Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

NAVWAR (Naval Information Warfare Systems Command) is responsible for providing the critical networks, sensors, and systems to connect the air, surface, subsurface, space, and cyberspace that are vital to the Navy and to national security. Information and cyber warfare is now a fundamental element of warfare, an essential concept within the Navy’s strategy, and is recognized as a warfare area on par with the traditional domains of air, sea, land, and space.

NAVWAR is San Diego’s 15th largest employer and contributes 26,000 jobs and $3.2 billion to the regional economy (Fiscal Year 2018) (San Diego Military Advisory Council Economic Impact Study 2019).

OTC (Old Town Campus) is part of Naval Base Point Loma and is home to NAVWAR. It is comprised of 70.5 acres (OTC Site 1 is 48.7 acres and OTC Site 2 is 21.8 acres). The main buildings consist of World War II-era aircraft manufacturing plants and associated administrative office buildings. OTC Site 1 was used during World War II to manufacture aircraft, and has been partially modernized to provide training facilities, administrative office space, and industrial (laboratories, shops, and warehouse) space to support the current tenants. OTC Site 2 is currently used for warehouse space and parking. The existing space is currently inefficiently utilized and is functionally obsolete given the 1940s-era facilities’ design.

OTC is approximately 1.5 miles from downtown San Diego and a half-mile from the San Diego International Airport. OTC is located in the City of San Diego’s Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Area, near Interstate 8 and adjacent to Interstate 5 and Pacific Highway.

The existing OTC facilities are beyond their useful life and their degradation is affecting NAVWAR’s cyber warfare mission, security, and workforce safety. The Navy requires secure, safe, modern, state-of-the-art facilities to meet NAVWAR’s information technology, artificial intelligence, and cyber warfare operational needs. Revitalization of OTC would address substandard, inefficient, and obsolete facilities that are incapable of meeting and sustaining NAVWAR’s mission requirements.

Revitalization of OTC could include the demolition of existing facilities and construction of new buildings, utilities, and infrastructure to provide mission capable facilities for NAVWAR. This could occur through federal funding (also called Navy recapitalization) or through a public-private development, including consideration of a potential transit center. The Navy is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the potential environmental effects associated with revitalization of the NAVWAR facilities, and more information on this process and the content of the Environmental Impact Statement can be found under the Environmental Analysis section or on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Process page.

All OTC revitalization alternatives would include changes and improvements to roadways, sidewalks, utilities, and traffic flow. As the San Diego regional planning agency, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) possesses unique expertise and authorities with respect to environmental impacts associated with land use, viewsheds, transportation, and construction that could result from the proposed revitalization of OTC. SANDAG also possesses expertise on the socioeconomic conditions and the transportation and housing needs of the local and regional communities. Because of this expertise, SANDAG serves as a cooperating agency for the development of the Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to National Environmental Policy Act and associated regulations.

In addition, as a result of the Navy’s Request for Interest released in September 2018, SANDAG expressed interest in the OTC site as a potential location for a new transit center to provide a direct mass transit connection from San Diego and adjacent cities to the San Diego International Airport. SANDAG and the Navy signed an agreement on September 19, 2019 and a follow-on agreement on January 23, 2020 to define collaboration between the Navy and SANDAG to enable the Navy to begin potential site planning, explore possibilities, and analyze the development potential of the OTC. Both the Navy and SANDAG continue to explore various options for accomplishing their respective goals, including alternatives in which there is no transit center at OTC.

The process was not intended to lead to a selection of any one respondent, but rather to seek industry input on potential revitalization of the site and construction of new Navy facilities. The Navy and SANDAG entered into the September 2019 Agreement to describe a planning process intended to lead to the redevelopment of OTC, to include a potential transit center and the redevelopment of Navy facilities. Both parties continue to explore alternatives related to revitalization of OTC, construction of Navy facilities and transportation facilities. The January 2020 Agreement builds on the September 2019 Agreement.

