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General Press Releases

Milestone Achievement Reached in Port Master Plan Update, Effort Advances to Next Phase

The Port of San Diego advances to Phase 4 of 5 of its Port Master Plan Update (PMPU), another major milestone since launching the Integrated Planning effort in 2013, a multifaceted and comprehensive approach for managing and planning for the future of the Port and San Diego Bay in a balanced way.

During a Board Workshop held Monday, December 7, the Board of Port Commissioners considered public and stakeholder feedback received on the recently released Revised Draft PMPU and provided direction to staff on additional changes to make to the draft based on that feedback. Next, staff will complete the Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR).

“An incredible amount of work has taken place over the past eight years to get us here. As a result, we are another step closer to having a document that has the forward-thinking policies we need to manage San Diego Bay per our mission AND represents the community’s vision for San Diego Bay and the surrounding waterfront,” said Chair Ann Moore, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “Our objective is, and has always been, to create a thoughtful and balanced approach to future water and land uses for generations to come. You can’t do that without taking a comprehensive look at the bay as a whole and collaborating with the public, stakeholders and our partners – and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing since we began this odyssey.”

This five-phase planning process will culminate with an updated Port Master Plan

  1. Vision Statement and Guiding Principles (Completed in 2014) – This initial phase included a high-level assessment of Port-wide assets and extensive public engagement resulting in a foundational Vision Statement and Guiding Principles for the entire Integrated Planning framework.
  2. Framework Report (Completed in 2015) – In this phase, the Vision Process was further refined through consideration of a core set of comprehensive ideas, memorialized in a Framework Report, that is informing the development of the Draft PMPU document. (Phase 1 and 2 make up the Integrated Planning Vision)
  3. Port Master Plan Update Discussion Draft and Revised Draft (Completed December 2020) – This phase involved direction from the Board for drafting of the “Draft PMPU” document, to be used as the project description in the Draft PEIR and which will ultimately be comprised of goals, policies and maps.
  • Baywide Elements and Planning District Goals (Completed in 2017)
  • Policy Concepts and Water and Land Use Maps (Completed in 2019)
  • Additional Policy Discussion Topics (Completed in 2019)
  • Public review of PMPU Discussion Draft (Completed in 2019)
  • Public review of Revised Draft PMPU (Completed December 2020)
  1. Environmental review pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Current Phase) – In this phase, staff will conduct the requisite “CEQA Environmental Review.” Preliminary environmental review work began during the third phase. In mid-2021, the Port anticipates circulating the Draft Program Environmental Impact Report for public review. It will include analysis of impacts such as, but not limited to, traffic, climate change, air quality, noise, and natural resources.
  2. California Coastal Commission Certification (Anticipated for 2021/2022) – If the Board certifies the PEIR and adopts the PMPU, it will be processed for “California Coastal Commission Certification,” with approvals during public meetings thereafter, including the Board’s approval of the PMPU as certified by the Coastal Commission and lastly, the Coastal Commission’s approval of the final PMPU after the Board’s approval of the PMPU as certified by the Coastal Commission.

More than 400 comments were received on the Revised Draft, which was released for public review and feedback in October. It considered and reflected extensive and valuable community input received on the Discussion Draft released in April 2019.

The PMPU is essentially the Port’s water and land use law and has something for everyone who enjoys San Diego Bay. The intention of an updated Port Master Plan – often referred to as “the future of the Port” – is to serve as the primary tool for balancing environmental, economic and community interests along the San Diego Bay waterfront for the next 30 years. Goals include protecting opportunities for public access and parks on the waterfront for all Californians and visitors and providing clear direction on how and where future development may occur.

In a general way, the Port Master Plan determines where port activities take place, where public access, including recreational amenities and view corridors are to be located, where commercial uses like hotels, restaurants and visitor-serving retail may be built, and helps to protect and restore the natural environment. The Port is updating its Port Master Plan to reflect changes in the needs and priorities of Californians and the region’s growth since the current plan was initially certified in 1981 – nearly 40 years ago.

Specifically, the PMPU includes and addresses allowable water and land uses and activities, future development, and management of water and land within the Port’s jurisdiction on and around San Diego Bay by providing a mix of goals, policies and standards supported by written narratives, figures and tables.

For more information about the PMPU process and/or to sign up to receive updates, go to

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.