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Commission grants conditional OK of airport's car rental facility

The $264 million plan to consolidate dispersed rental car facilities into a single location at San Diego International Airport is one step closer to a construction start.

Though the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority is still working with the Federal Aviation Administration to finalize the federal environmental document, the plan received approval from the California Coastal Commission on Wednesday.

Design plans and an application to begin construction were sent to the commission in early March.

At its meeting in Santa Cruz on Wednesday, the commission gave approval of the project under 10 special conditions, largely related to minimizing potentially adverse water quality issues within San Diego Bay and the protection of coastal bird species.

The conditions included requiring the submission, review and written approval of final plans, including landscaping, prior to the issuance of the subject coastal development permit; requiring the preparation and approval of an erosion control and construction best management practices plan; and preparing a final water quality technical report identifying minimum standards for BMP design.

An operation and maintenance plan for the BMPs proposed in the technical report will also need to be prepared.

Protection of the California Least Tern nesting habitat adjacent to the proposed roadway linking the facility to the airport's terminals was specifically addressed, and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority will be required to develop several mitigation measures.

The Airport Authority will also be required to construct the building to be "bird-safe."

Among other things, the facility won't be allowed to have more than 35 percent of its façade as untreated glass or glazing, and the fraction of radiant energy reflected from glass or glazed surfaces won't be allowed to exceed 30 percent.

According to the application with the commission, the 17-acre car rental facility will consist of a four-story, 66-foot high structure that includes a restaurant, 417 parking spaces, vehicle circulation areas, landscaping, and 40,000 cubic yards of grading.

About 6,700 lineal feet of shuttle circulation road would be built and road improvements would consist of adding a fourth lane and sidewalk on westbound North Harbor Drive to connect the new rental car center with airport terminals.

Previously, the Airport Authority has reported conducting studies that showed rental car traffic represents 30 to 35 percent of all airport traffic on Harbor Drive.

With the consolidation of rental car companies in one facility, each rental company will no longer need its own rotation of buses, according to Bryan Enarson, vice president of development for the Airport Authority.

Burlingame-based Demattei Wong Architecture is the facility's principal designer, and the joint venture of Austin Commercial and Sundt Construction will serve as the construction manager at risk once construction begins.

Also approved by the Coastal Commission Wednesday was the proposed relocation of the existing SAN Park Pacific Highway parking facility, which is being displaced by construction of the new general aviation facility farther north along Pacific Highway.

The project site for the proposed lot is a 15.8-acre site on the north side of the San Diego International Airport located west of Pacific Highway, directly southwest of its intersection with Washington Street. The new lot would consist of 1,964 parking spaces.

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San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

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P.O. Box 82776
San Diego, CA 92138

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Executive(s):

Thella Bowens

  • Chief Executive Officer, President

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