“So the 'golf section' will be stricken from verbiage in the document (recommendations) Pacific Beach Planning Group will send to other (community) groups and the city,” said Chris Olson, representing PBPG on a broad-based city parks committee studying De Anza's redevelopment. “I will present it as the PBPG could not pass a motion with this section included.”
The golf course vote came following a spirited debate between PBPG chair Brian Curry and a golf professional in the audience. Curry argued golf course popularity nationwide is waning. The golf professional countered that is not true in San Diego, where golf demand he said remains strong, especially amongst youth.
“I'd like to see the golf course preserved as much as possible,” said PBPG board member Baylor Triplett.
Fellow planner Tony Franco concurred, noting Mission Bay Golf Course has been a part of the fabric of the beach community for 60 years.
Led by the City of San Diego, the De Anza Revitalization Plan project seeks to re-imagine, repurpose and revitalize De Anza regional park, along with its 120-acre Special Study Area. That area is comprised of De Anza Cove Park and the surrounding uses including Mission Bay Golf Course, Mission Bay Boat and Ski Club, Bob McEvoy Athletic Field and Mission Bay Tennis Club.
The city is about midway through its three-year planning process, which seeks to update the planning blueprint for the regional park via an amendment to the Mission Bay Master Plan guiding park development. The master plan's ultimate goal is to create an iconic destination that balances recreation, environment and commerce.
“This has been a longtime waiting, everyone wants to see what's going to happen to De Anza,” said Curry adding, “This is a pretty good problem to have.”
Presenting a slideshow, Olson noted there are four major components to the park's special study area — Mission Bay Golf Course, guest housing accommodations (RVs, campers), athletic fields and planned wetlands habitat restoration.
“All are important, but they all take up a lot of space,” he said adding it's unlikely all four can be kept. “We have to eliminate something,” Olson said.
Olson pointed out the city-operated golf course is “in the weakest position,” given that it's lost money for the past decade. “It's hard to make an economically viable golf course that is compatible with adjacent land uses,” he added.
De Anza serves a plethora of recreational and sports uses besides golf including tennis courts, rapidly growing and underserved beach volleyball, soccer and baseball. Proponents of sports user groups turned out to plead with PBPG to retain — or expand — recreational sports uses in the park.
Karen Zirk, of Friends of Rose Creek, pointed out there are environmental resources, including planned wetlands restoration, which are equally important to the park's welfare. Zirk noted the existing Kendall-Frost Reserve is a remnant of a once much larger wetlands habitat. Another audience member pointed out even that remnant is threatened by drought conditions, which have kept fresh water from flowing into wetlands harming plant life and threatening wildlife species, some endangered.
Kristen Victor, of beautifulPB, promoted eco-tourism noted the study area's redevelopment is a prime opportunity to put principles of environmental sustainability into practice.
Regarding guest accommodations, Olson said it's assumed the Coastal Commission will not approve a plan without affordable visitor accommodations.
“But this assumption has not been tested,” Olson said adding, Also the MB Master Plan states very clearly that Campland will be relocated in this area.”
Olson concluded that “PBPG is showing leadership, taking on a very difficult task by confronting a complex and emotional issue that will have huge implications for decades to come. We will send this document to our EcoDistrict Partners so they can take action as they see appropriate.”
For more information about the plan and the process, visit DeAnzaRevitalizationPlan.com.