Point Loma rogue stop-sign issues appear to have been put to rest
by Tony de Garate
Published - 06/26/13 - 03:21 PM | 4253 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It all started about a year ago when an anonymous citizen, presumably convinced that cars were going too fast in the neighborhood, swapped out two city-installed yield signs and replaced them with stop signs along Jennings Street, a low-volume residential road in the Wooded Area of Point Loma.

To this day, the details have never been disclosed regarding the emergence of the rogue signage. Who was this person or persons? Where did they obtain such official-looking signs? How did they remove the old ones?

Was this a sentinel or scoundrel, folk hero or villain?

That judgment continues to be debated. But what’s beyond dispute is that the outlaw act sparked a controversy previously unknown in the neighborhood, and the issue has consumed more time and energy than any other to come before the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) so far this year.

The planning board may have finally put the issue to rest during its June 20 regular monthly meeting. It voted 7-4 to affirm official status to the two previously subversive stop signs and keep three other stop signs along a one-block stretch of Jennings between Silvergate Avenue and Albion Street.

Though inefficient, the configuration was the safest among the four options available, said Gary Pence, a senior traffic engineer with the city.

By way of its vote, the board effectively threw out a decision it made just one month earlier when, in front of a packed house and television news cameras, it voted 4-3 to keep the yield signs-turned-stop signs but remove the three other stop signs. Keeping stop signs for northbound Silvergate at Jennings Street and southbound Albion at Jennings would have granted unhindered right of way to east-west traffic on Jennings, said planners.

The original vote was intended as a compromise to one group supporting all five signs, and another group supporting a return to the original configuration of one stop sign and one yield sign at both T-intersections. Both sides claimed popular support and collected several pages of signatures.

But after the May 16 vote, nearby resident and former longtime U-T San Diego reporter Don Sevrens charged the matter had not been properly noticed on the planning board’s agenda — and alleged a violation of the Brown Act, the state’s open-meetings law.

Tony Kempton, associate planner for the city’s Development Services Department, said no Brown Act violation had taken place, but the matter needed to be revoted on “in an abundance of caution.”

The city gets 4,000 traffic-related requests per year from citizens. If approved by the local planning board and the city councilmember with jurisdiction, the request is typically granted,

In other PCPB news

• An ordinance that would ban overnight parking of recreation vehicles, trailers and boats in the western areas of city has been delayed. It is now tentatively scheduled to come before the City Council on July 8, said John Ly, aide to District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

• Building 271, the former Navy “Fit for Life Center” at Liberty Station, may soon become the property of a public charter school. High Tech High, which runs several schools in Liberty Station, has agreed to buy the building from the Corky McMillin Cos. That news came from board member Patricia Clark, who said she was asked to pass along a statement from chief executive officer Larry Rosenstock. The school is reportedly applying for a conditional-use permit and plans to enroll up to 450 students. Plans also call for renovating the gymnasium for student use at the 70-year-old building.

• A rental-car facility, receiving/distribution center and other planned improvements to the north side of the San Diego International Airport could wind up further degrading water quality in the Navy Boat Channel, board members said. They voted unanimously to take advantage of the comment period to environmental documents for the airport’s north side development project, scheduled for completion in 2015. The airport has not shown purpose and need for installing an additional storm drain, said Paul Webb of the board’s Airport Committee.

• More than two years in the making, a plan for developing a system of trails on the 50-acre Hillside section of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is now complete, said Ellen Quick of the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Committee. The plan, along will two other plans addressing drainage and erosion issues, will be discussed at the PCPB’s next meeting July 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Point Loma/Hervey Branch Library, 3701 Voltaire St.

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