Residents had an opportunity to learn about and weigh in during a Wednesday evening meeting in the library’s Winn Room.
About 35 people attended, including city Councilman Al Ovrom and City Manager Blair King.
“The overall response was positive,” said . “People are concerned about noise and traffic, there was also some concern that the building match the environment.”
Former Councilman Phil Monroe was one of those who discussed the issue.
“This is a scenic highway and a great resource for the community,” he said. “It matters what kind of building they put up.”
From that perspective, he liked alternative two for the Coastal Campus, which has an expanded footprint that extends the facilities toward Imperial Beach. “They could put everything behind the big mound,” he said.
While it might prove aesthetically pleasing, the area contains vernal pools, home to fairy shrimp, an endangered species, Byran Munson, biologist for Naval Base Coronado, said. That hurdle “would complicate things,” he said.
Alternative one, which would cluster the buildings in the northern section of the Silver Strand not far from Naval Special Warfare Command, offers the fewest environmental challenges Munson said, as it's already developed.
The third alternative, to scatter buildings around the existing bases, is the most cost effective, but “it would not be as convenient as one location,” Navy spokesman Ray Hrenko said.
Capt. Bill Wilson, Special Warfare Commander, likes the consolidated site as well. “It's convenient and away from the road,” he said, but he made it clear he could live with one of the other two alternatives.
What he could not countenance was the no-action option. The command's current home is a hodgepodge of structures built over the decades as the need arose, without much thought or planning.
“It looks like a bad sandcastle competition,” Wilson said.
More importantly, the facilities no longer serve mission needs. The current training complex could be used for basic training, while mission training would take place in the new facilities, Wilson said.
This was the first step of a two-year process that will involve further environmental study and public comment. Mayes directed people to the Navy's website for public comments on the Coastal Campus for those who could not attend Wednesday's meeting.