San Diego

Mission Bay Neighbors Upset Over Bahia Resort Development Plan

Many say it's taking away public access to the Mission Bay shoreline

Tempers flared in Mission Beach Tuesday after an iconic resort released plans to change a public space.

The Bahia Resort is working on a major development plan, but the plan is not sitting well with locals because it will change public access to the Mission Bay.

The Mission Bay Park Committee voted Tuesday night on agreeing that the Bahia Development Plan is consistent with the Mission Bay Master Plan, despite a room full of outspoken and frustrated neighbors.

"This is not an accident," said neighbor Paul Jacob. "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."

The resort is working on getting approval for a major renovation. The plans would expand 315 rooms to 600.

Additionally, a 10-foot walkway and 20-foot grass area would be added around the park. There is currently no public access on the west side of the resort.

However, the plans come at a cost.

Public parking lots would have to be moved to other locations, further from the shoreline.

"Once the new Bahia is finished, it could produce approximately five million dollars annually [in] extra revenue to the city of San Diego," said Bill Evans, with the Bahia Resort Hotel. "This is in today's dollars and these funds should be used in Mission Bay Park."

The expansion plan would not take any public parking away, but still many neighbors were not sold.

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

The plan will now head to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

If all goes well there, the plans would move proceed to the City Council for approval, and last, the Coastal Commission.

The Bahia Resort said that if the development plan is approved, it will not fully close the resort while under construction.

Instead, it would work in phases to make sure the employees still have hours.

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