Site Development

It would depend on the alternative selected by the Navy at the conclusion of the National Environmental Policy Act process. Alternative 1 (Navy Recapitalization at OTC) could be entirely funded by the Navy using funds appropriated by Congress, while funding under the other alternatives could be through a public-private development.

According to the San Diego Military Advisory Council’s 2019 Military Economic Impact Study, the presence of NAVWAR in its existing locale contributes $3.2 billion annually to the San Diego regional economy and employs nearly 5,200 people in the greater San Diego area, with payroll and benefits valued at almost $800 million. NAVWAR’s economic contributions to the region are projected to grow.

Depending on the alternative selected in the Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision, the potential revitalization could also bring additional economic benefits to the region through the construction and operation of new commercial, residential, and transportation facilities.

This would depend on the Environmental Impact Statement alternative selected by the Navy for implementation. Under Alternative 1 of the Environmental Impact Statement, the Navy would redevelop the OTC property for Navy-only use. Under the other action alternatives in the Environmental Impact Statement, the site could be redeveloped through a public-private agreement, potentially in coordination with SANDAG. For more information on the alternatives being studied in the Environmental Impact Statement, see the Environmental Analysis section.

If you are interested in getting involved in the potential transit center or other private development, please contact SANDAG: https://www.sandag.org/index.asp?classid=31&projectid=591&fuseaction=projects.detail.

If you are interested in potential future public-private development opportunities for revitalization of the NAVWAR facilities continue to visit http://www.NAVWAR-revitalization.com for project updates and sign up for the project’s mailing list.

Yes, the public was able to provide comment on the preliminary action alternatives and resources to be analyzed during the 30-day public scoping period, which closed on Monday, February 24, 2020. The Navy is currently considering all public comments received during the public scoping period as they develop the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be released for public review and comment in late 2020. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be posted on the project website to provide the public the opportunity to review and comment on the document.

Opportunities for the public to weigh in on the project will be announced on the project website: https://navwar-revitalization.com/get-involved/.

California Coastal Zone/California Coastal Commission

No, the project is not located within the coastal zone.

The project occurs outside of the coastal zone. However, the Navy will assess the project for impacts to the coastal zone and determine if a federal consistency review is required under the Coastal Zone Management Act [CZMA §307(c)(1) 15 CFR §930.30].

A coastal consistency review is a tool used by the California Coastal Commission to evaluate a proposed activity per coastal policies and procedures designed to enable appropriate economic development while advancing the protection and preservation of ecological, cultural, historic, recreational, and esthetic values. The final step of a coastal consistency review is a determination of an activity’s “consistency” with established coastal policies and procedures.

Environmental Analysis

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is developed to provide an analysis of the potential effects a proposed federal action may have on the environment. The EIS process includes public involvement and results in more informed decision-making. Alternatives to meet the purpose and need for the project are developed and the EIS documents the potential environmental impacts each alternative could have on the environment. In the EIS, measures are developed to avoid or reduce environmental impacts that might result from each of the alternatives. The NEPA process cumulates in the selection of an EIS alternative for implementation as recorded in a Record of Decision.

The Navy is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the potential environmental effects associated with revitalization of the NAVWAR facilities at OTC. Alternatives analyzed in the Environmental Impact Statement range from the Navy redeveloping OTC to meet NAVWAR’s current and future needs, to a high level of development alternative that includes construction of new facilities for NAVWAR plus a transit center and commercial/residential development. The potential environmental effects on a variety of resource areas (e.g., air quality, transportation/traffic, visual resources, cultural/historic resources, and others) will be assessed, by alternative. The Environmental Impact Statement will also address provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) as it relates to potential non-federal development within the alternatives. The Navy will undertake any coordination and consultation activities required by the National Historic Preservation Act and other federal laws.

