After months of review, the Unified Port of San Diego has determined that placing a flag in Centennial Park would require the agency to amend its master plan, a move that would require “a full blown” environmental review and approval of the state Coastal Commission, according to an email.
Miles Harvey – a Coronado resident, who along with retired Vice Admiral Ed Martin, has called for a U.S. flag in the park – sent the Wednesday email, in which he informed supporters of the development.
Harvey and Martin wanted the flag to be large enough and placed high enough in the park to serve as a welcome home to sailors returning to North Island Naval Air Station from deployment.
They offered the proposal in 2011, and had secured the support of the Coronado City Council, Port Commission Chairman Lou Smith and San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox. Cox even found donors to fund the project.
"I feel bad," Smith said about the port's determination. “We spent months trying to avoid going though the Coastal Commission, but I don’t see any other way. We have to go though the process.”
Those additional steps would cost at least $100,000, Harvey estimated, and litigation would drive the costs even higher.
“Under these circumstances,” wrote Harvey in his email, the donors have withdrawn their offer to fund the project. A spokesman for Cox could not confirm the decision to rescind backing for the flag.
A group of residents who live near the park objected to the placement of the U.S. flag, saying it would detract from an area intended to be preserved as a view corridor with unobstructed access to the San Diego skyline.
There was a strong chance that someone would sue because of the considerable opposition. At a Port-sponsored public meeting held last October, dozens of residents voiced their objections.