November 16, 2022 — As part of efforts to improve public amenities and recreational and maritime uses on the National City Bayfront, the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners has approved a Port Master Plan Amendment (PMPA) for what’s known as the National City Balanced Plan and certified the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the National City Bayfront Projects, which is the Balanced Plan and four proposed projects and programmatic components located in the City of National City.

Set in motion in 2015, the National City Balanced Plan seeks to expand Pepper Park, realign Marina Way, improve visual corridors and public access corridors for pedestrians and cyclists, and create more contiguous commercial recreation and maritime uses. The PMPA now goes to the California Coastal Commission for consideration. Once the PMPA is certified by Coastal, the Port and City can implement the Balanced Plan.

“This is a major milestone in the collective efforts of the Port of San Diego, City of National City, and community and business stakeholders that have collaborated over the years to refine this plan and its associated projects,” said Commissioner Sandy Naranjo, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “We are closer than ever to making our National City Bayfront a more usable and enjoyable asset for the community, a more attractive destination for visitors, and more efficient for our important maritime businesses that provide good local jobs and economic benefits for our region.”

National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis shared, “I am so proud to have the formal National City Bayfront Projects EIR and the National City Balanced Plan PMPA approved by the Commissioners this afternoon. This has been 15 years of collaboration, community outreach, surveys and meetings. We are ready to see the fruits of that labor head so the next phase at the Coastal Commission and continue to push for ways the Port can approve and leverage funding for our project.”

The National City Bayfront is made up of 273 acres of waterfront land and 167 acres of water and includes the National City Marine Terminal, Pepper Park, Pier 32 Marina, the Aquatic Center, and many pieces of valuable public art.

Public outreach has been an integral component of the Balanced Plan and has included small stakeholder working sessions, public meetings, and individual meetings with interested parties. The Balanced Plan is a result of this outreach and consists of the following:

  • Expansion of Pepper Park by 2.5 acres or nearly 50 percent (from 5.19 acres to 7.69 acres).
  • Realignment of Marina Way, which will serve as the buffer area between commercial recreation and maritime uses.
  • East-west and north-south public access corridors, with pedestrian, bicycle, and visual access.
  • Better configured/more contiguous commercial recreation and maritime uses.

The additional project components analyzed in the EIR are as follows:

  • Pasha Road Closures Project: This project proposes the closure of Tidelands Avenue between Bay Marina Drive and West 32nd Street, and West 28th Street between Tidelands Avenue and Quay Avenue. When combined, these road closures total approximately six acres. The project would increase operating efficiencies through the elimination of certain internal fences, drive aisles, and the bifurcation of terminal operations created by these roads.
  • Bayshore Bikeway: This project will include the permanent alignment of Segment 5 of the Bayshore Bikeway in National City. The alignment is proposed to be generally located between the former railroad right-of-way and Marina Way on the southern end (west of Paradise Marsh), and along McKinley Avenue on the northern end. The route is located mostly on City property, but also traverses a small area of Port property on the south end.
  • GB Capital Project: This project proposes a recreational vehicle (RV) park, modular cabins, and the ultimate development of up to four hotels with up to 465 rooms. The project includes ancillary amenities such as, but not limited to, a clubhouse, pool, activity courts, laundry facilities, and dry boat storage; as well as in-water improvements such as, but not limited to, transient vessel moorings.
  • Pasha Connector Rail Project: This project proposes a connector rail track to connect the existing rail and loop track located on the National City Marine Terminal (NCMT) to additional rail car storage spots at the existing Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) National City Yard east of the National Distribution Center. The connector rail track would connect the BNSF National City Yard directly to the existing rail loop and loading tracks on the NCMT and would allow for Pasha to have both rail and rail car storage capacity which would improve efficiencies by allowing Pasha to have easier access to empty rail cars at the BNSF National City Yard.
  • City Program: This program proposes rezoning two vacant City-owned blocks to allow for the eventual development of hotel, restaurant, retail, and/or other combination of tourist-visitor-serving commercial uses. This program is located in the City and outside of Port jurisdiction.

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