As a federal agency, the Navy conducts environmental analysis on proposed projects in compliance with federal laws including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Non-federal agencies in California, such as the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), conduct environmental analysis on proposed projects in compliance with state laws including the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). As the Navy conducts its analysis on the proposed OTC project under NEPA, the Navy is also addressing provisions of CEQA as they relate to potential non-federal development at OTC. Having this CEQA data and analysis ready through the Navy’s environmental review process helps a non-federal entity, such as SANDAG, have much of the analysis completed if and when they are ready to begin their CEQA process.

Yes. The resource areas analyzed in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) address similar issues required by California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), but there are sometimes different names for the resources or methodologies used for the analysis. The EIS will address provisions of CEQA as they relate to non-federal development within the proposed alternatives.

Proposed Action and Purpose and Need

The Proposed Action is to revitalize OTC to provide mission capable facilities for NAVWAR. The purpose of the Proposed Action is to address substandard, inefficient, and obsolete facilities that are incapable of meeting and sustaining NAVWAR’s mission requirements.

The existing OTC facilities are beyond their useful life and their degradation is affecting NAVWAR’s cyber warfare mission, security, and workforce safety. The Navy requires secure, safe, modern, state-of-the-art facilities to meet NAVWAR’s information technology, artificial intelligence, and cyber warfare operational needs.

Two of the alternatives in the Environmental Impact Statement include transportation efficiency solutions that are feasible within the project footprint. This consists of a transit center occupying a portion of OTC.

Most of the alternatives in the Environmental Impact Statement include a residential development component. The number of residential units varies based on the alternative. At this time, inclusion of affordable housing as part of the alternatives is not known.

Action Alternatives

As the Navy develops the Environmental Impact Statement, it is analyzing revitalization alternatives that would enable NAVWAR to achieve its mission at OTC. These action alternatives include:

  • Alternative 1 – Navy Recapitalization at OTC
  • Alternative 2 – Higher-Density Mixed Use Revitalization
  • Alternative 3 – Lower-Density Mixed Use Revitalization
  • Alternative 4 – Higher-Density Mixed Use Revitalization including a Transit Center
  • Alternative 5 – Lower-Density Mixed Use Revitalization including a Transit Center

The Environmental Impact Statement also includes an analysis of the effects of not carrying out the Proposed Action, referred to as the “No Action Alternative.” Under the No Action Alternative, the Navy would continue to maintain and repair the existing facilities at OTC and would continue to operate under poor conditions that negatively impact NAVWAR’s ability to accomplish its mission.

Alternative 1 – Navy Recapitalization at OTC consists of revitalization of OTC to meet NAVWAR’s facility requirements with Navy-funded capital improvements only.

Alternative 2 – Higher-Density Mixed Use Revitalization consists of construction of new Navy facilities for NAVWAR on OTC through a public-private development, and the relocation of some warehouse functions to a separate off-site location (a separate action not analyzed as part of the Environmental Impact Statement). This alternative includes a potential high density residential and commercial private development component.

Alternative 3 – Lower-Density Mixed Use Revitalization would be similar to what will be analyzed for the Higher-Density Mixed Use Revitalization alternative, but the development scenario for private development would be reduced.

Alternative 4 – Higher-Density Mixed Use Revitalization Including a Transit Center would be similar to what will be analyzed for the Higher-Density Mixed Use Revitalization alternative, but a portion of OTC would be developed as a transit center.

Alternative 5 – Lower-Density Mixed Use Revitalization Including a Transit Center would be similar to what will be analyzed for the Lower-Density Mixed Use Revitalization alternative, but a portion of OTC would be developed as a transit center, and the development scenario for private development would be reduced.

NAVWAR’s requirements for revitalized facilities on OTC include 1,064,268 square feet (SF) of space, as follows:

  • 845,326 SF of office space;
  • 29,156 SF of secure conference and auditorium space;
  • 24,172 SF of warehouse/storage space; and
  • 165,614 SF of laboratory space.

Parking will also be required for personnel working at OTC, either on site or at a separate nearby location.

