Mission Bay Park Committee Okays Near-Doubling of Bill Evan’s Bahia Resort and Take-Over of Public Beach

by on January 5, 2018 · 9 comments

in Ocean Beach

Plenty of angry neighbors at Santa Clara Rec Center for Mission Bay Park Committee meeting Jan. 2, 2018. Screengrab from SanDiego7.

The Mission Bay Park Committee met Tuesday night, January 2nd, and at the top of their agenda for the meeting held at the Santa Clara Rec Center was a presentation by San Diego hotelier Bill Evans on the renovation and expansion plans of his Bahia Resort.

Who else to make the presentation, really? Evans is one of the top hoteliers in the City, a man of great influence, someone who has contributed mightily to the campaigns of Republican mayoral candidates – like Kevin Faulconer, Jerry Sanders and Carl DeMaio.

Who else to explain his development plans – to nearly double the size of his resort, sitting as it does on public land on the edge of Mission Bay, one of the largest aquatic parks on the West Coast. Evans wants 600 rooms now, not the measly 315 that he now has.

Plus his plans call for a 10-foot walkway and a 20-foot grass area to be added. Trouble is in order to accomplish this, all the public parking at Bahia Point would have to be moved to other locations and further from the shoreline. By removing the public parking, Evans is simply making more room at Bahia Point for his enterprise – and for his guests. Not the public. Mission Bay belongs to the people of San Diego. It’s public land – and all the commercial enterprises that ring the Bay pay the City lease fees. (Many of those lease fees are dirt cheap.)

Currently, there is no public access to the western shore of Bahia Point. (see map below)

This didn’t sit well with a room full of angry and frustrated neighbors and other locals. They didn’t like that Evans’ plans would alter public access to Mission Bay. They accuse him of trying to create a semi-private beach for his guests.

And despite this room full of citizens opposed to the plan, the Mission Bay Park Committee voted to agree that the Bahia Development Plan is consistent with the Mission Bay Master Plan, which will greatly aid in the plan’s movement through the planning bureaucracy.

But money talks. Evans stated:

“Once the new Bahia is finished, it could produce approximately five million dollars annually [in] extra revenue to the city of San Diego. This is in today’s dollars and these funds should be used in Mission Bay Park.”

7SanDiego reported on the reactions of several in the audience. Neighbor Paul Jacob stated:

“This is not an accident. The hotel knows full well that relocation of parking according to their plan will result in a semi-private beach environment for their hotel guests.”

Another neighbor Angela Garner said:

“There are many of us who need a place where we can easily get our boats off the car and easily into the water. For me personally, at this stage in my life, that’s really the only place I can do that without another person along.”

There were so many in the audience that night opposed to the expansion plans that they have actually formed a group and have set up a facebook page. They passionately believe the Bahia Point access should be kept open for the general public.

Greg Knight, one of the organizers of Citizens and Paddlers against the Bahia Hotel land grab on Bahia Point, had this to say about Tuesday’s meeting:

Most of us who attended the meeting Tuesday had less than a couple days notice and even less time to come up with what we wanted to say. Starting this list yesterday with 12 people, it has grown into 330 in one days time and continues to grow.

We obviously all are very passionate about keeping this area public and many have great ideas on what they would like to do. The power of a group comes with presenting an organized front with a large number of people.

One of the next key steps is to put together a strategy of who knows what, who has time to do what, and as a group how we should aim to accomplish our end goal of keeping Bahia Point open to the public.

They are holding a meeting and are mobilizing for the next step: the plan now heads to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, which meets on January 18th. If successful there, it goes to the City Council for approval, and last, the Coastal Commission.  7SanDiego

It was Evans, our readers may recall, who signed up to create a resort for SeaWorld right at its Mission Bay site back in 2015. And it was the OB Rag that single-handedly put a kibosh on that idea when we reminded everyone that SeaWorld sits on the edge of the old Mission Bay industrial dump.


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank J January 5, 2018 at 2:27 pm

Maybe, if it gets as far as the City Council, Evans & Co. will show up with free t-shirts and lunches like Airbnb did at the meeting on STVR’s. :-J


nostalgic January 8, 2018 at 5:35 am

A reminder that Robb Field and Dusty Rhodes Park are officially part of Mission Bay Park. If you want a new hotel closer to OB to combat the AirBnB craze, there’s a location for you!


Frank Gormlie January 8, 2018 at 8:31 pm

Ha ha ha. But thanks for that important reminder. Yes, indeed, parts of OB become attached to Mission Bay Park – and the latest part to go will be the OB Entryway parklet. And it’s always economics that govern such decisions. The more landspace within Mission Bay Park, the more space can be leased out to commercial enterprises.


Daniel January 8, 2018 at 1:32 pm

What do the District 2 City Council candidates think about this public/private benefit issue?


Clarke January 22, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Daniel, While I have not “yet” reached out to Lori Zapf, I see by exploring public documents that she was received $7995.00 in contributions since 2010 from the Bill Evans Hotel Group organization. So I have a feeling which direction she will lean without pressure from her constituents.


nostalgic January 22, 2018 at 3:40 pm

How did the Ocean Beach representative on the Mission Bay Park Committee vote?


Clarke January 22, 2018 at 3:44 pm

All but one person voted in favor of the expansion at that Jan 2 mtg. Not sure where the one dissenting voter resides.


Frank Gormlie January 22, 2018 at 5:06 pm

The one member who voted against the project was the OB rep, Gio Ingolia.


Clarke January 22, 2018 at 5:23 pm

Never been prouder to have an OB presence on something. His courage to stray and final decision was awesome!


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