City Hall’s High-Rise Project at NAVWAR Would Be a Disaster – Public Land Reuse with no Public Benefit

| June 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

City Hall is backing mass high-rise development for NAVWAR. This would gridlock coast traffic and obstruct bay and ocean views of Presidio Hills and Mission Hills residents. plus all of Old Town.

Save Our Access, a 501c3 non profit, favors letting the Navy renovate NAVWAR.  We back creation of an area  River Trail Park on part of this  public land. 

The Navy’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the reuse of the 70.5 acres NAVWAR sites in the Midway district is out.  It lists alternatives where the Navy retains the property (alternative 1).  The city mayor and council back a dense Manhattan-style city within a city (preferred alternative 4).

The EIS’s “preferred alternative 4” NAVWAR high-rise commercial development consists of 106 buildings stretched for half a mile along I-5 that reach up to 350-feet in the air.  This plan includes ten thousand new residential units for 14,000 residents. The unelected SANDAG board also includes a $4 billion redundant white elephant transit hub.

These elements will overwhelm area roads and parks. EIS renderings show views from Presidio Hills, Mission Hills, and Old Town will be blocked, leading to diminished property values. The traffic impacts cannot be mitigated.  These impacts would ruin San Diego’s quality of life.

The high-rise wall of alternative 4 is the equivalent of a new city.  It would bring decades of impacts like ongoing air pollution, construction noise, torn up streets, and major taxpayer expenses for the required infrastructure.

Encouragingly, for their part,the Navy seems content to create its new needed facilities without any public land privatization – “This could be accomplished using either Navy redevelopment alone or public-private partnership collaboration.”  (EIS pg 1, par. 2)

To upgrade its  facilities, the Navy needs about 1 million square feet. (EIS 1-11). If the publicsupports EIS Alternative 1, the Navy says its old footprint can greatly downsize, leaving much of the inland of the two parcels for River Trail Park.  Alternative 1 would take 5 years instead of alternative 4’s 30 years, and would preclude the decades of disastrous impacts from high-rise wall construction.  (ES.4.2)

The NAVWAR site is irreplaceable and invaluable public land.   The Navy’s EIS provides no public benefit analysis to see how San Diego citizens might directly benefit from this proposal.  No EIS provision was made to make up for the area’s major park and sports fields deficit.  No mention is made how already gridlocked coast and beach access would become even worse. 

The mayor visited New York bankers to fund the mega city proposal at NAVWAR.  He was not thinking about the public interest. 

The Navy alone can renovate on site and free up part of the property to address the public’s need for recreation at a new River Trail Park – while saving views  and access for beachgoers. 

 Save Our Access supports this win-win for the Navy and the public. 

The deadline for public comment on the proposal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is July 13.

EIS comments can be submitted at, The EIS Project Manager is Ron Bochenek – (888) 682-6289.   

The mayor and the council are backing this giveaway. Contact them.

Save Our Access is raising funds to respond to the legal and public awareness issues raised by this insider deal.  Your financial support is appreciated.   

 John A. McNab, President, Save Our Access  (619) 531-0773 /

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Category: feature, Government, Historical, Local News, National News, Politics

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