9/18/2023 - San Diego Daily Transcript
Commentary by Thor Kamban Biberman and Yehudi Gaffen
The Port of San Diego is seeking comments for the draft environmental impact report for the proposed Seaport San Diego redevelopment project on the bayfront.
The move toward preparing a draft EIR is just the latest in a very lengthy process -- a process slowed significantly by the discovery of an earthquake fault line that forced a redesign.
Last November, Port Commissioners authorized their staff to begin the environmental review process. On Sept. 14, the notice of the planned preparation of a draft EIR was issued, and public comments will be incorporated into the document.
Port staff anticipates the draft EIR will be released for public review and comment in the fall of 2024. Concurrently, staff are continuing to work with Seaport San Diego developer 1HWY1 on financials and feasibility for the proposed project.
After the final EIR is complete, the Port will consider its certification and the approval of a Port Master Plan Amendment (PMPA). If the Port board certifies the EIR and approves a PMPA, the amended plan would then go to the California Coastal Commission for approval.
Once a PMPA is certified, 1HWY1 must also get a coastal development permit at which time Port Commissioners will also be asked to approve some form of real estate agreement with 1HWY1.
The 1HWY1 team is headed by Gafcon founder Yehudi Gaffen, Jeff Jacobs, son of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, and Jeff Essakow of Protea Properties.
In 2016, the Port selected 1HWY1 to redevelop a large portion of the Central Embarcadero, including Seaport Village, Tuna Harbor, Embarcadero Marina Park North, and Ruocco Park.
1HWY1 is proposing a mix of uses, including extensive plazas, parks and promenades; piers and marinas; hospitality, retail and restaurants; commercial fishing uses; multiple visitor attractions; an urban beach; and educational uses. The Seaport San Diego plan covers approximately 39 acres of land and 63 acres of water.
Gaffen said in a prepared statement that progress continues to be made.
"Our team is brimming with energy and momentum as we enter the next milestone in this process, the official start of the environmental review process for Seaport San Diego," he said. "We understand the Port's process will be thorough and will include ample opportunities for public review and feedback.
"We look forward to the analysis of the many proposed improvements to public access, including a greatly expanded public promenade along the waterfront. While the release by the Port of the Notice of Preparation is one step in a technical process, it represents significant progress and demonstrates the substantial amount of resources being invested in our proposed project. We are also using this period to seek out even more participation from our community that will inform (and help develop) a Public Access Plan for the project to be studied in the Draft Environmental Impact Report.
"We recently launched an outreach effort, Seaport San Diego For All, which aims to gather a diversity of voices to enhance accessibility and the public experience of the Seaport San Diego bayfront."
Plans for the landside portion of the project include 10 new buildings ranging in size from two stories to 34 stories comprising approximately 2.7 million square feet of mixed-use development.
Specific plan details include:
The Port is holding two public scoping meetings during the current 33-day comment period. An in-person meeting will be held Wednesday Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. at the Port of San Diego Administration Building (3165 Pacific Highway) while a virtual meeting will be held Thursday, September 28 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom.
Written comments will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 16 and should be emailed to SeaportSD@portofsandiego.org or mailed to: Port of San Diego, Attn: Development Services Department, 3165 Pacific Highway, San Diego 92101. Those commenting are asked to put "Seaport San Diego Redevelopment Project" in all correspondence.