At the monthly meeting of the Ocean Beach Town Council on May 28, a few prominent players in the plan’s development all but did an early victory lap, expressing with confidence that, after 12 years of consultant studies, public workshops, draft reports and more feedback, the effort was finally winding down.
With virtually all the major civic and neighborhood groups on board — the Town Council formally endorsed the plan last month — no major hurdles appeared to be on the horizon. The San Diego Planning Commission voted unanimously on May 29 to pass the plan along to the full City Council on June 30.
Participants noted the contrast between Ocean Beach and Barrio Logan, where that community’s plan faced the ignominy of being overturned in a citywide referendum with the defeat of Propositions B and C during the June 3 primary-election balloting.
“I believe this is going to be approved without any major controversy,” said Mindy Pellissier, former member of the Ocean Beach Planning Board (OBPB) who has been involved in the plan’s development since 2002.
Her remarks were greeted with applause from the Town Council audience.
“Our goal from the beginning was to achieve consensus within the community,” said Pellisier, who has chaired or co-chaired the OBPB’s Plan Update Committee from the beginning. “I believe we have a document we can all be happy with.”
The Planning Commission endorsed the plan without dissention May 29. What was unexpected was the way it did it, causing supporters to hastily regroup early this week and formulate a strategy to respond.
Plan advocates charge the Planning Commission made changes that undermined Ocean Beach’s land-development code, which restricts the size of a new home in certain zones to 70 percent of floor-area-ratio of the lot. Of that amount, 25 percent must be allocated for enclosed garages.
The OBPB has rallied against requests for variances to the rule. Three of the variances are located in the 5100 block of West Point Loma Boulevard, where one-story, 1950s-era concrete duplexes have been replaced with stylish, three-story homes with carports instead of garages.
OBPB members have charged that those variances amount to a de facto rezone, and some have described the block as an “epicenter” of out-of-scale development in Ocean Beach.
But property owners in that block, who testified before the Planning Commission, said they wanted to preserve their right to ask for a legal variance.
The OBPB was expected to discuss the matter June 4 at its monthly meeting.
IN OTHER TOWN COUNCIL NEWS
• The rotting, termite-infested Ocean Beach sign that greets southbound traffic on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard should be replaced sometime after June 5, said Jim Musgrove, who chairs the OBTC’s Community Enhancement Committee. Musgrove thanked San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts “for being instrumental” in getting the money to buy the new sign. After the meeting, Musgrove confirmed Roberts’ office had provided $7,500.
• Police plan to attach a surveillance camera to their trailer in the parking lot at the foot of Newport Avenue. The Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, which pays the lease on the trailer for police use, has obtained the camera as a donation from San Diego lifeguards, said Chet Barfield, aide to District 2 interim City Councilmember Ed Harris. “It’s another step in our ongoing efforts to clean up that sea wall and make the foot of Newport more visitor-friendly,” Barfield said.
• Construction on the long-delayed second phase of the North Ocean Beach Gateway project should begin by the end of June, Barfield said. The first phase, construction of a plaza at the corner of Sunset Cliffs and West Point Loma boulevards, was completed more than two years ago. But delays in finding a contractor had long frustrated leaders looking forward to the second phase: a paved, wheelchair-accessible path that meanders north and connects to Robb Field. The endeavor, also commonly referred to as the Entryway Project, should take 45 days to complete, Barfield said.
• The oversize-vehicle ordinance was passed in July of last year, but it’s never been implemented. Now it’s coming back to the City Council in mid-June to be voted on again, said Ian Clampett, aide to Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Enforcement of the ordinance, which prohibits boats, recreational vehicles and trailers from parking overnight on city streets, has been delayed because of objections by the California Coastal Commission. Those issues have been resolved, and the ordinance is largely intact but for some “minor cleanup language,” Clampett said. People who own oversize vehicles can pay $2 per night to park on the street up to 72 nights per year, and the law should be in effect by Labor Day, Clampett said.
• Faulconer will host a “Meet the Mayor” event June 24 at 5 p.m. at Pacific Beach Middle School, 4676 Ingraham St.
• Overcast weather may have contributed to the largely uneventful Memorial Day weekend for local police. “It was the easiest holiday event we’ve had in years,” said police Lt. Natalie Stone. Nonetheless, police are beefing up their presence here for the summer. One officer has been added to the Neighborhood Resource Team that deals with local homelessness issues, and two officers from the Juvenile Services Team will soon be working Fridays through Mondays during the day as a two-member beach team, Stone said.