In addition to the above, NAVWAR requires an additional 645,187 SF of open storage or laydown space, warehouse, office, and laboratory space that could be accommodated at an off-site location:

  • 3,900 SF of office space;
  • 457,769 SF warehouse/storage space;
  • 9,251 SF of laboratory space; and
  • 174,267 SF of open storage or laydown space.

The parameters for lower and higher density alternatives are currently being defined as the Navy develops the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. These parameters will be available for public review in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

At this time, inclusion of affordable housing as part of this project is not known.

In this case, public-private development generally means a development scenario in which the Navy would work with a private developer to build the Navy facilities. The developer would pay for construction/development of the Navy facilities in exchange for lease/other development rights of the land.

National Environmental Policy Act Process and Public Involvement

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 – often referred to as NEPA – is a federal environmental law. The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to consider the potential environmental impacts of their proposed actions before making a decision. The Navy is complying with the National Environmental Policy Act by preparing the Environmental Impact Statement.

The National Environmental Policy Act process refers to the various steps to be taken during the development of an environmental planning document (e.g., Environmental Impact Statement). It ensures that reasonable alternatives to the proposed action are explored, that potential impacts to the environment are thoroughly analyzed, and that there is an opportunity provided to the public for initial scoping and Draft Environmental Impact Statement review and comment.

The 30-day public scoping period closed on Monday, February 24, 2020. The Navy is considering all public comments received during the public scoping period as they develop the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be released for public review and comment in late 2020. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be posted on the project website to provide the public the opportunity to review and comment on the document. Public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be considered in the development of the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

The next opportunity for public participation will occur in late 2020 when the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is released for public review and comment. The Navy is exploring options for virtual public engagement and for receiving public comment remotely should COVID-19 public meeting guidance still be in place. The Navy will continue to engage with the public through email notices and regular updates to the project website. Once stay at home guidelines are lifted, the Navy will resume attendance at community planning group meetings and other events; the Navy is participating in virtual meetings when possible.

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement is published for public review and comment for a minimum of 45 days.

After the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and a 30-day wait period, the Navy will select an alternative and issue a Record of Decision. The Record of Decision provides a public record of the decision, describes the public involvement and agency decision-making process, and presents the commitments to specific mitigation measures to reduce environmental impacts. Availability of the Record of Decision will be published in the Federal Register and local newspapers and will be available to the public.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be completed in late 2020, and the Record of Decision is expected to be completed in 2021.

The National Environmental Policy Act process for the OTC Revitalization Project provides an opportunity for public input, which helps to ensure all relevant issues are identified and appropriately addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement. During the public scoping period, the public participated by sharing their ideas, thoughts, and concerns about the project. This helps the Navy to identify the scope of analysis including environmental resource areas that should be addressed, and to help create potential alternatives to be analyzed in the Environmental Impact Statement. The next public comment opportunity is when the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is available for public review and comment in late 2020.

Yes. Public input is an important factor in the development of an Environmental Impact Statement. Public participation helps the Navy understand different viewpoints from the community which will improve the Environmental Impact Statement and help the Navy make informed decisions. The next public comment opportunity will be on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement in late 2020.

After the Final Environmental Impact Statement is published including responses to comments, the Environmental Impact Statement process ends with the issuance of the Record of Decision. The Record of Decision is the Navy’s decision document and 1) explains the Navy’s decision and alternative selected, 2) describes the alternatives the Navy considered, and 3) discusses the Navy’s plans for mitigation and monitoring, if necessary.

The Record of Decision is signed by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment.

