Imperial Beach City Council Candidate Question #2:
“There continues to be increased development on Seacoast Drive, both commercial and residential. What are the positive, and negative aspects of this development for Imperial Beach”
Seacoast Drive has been the natural focus for development since the beach and pier are the main attractions for residents and visitors to Imperial Beach. Modern urban planning has emphasized the value of mixed-use projects and Seacoast is an excellent example. The area began to transform when Pier South Hotel replaced the old Seacoast Inn. The arrival of the Coronado Brewery and Brigantine restaurant followed, and the addition of the Mike Hess Brewery has increased economic activity along Seacoast providing residents more dining/entertainment choices and increasing tax revenue for the city.
Residential development preceded the hotel and restaurant renovations. Older houses have been renovated or replaced and new infill construction has added to the housing stock in the vicinity of Seacoast. The shop below and residence above development is the ultimate mixed-use project. A synergy has developed that has made Seacoast a destination beyond just swimming, surfing, and fishing. Seacoast has always been the front porch of Imperial Beach. Now it has become the living room as well.
The economic activity has been beneficial for the city but it has been accompanied by increased traffic, parking issues, and an uptick in crime. But other parts of the city also have those same problems. Principle access to the Seacoast neighborhood is via Palm Avenue/Old Palm Avenue and Imperial Beach Boulevard. Old Palm Avenue has undergone a makeover and has seen additional growth in business activity. Old Palm is basically an extension of the Seacoast Drive economic zone. Meanwhile, Imperial Beach Boulevard has also undergone a makeover and an increase in renovated and new housing construction that feeds into the south Seacoast development.
Seacoast and its adjacent commercial/residential areas have created a vibrant, economically, and socially diverse area of the city. The Port District has been a fantastic partner in stimulating and supporting this development. The pier and plaza are hubs of activity where locals and visitors can mingle and enjoy the waterfront.
By controlling the height limit for building, Imperial Beach can keep the waterfront from having the appearance of being walled-off as has happened in downtown San Diego and Coronado. If in the future there is an increased demand for high rise housing or commercial development in Imperial Beach, it should be stair-stepped back to the east and not occur on Seacoast. If height limits are ever significantly increased, they should be in the vicinity of the 13th Street corridor where buildings could take advantage of views of the mountains to the east, the bay to the north, the river valley/Tijuana city lights in the south and residents could still see the ocean to the west.
As a councilmember, I will work on continuing the city’s positive business and residential renewal to the rest of Palm Avenue and down the 13th Street corridor taking advantage of Bay and Bayshore Bikeway access. Pond 20 should also be incorporated as an environmental water habitat linked to Imperial Beach.
Vol. 38, No. 41 - Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022
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