District staff will now begin negotiations with the Carlsbad-based company to work out the details of the project, which is expected to cost $17 million to $20 million to build. The district hopes to have the facility up and running by 2017.
The vote to approve HomeFed was 3-2 with commissioners Dave Kirk and Bill Barrow dissenting. Barrow did not explain his “no” vote, but Kirk has said he preferred the other bidder, Red Tail Acquisitions of Newport Beach.
The project calls for a 30-acre campground, restaurant, store and other amenities to be built near the main entrance to Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. Camping options will include tent camping, recreational vehicle hookups and cabins.
HomeFed president Paul Borden promised to work closely with harbor Manager Steve McGrath to make the development of the project go smoothly. “We want to do a good job,” he said.
The three commissioners who voted in favor of HomeFed said it was a difficult decision. They said they hope the project fulfills its dual purpose of providing an affordable destination for visitors as well as creating a new source of revenue for the district.
“This will give our concessionaires a chance to grow,” said Commissioner Drew Brandy. “If people want to go camping, let’s get them into a campground and out to our concessionaires.”
The harbor contracts with concessionaires to provide a variety of services to visitors ranging from restaurants to kayak rentals.
Harbor Terrace has been decades in the planning, McGrath said. Until recently, the site was used as a mobile home park.