Public Scoping Period (January 24, 2020 – February 24, 2020)

During the scoping period, the Navy received more than 120 written comments about the proposed OTC Revitalization Project. Scoping comments generally highlighted many of the resource areas the Navy was already committed to analyzing as part of the Environmental Impact Statement, such as transportation/traffic, visual quality (including building height), cultural/historic significance of the existing structures, hazardous waste (contaminated site cleanup), and security. Comments will be considered in the development of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The Scoping Summary Report is available for download. It summarizes the key topics raised by the public during scoping and the Navy’s approach for addressing these topics in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Key Topics

Transportation/Traffic

The general nature of comments included:

  • The Environmental Impact Statement should address changes in traffic flow and congestion as a result of the project, as well as the cumulative traffic effects in the area.
  • The Environmental Impact Statement should address how parking and traffic would be improved to accommodate the expected higher density development and associated increased traffic.
  • Improvements are needed for Pacific Highway, which is an important component of local traffic to/from interstates I-5 and I-8.
  • The Environmental Impact Statement should address future transportation modes such as driverless cars.
  • Caltrans recommended a Traffic Impact Study, which should involve intersections at I-5, I-8, and State Route 163; a vehicles mile traveled (VMT) analysis; data less than two years old, and early coordination with Caltrans. Traffic problems and congestion would increase, parking would be affected, and traffic access to freeways would be problematic.
  • Traffic problems currently exist at Taylor Street (identified in the Mid Coast Trolley Expansion Environmental Impact Report), and this project could make these traffic problems worse.
  • Parking is problematic in the Old Town area and would get worse with this project.
  • Construction would create increased traffic congestion and traffic flow problems.
  • The addition of housing and high-density options also creates increased traffic.
  • The proposed public transit hub would be a benefit for the community and inclusion of a transit center at the NAVWAR site would help achieve the region’s transit goals.
  • The project has potential to positively affect traffic and commute times in San Diego and the project would enhance public transit options and access to public transit.
  • More housing near transit connections would have a positive effect for the community and direct access to the trolley would help reduce road congestion for those traveling to other business centers (e.g., University Town Center/Sorrento Valley).

Specific traffic recommendations made by public commenters include:

  • Consider separate bicycle, pedestrian, and micro-mobility vehicle infrastructure on site and in the immediate area to encourage non-car transportation options
  • Create continued traffic flow, including use of traffic circles and roundabouts
  • The transit hub should have an autonomous small shuttle bus program that runs directly to nearby trolley stops as well as other catchments (one in each neighborhood)
  • Trolley improvements would improve traffic
  • Move Navy east of Old Town to reduce traffic problems
  • Involve Caltrans in the engineering of exits at Old Town
  • Need a designated exit for the OTC site to mitigate the extra traffic in and out of Old Town
  • Extend Old Town bridge over I-5 and the railroad tracks onto the Navy OTC so that all vehicular traffic flows smoothly on and off the freeway
  • Bury the LOSSAN corridor train tracks through the project area (the Taylor Street crossing is a problem)

The Environmental Impact Statement approach and analysis will include:

  • The project team is conducting vehicle traffic modeling for each alternative to be analyzed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. This accounts for changes to population and land use concepts and estimated volumes and flows of traffic associated with each alternative. This traffic modeling is being done for roadways and intersections potentially affected by construction and operation. The results of this traffic modeling will be presented in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Cultural Resources

Comments involved the potential impact to historic properties and the potential listing of on-site buildings on the National Register of Historic Places including:

  • Whether the buildings at OTC are historic due to their use during World War II and the Cold War.
  • The project should prepare a full range of National Environmental Policy Act alternatives to comprehensively evaluate and reduce the potential environmental impacts of this development on Historic Old Town, the Birthplace of California, which should include height and coastal zone requirements.
  • The Environmental Impact Statement should analyze tall buildings and potential impacts on the character of Old Town and other local listed and eligible properties.

The Environmental Impact Statement approach and analysis will include:

  • The project team is conducting an assessment of the OTC structures for both World War II and the Cold War relevance. The results of this analysis will be presented in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. It is anticipated that some of the existing OTC structures may be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Since development of OTC under Alternatives 2, 3, 4, and 5 would include demolition of existing facilities, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement will present a process for mitigation under the National Historic Preservation Act.
  • While the exact nature of potential visual quality impacts from this project to local properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places (such as Historic Old Town) would not be known until development plans are complete, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement will include an analysis of these potential visual impacts.

