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Port Unveils Plans For IB Pier At Past Council Meeting

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Posted: Friday, November 29, 2019 2:28 pm | Updated: 2:45 pm, Mon Dec 2, 2019.

The San Diego Port District unveiled preliminary designs for pier improvements to be done in two phases during the last city council meeting on Nov. 20.

Port Commissioner Dan Malcolm did the initial presentation before other staff members took over. He recalled how the area of the now Pier Plaza was a place with a chain link fence and thanks to a $15 million project co-developed with the city, and now that spot looks and feels completely different.

He spoke of all the development that has happened since then, with the construction of Pier South Hotel and the many new restaurants now open on Seacoast Drive. The port’s goal is to make the IB pier one of the nicest in California. Based on the Tier 1 presentation by the port, the pier could be separated into three areas: surfing closer to the plaza, fishing in the middle, and lounge. The port has $1.8 million available for the work which was transferred from another project, the Beach Avenue comfort station, that can be spent on the pier.

Tier 1 features distance markers painted on the ground, fish rod holders, blue paint on the railings all along the pier, fun sayings, fresh paint and artistic graphics on the railing, lifeguard tower, restaurant and restrooms. The end of the pier will also be highlighted with signs identifying the spot as the most southwesterly and pointing to Mavericks and the Bonzai pipeline. The exterior wall of the Tin Fish was shown with graphics. Amenities include new benches, fish cleaning stations, and three drinking fountains.

The second phase, or Tier 2, features cantilevered extension lounges, viewing platform with cable railing, and a shade structure with a seating area. Malcolm said that for this second phase of the project, engineering may have to look into the possibility of having to add pilings to the pier.

During the public comment period two speakers made suggestions including using golf cart to give rides to the end of the pier, and making the end of the pier a circular area.

During the council discussion, Councilman Robert Pattons said he was pleased with the presentation. “Tier 1 is a good start and I didn’t see something I didn’t like,” he said.

About the Tier 2 he thought more discussion should take place as the project gets closer. He also thought the back wall of the Tin Fish should be opened up to take advantage of the view.

“My vision is ultimately to have a change in the restaurant facility. My struggle is whether to put money on it now or later,” said Malcolm.

Councilwoman Paloma Aguirre liked the refillable water bottle stations and the whimsical messages. She suggested using signs in different languages like Tagalog and Spanish based on the people who fish on the pier. She also asked that if there is money left over after the project, if a comfort station could be placed at the end of Imperial Beach Boulevard.

Councilman Ed Spriggs liked what he saw. “How you segmented the pier solves problems, resolving the conflict between the fishermen and pedestrians,” he said.

Malcolm also spoke of his idea of having two restaurants at the end of the pier in a future Tier 3 phase.

Councilman Mark West pointed out a concern for the Tin Fish owner not having a gas line for cooking at the restaurant.

Malcolm said that the port staff was taking note of all the suggestions. “We’ll work on it until we get it right,” he said.

In other business:

The consent calendar was approved unanimously.

The second reading and adoption of the California Code of Regulations Title 24 was approved unanimously.

A second reading amending the Imperial Beach flood damage prevention zone was approved unanimously. Flood hazards determinations affecting the Flood Insurance Rate Map and Flood Insurance Study for the city will be effective Dec. 20, 2019.

The professional services contract for $50,000 with Veronica Tam and Associates to prepare the next Cycle 6 Housing Element was approved unanimously. A cost proposal from Tam and Associates came in at $64,000 and the city is planning on submitting a grant to cover the extra cost above $50,000. Spriggs asked that Tam and Associates present the Housing Element to the council before it’s completely finished.

A memorandum of understanding between the city and the Service Employee International Union adding the 2019-2021 salary schedule, appointive management and confidential salary and benefits summary and position description and salary for Housing Program Specialist was carried unanimously. It was clarified that the Housing Program Specialist job description is not yet funded and no candidate will be hired until that happens.

A resolution extending an agreement with Monarch Global Strategies to provide consulting services for interaction with the Mexican Government for six months through Feb. 28, 2020 was discussed. Monarch has agreed to lower its fee to $12,500 and the city is looking for two other partners so that each pays 1/3 of the cost. During the public comment a resident asked the city to get specifics on what Monarch Strategies is doing to help the sewage situation and the city should not be asked to shoulder the entire cost when it could pay for a sheriff’s position with the amount. Aguirre defended the expenditure of the consultants pointing out that the Mexican government has agreed to spend $11 million for a pump replacement and $40,000 for a study at Punta Bandera. West agreed, “We need to continue down our path…we need Monarch to come back [to council] with an update. Mayor Serge Dedina pointed out that Monarch has met with the Mexican president three times, and that could not have happened if the city was dealing with that on its own. This item was approved unanimously.

An amendment to the employment agreement with City Manager Andy Hall for changes in base salary and deferred compensation with an increase base salary of $2,500 and deferred compensation annual contribution increased by $500 effective Aug. 3, 2019 was approved unanimously.

The next city council meeting will be held Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. at the Imperial Beach Library, 810 Imperial Beach Boulevard due to construction in the Council Chambers. Live streaming will not be available.

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