SAN DIEGO — Every summer, tourists and locals pack Campland on the Bay, the waterfront campground known as much for its sites as its summer concerts, ice cream parlor and activities.
Just next door on Mission Bay, a “dilapidated” development on De Anza Cove peninsula has “long blighted” the area, according to the company that operates Campland and the bordering Mission Bay RV Resort, Northeast MB LLC.
It’s served as a long-running headache for the city of San Diego and the campgrounds, which agreed to clean it up back in 2019 but hit numerous snags in the process.
That included complications from the coronavirus pandemic and the threat of legal action from environmental groups, as the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Throughout a stop-and-start process of deciding what to do with the area, the San Diego Audubon Society and other groups pushed the city for plans that would prioritize marshland restoration.
Last year, the California Coastal Commission raised concerns about the city’s original plan for cleaning up De Anza, sending Campland back to the drawing board before seeking a permit. But this week, the commission approved a coastal development permit that will allow the cleanup and campground expansion to move forward.
The project will clear out the run-down, abandoned dwellings of a former mobile home park and replace them with 147 temporary campsites, to be operated by the Mission Bay RV Resort. The redevelopment will also bring new pedestrian and bike paths to the coast.
Northeast MB celebrated the decision in a news release this week, saying the project brings “the region one step closer to ensuring a cleaner, more accessible coastline for all.”
ReWild San Diego, an environmental coalition pushing for more wetland restoration in the area, had urged its supporters to oppose the permit.
In a statement emailed to FOX 5, the organization shared a mixed reaction to this week’s ruling. Activists celebrated several changes to Campland’s plans, including “improved information about water quality problems in Rose Creek, requiring more Public Access signs in the plan, improving the language about native plants and invasive plant removal, and putting lids on all the garbage cans.”
And ReWild said it agreed with the city and campgrounds that the run-down mobile home park needed to go. “We call on Campland to finally remove those dilapidated mobile homes from our park safely and quickly!” the statement reads, in part.
But debate about the long-term future of the area will resume soon, with the city weighing environmentalists’ goals against those of recreation businesses.
In the meantime, the cleanup is set to move forward, and new camping spots are expected to exist in the spot at least through 2024. Mission Bay RV Resort shared a series of “before” photos and “after” renderings for the project, which you can see below:
“Local families have enjoyed affordable coastal access at De Anza for generations,” said Elizabeth Van Clief, who co-chairs Friends of Campland, a group that the campgrounds organized in support of their project.
“We are thankful for Coastal Commission for recognizing the importance of enhancing camping opportunities along the coastline, especially for the thousands of San Diego families who rely on De Anza Cove for affordable access to Mission Bay’s coastline each year.”
You can learn more about Campland and Mission Bay RV Resort on the campgrounds’ websites.