Updated: Jan 29, 2021
By Dianne Sundstrom
After the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool Facility was demolished in 2014 due to seismic instability, the City began a process to design and build a new pool complex with an eye to using the facility as a venue for the 2028 Summer Olympics.
Early designs resulted in a price tag of $145M for a 125,500 square foot indoor swimming pool complex with a maximum building height of 78 ft, a café, restroom buildings, and a park on a 5.8-acre beachfront site. The project was appealed in the summer of 2017 resulting in the City redesigning the facilities.
The revised pool complex, as approved by the City in December 2019, includes four outdoor pools surrounded by a glass wall; a pool facilities building that is approximately 29 ft. tall with locker rooms, offices, food concessions, changing rooms, and storage rooms; relocation of the development north immediately inland of a projected 5.9 ft. of sea-level rise flood limit; maintenance of the temporary pool (Myrtha Pool) and its associated structures as a permanent structure; a diving well to meet Olympic standards; concession stands on the plinth; hardscaped open space as well as passive park; public restrooms, a trash enclosure, bike racks, and public walkways. The BBAC would also seat 1,555 spectators in 25.5 ft. high bleachers with an approximately 42 ft. high shade structure.
Those changes brought the cost down to an estimated $85 million. The project will be funded through the City’s Tidelands Funds, with $61.5M currently set aside. The City has implemented a fund-raising campaign to offer opportunities for private sponsorships and/or donations.
The revised BBAC plans were approved by both the City Council and Planning Commission. In December 2019, the City issued a new Coastal Development Permit (CDP) to incorporate revisions to the project; that permit was ultimately appealed to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) by 12 appellants. Appellants of the City-approved revised project contend that the development is not coastal-dependent, there are issues with the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the project does not conform with Local Coastal Plan (LCP) standards relating to height, style, lot coverage, and the project would result in adverse impacts to coastal access, views, wildlife, and recreation. Details of the arguments can be found in the Nov 25, 2020 staff report on pages 8 and 9. The report can be found by CLICKING HERE.
CCC staff recommends that, after a public hearing, the Commission approve Coastal Development Permit with 18 special conditions. Details of those conditions can be found on pages 26 through 47 in the Nov 25, 2020, CCC staff report. The recommendations can be found by CLICKING HERE.
CCC staff also recommends, after public hearing, certification of the LCP only if modified. Nine modifications are detailed on pages 15 through 20 of the CCC staff report. The recommendations can be found by CLICKING HERE.
At this time, the CCC intends to discuss these issues - the appeals, the project, and the LCP amendment - at its February 11, 2021 meeting. The meeting agenda is now posted. Since changes may be made between the publication of this article and the meeting, please check the agenda and documents once they are posted.
We encourage interested residents to submit comments via email to the Coastal Commission website no later than February 4, 2021, by 5 p.m. Comments can be made via the on-line agenda at www.coastal.ca.gov.