PDC was chosen to conduct a planning study and develop a Vision Plan for National City’s bayfront. The area lies within the city limits of National City, but much of the area is under the jurisdiction of the Port of San Diego. It is primarily zoned for maritime-related industrial uses, and the Port is obligated to protect those uses and must replace any converted land elsewhere within its jurisdiction. For years the City of National City has been advocating for a better balance of uses, including commercial and additional public amenities that would increase public access and utilization of the waterfront. Despite these conflicting interests, the Port and the City of National City developed a list of objectives for National City’s bayfront and agreed to fund a joint planning effort to assess public support for modifying the land uses in the area.
PDC organized a series of three public workshops throughout 2011 and interviewed stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the community’s desires for the area. At the first workshop, participants were provided with an overview of the objectives and the existing conditions within the study area. They were asked to provide ideas for the future of the area by drawing and making notes on large scale aerial maps. The input from that workshop was utilized to prepare three preliminary land use alternatives ranging from very little change from existing conditions to significant changes. At the second workshop, the three alternatives were summarized, a brief presentation was given regarding the current and projected economic outlook for the area, and participants were asked a series of questions. During the third meeting, the public input received regarding the three alternatives was presented. The feedback was considered in the development of the preferred alternative, which was presented to the public in December 2011.
National City's City Council and the Board of Port Commissioners accepted the vision plan in January 2012. In order for the land use changes to occur, certain provisions would need to be met (such as identifying the replacement of land to be designated for maritime industrial use, new lease negotiations, obtaining funding, etc.) These factors make the preferred alternative a long-range plan that would likely take several years to implement.