs to make it better."
Steps deemed necessary to take to offset the project's environmental impact were also discussed.
"There were some chemicals found through testing, on the northern part of the airport parcel, running along the Bayshore Bikeway which sits on the old railroad tracks of the San Diego/Arizona Railway Company," Nakagawa said.
"We believe those chemicals were used to preserve the old railroad ties that are now proved hazardous. During soil disturbance, if these chemicals are found, it must be removed."
Other steps necessary to diminish the project's impact include noise impacts for local wildlife and birds, and an archeology expert will be needed since Native American artifacts have been discovered in the area.
Both ordinances, the site's design and plans, an environmental impact study and steps deemed necessary to curb the project's environmental impact are incldued in the attached agenda packet in agenda item 3.2.
A list of 32 conditions of approval are also included.
Public comment on the matter at the meeting came from one City of San Diego resident who voiced support for the Bikeway Village.