Air Quality

Air quality comments centered on improvements to air quality from transit-oriented development including:

  • The NAVWAR site is in a prime location that is vastly underutilized and could have a substantial impact in helping San Diego manage the climate crisis.
  • The City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan targets a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 51 percent below the 2010 baseline by the year 2035. One of several strategies identified to achieve this reduction is an increase in mass transit, walking, and biking.
  • The Navy should be aligned with the Climate Action Plan and build a facility that will adapt to sea level rise.
  • Alternative 4 would be best in terms of the City’s Climate Action Plan.
  • The project area is highly developed and adjacent to a freeway and other major roads; therefore, there is potential for future residential and commercial occupants of the site under the project to experience “near roadway” (within 200 meters of a road) air pollution.

The Environmental Impact Statement approach and analysis will include:

  • The project team is conducting air emissions calculations for the construction and operation phases of each alternative. This incorporates guidance provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and accounts for changes to population and land use concepts and estimated volumes and flows of traffic associated with each alternative. Additionally, the Environmental Impact Statement will address the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act related to greenhouse gases/climate change, and odor. The results will be compared with existing air emissions in the City of San Diego and local and federal air quality standards to determine potential air quality impacts. The results of air emissions calculations will be presented in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Hazardous Materials and Waste

Comments received were related to environmental contamination on the site including:

  • The presence of soil and groundwater contamination on site and the associated development on contaminated properties.
  • The Environmental Impact Statement should address potential hazardous waste, toxic materials, and chemicals that may exist on/underneath the OTC.
  • The cleanup of hazardous materials should be considered and what decision will be made to move forward if it cannot be safely cleaned.
  • The potential for additional contamination related to industrial uses during World War II.

The Environmental Impact Statement approach and analysis will include:

  • The Environmental Impact Statement will present a brief history of uses of OTC and known past releases of hazardous substances and waste. The Environmental Impact Statement will also provide information about the Navy’s Environmental Restoration program and the investigation and successful past and on-going remediation/clean-up of contaminated sites. The Environmental Impact Statement will address a process for any remediation actions that would take place during redevelopment.

Visual Resources

Comments on visual resources generally addressed the following:

  • Tall structures that could affect aesthetics/views of the area.
  • The view over the project location is the first view of San Diego and the harbor when driving in on I-5.
  • Any structure over five stories would compromise local citizens (e.g., Presidio Park, Mission Hills) and visitors to San Diego from enjoying the natural beauty and ocean views.
  • The Environmental Impact Statement should address how the vista would be changed by this development.
  • Lower buildings would help the area remain consistent with both the look and feel of surrounding Old Town, Mission Hills, and Point Loma.
  • Higher buildings would reduce the appeal of Old Town as a historic destination.
  • The project should maintain open space and create multi-level aesthetically appealing functional development (e.g., a development that connects to Post Office development and Sports Arena Development to improve the Midway community).

The Environmental Impact Statement approach and analysis will include:

  • The project team is conducting visual resource modeling. This is being done by simulating each alternative in a 3-dimensional fashion, then showing views of the project from sensitive viewing locations including those identified during the public scoping process. The results of this analysis will be presented in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Land Use

Many of the land use comments were in the context of transportation options and are identified below:

  • Promotion of high-density, mixed-use, and alternative transportation options (biking, pedestrian, etc.)
  • Improvements to transit options, use of the area as a transit hub, increased housing (including military housing), use of area for parks/community uses, creating a city market type area, and creating a Cyber Innovation Center.

The EIS approach and analysis will include:

  • The project team is reviewing local land use plans and proposed developments. This planning information will be integrated into the Land Use analysis in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The Draft EIS will also have sections on Transportation and Visual Resources.

Additional Information

For more information, please visit other pages of this website. Inquiries may be submitted via the project email address, info@NAVWAR-revitalization.com, or project phone number, (888) OTC-NAVY / (888) 682-6289. The phone number is a recorded line, but your call will be returned within approximately two business days.

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