Coastal Commission slams San Diego port plan to sell tidelands
The California Coastal Commission issued a sharp rebuke to the Port of San Diego Thursday, dismissing out of hand the port's plan to sell state tidelands to private owners.
In a strongly worded reaction to the port authority's proposal to develop an 140-unit eight-story hotel on state tidelands on Harbor Island near Lindbergh Field — including 40 time-share units — the CCC said it would never allow any portion of state tidelands to be sold to private owners.
State tidelands are those areas, either natural or man-made, that exist below the mean coastal tide line in 1911, when the California Tidelands Trust Act was passed. Harbor Island in San Diego is a man-made peninsula created by landfill and designated as state tidelands.
Port officials, facing a near certain CCC vote against the project the proposal, withdrew the proposal before the commission could vote on it.
While most of the CCC commissioners said development of a standard hotel on state tidelands would likely be acceptable, a project that includes owned units such as time-shares or condominiums would not pass muster.
This is the second dismissal of the project by a state agency in less than two months. In December, the state Lands Commission rejected the plan, saying it would set a dangerous precedent toward privatization of state tidelands.
The future of the $55 million to $60 million project, which would have generated about $1 million a year in lease revenue for the port authority, is uncertain. The developer of the project has said the time-share portion of the hotel was a critical component toward obtaining financing for the entire project. ' Keith Higginbotham