SAN DIEGO — The Mission Bay Park Committee on Tuesday heard Campland’s plan for improvements and arguments against it from a local conservation group.
The City of San Diego has offered to extend the lease for Campland RV park while plans to revitalize the 166 acres of De Anza Cove are finalized, but conservationists do not believe they are the best stewards despite Campland's promised $8 million in improvements.
Conservationists are worried the five-year-lease could give Campland an advantage.
“They are putting the cart before the horse and saying we are going to fix all these things even though the community has not decided what we want in that spot,” said Andrew Meyer with the San Diego Audubon Society.
The city said since its RV operator pulled out after an audit and a short-term lease is needed. The lease would allow Campland to take over the 260 city-operated campsites - including the 560 campsites Campland already manages. Campland said it would make $8 million in improvements on De Anza Cove.
Denise Willett Friedman, a Pacific Beach Town Council Officer, said “the City of San Diego has a long history of mistakes with De Anza and as proposed, this might be the costliest of all.”
On Tuesday, Campland shared renderings which showed how they would improve and clean up the area. They would also convert 150 abandoned mobile homes to campsites.
“This is a time when the demand waterfront camping is greater than ever and continues to grow year after year,” said Jacob Gelfand, Campland Vice-President of Operations.
Cindy Homer is a Campland visitor and said “Campland has 50 years of experience. They are successful and making money for the city. Why would you take out a thriving business?”
Critics said they want wetlands protection and said it just doesn’t make sense.
“They talk about the good stewards they are of the water quality, but there is a whole lot more that needs to get done – especially at Campland,” said Meyer.
Even though the lease presentation Tuesday night was at the Mission Bay Park Committee, the San Diego City Council is expected to vote on the lease at the end of June.
A city planner said the De Anaza Cove Revitalization project’s draft environmental report will be released next month with a 45-day window for public comment.
The Coastal Commission will need to give final approval and that could happen late next year or 2021.
Staff with the city’s real estate asset says Campland was the only one considered for the lease and says after an audit the RV-facility operator for the city pulled out. The city and Campland says they both agreed to drop claims filed against each other.