San Diego

Coastal Commission Approves New Attraction at SeaWorld San Diego

A new coaster "will offer park guests the only upside-down view of Mission Bay," a SeaWorldSanDiego spokesperson said

SeaWorld San Diego said it will begin building a new roller coaster immediately after the plans were approved Wednesday by the California Coastal Commission.

"Electric Eel, featuring astounding loops, twists and airtime, will bring a whole new level of excitement to SeaWorld," SeaWorld San Diego spokesperson David Koontz said.

The park asked the commission to approve the construction of a 150-foot tall roller coaster.

The amusement park's largest attraction "will offer park guests the only upside-down view of Mission Bay," Koontz said.

SeaWorld San Diego will use 1.2 acres of land in the park to construct the ride and a station for lockers. The proposal also called for the construction of an educational building where live electric eels will be housed in aquatic tanks.

There were some concerns regarding view and public access, according to the Coastal Commission. However, the board approved the permit unanimously. 

Because of its height, the roller coaster will be highly visible from many parts of Mission Bay Park. However, proposals for the project indicate the structure would not block any ocean views.

The ride will utilize a sky-like color scheme so that it blends in with natural surroundings.

An initial study of potential traffic impacts in the area found that there would not be a substantial increase in traffic in the area due to the new roller coaster, according to a report by the Coastal Commission. The report goes on to say that the roller coaster is expected to attract a lot more visitors to SeaWorld San Diego each year.

According to an initial report by the Coastal Commission, "Noise associated with construction activities or other operations has the potential to adversely impact marine mammals in the area."

But the roller coaster was given the green light by the commission.

The construction of the roller coaster and accompanying facilities is expected to take nine months.

SeaWorld San Diego has its own waste water treatment plan that the proposal says will not be affected by the roller coaster. Therefore, the study goes on to say it is not expected the structure would have an impact on the water quality in the area.

The second project up for approval at the California Coastal Commission meeting Wednesday was the possible construction of new public bathrooms in Coronado.

The project would be located west of the Avenida del Sol cul-de-sac, which runs between the Coronado Shores Condominiums and the Hotel del Coronado.

The site currently offers free public parkways and a public walkway to the beach.

The project would build a 235-square foot public restroom facility with three stalls, storage s, ace and showers that would take up about 1,000-square feet of the plaza area.

The project would also remove and replace an existing beach access stairway and add a new accessible ramp leading from the sidewalk to the new plaza.

The staff recommendation for the project is a denial.

In a staff report, the Coastal Commission acknowledged public restrooms are important, but added, "this particular project, both as a result of its design and location, would result in a significant obstruction of views, impact shoreline sand supply, and require construction of a shoreline protection device."

The restrooms also call for the construction of a seawall incorporated into the seaward portion of the development. A staff report found that the bathrooms do not have to be on the beach, and so a seawall would be unnecessary to construct.

Those for the project say it would bring bathrooms open to the public to an area of the beach that needs it.

In a staff report, it was requested that an alternative of temporary public restrooms be installed instead. 

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