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Deadline approaches to weigh in on Navy's NAVWAR project

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Posted at 5:18 PM, Aug 03, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diegans have less than 10 days to weigh in on a massive redevelopment proposal of the Navy's Old Town campus.

The long narrow buildings that stand between I-5 South and Pacific Highway have stood since World War II. Both outside and in, they're showing their age.

The Navy's NAVWAR location, which stands for Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, needs to be redeveloped for the Navy's missions in cyberspace and manned and unmanned aircraft, according to the Navy.

But in doing so, the military branch envisions a full redo of the 70.5 acres that serve as its entire Old Town campus.

In addition to a new NAVWAR building, the Navy is proposing to add a transit-oriented development that includes 10,000 new homes, 2 million square feet of commercial space, two hotels, and 433,000 square feet of retail space. In total, about 109 buildings, with 35 of them as high rises up to 350 feet high.

While the Navy says it would benefit the community, others say it's going to turn San Diego further into Los Angeles.

“The idea of having America's Finest City in large part has become a slogan, rather than a reality,” said Philip Halpern, the retired assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted former Congressman Duncan Hunter.

At a news conference Tuesday, Halpern said politicians are heeding developers and the Navy and not challenging the project's impacts on quality of life. That includes overdevelopment, snarled traffic, and a lost opportunity to turn the unused part of the Navy property to open space.

“We need to set aside spaces for the people because that's why I came to San Diego, that's what I love about San Diego,” Halpern said.

In a statement, the Navy noted it started public outreach in 2018:

"While this is federal land, the navy recognizes that any new development on this site should also bring benefit to the community where our sailors live, work and play, which is why we have provided for a longer public comment period on the draft EIS (environmental impact study), and all comments received will be responded to in the final EIS. We are committed to continuing engagement with the city of San Diego, local community planning organizations, and other government partners and regulators throughout the lifecycle of the project."

San Diegans have until Aug 12 to register their comments.