Community plan guiding OB’s future growth gets unanimous thumbs-up
by Tony de Garate
Dec 18, 2013 | 2241 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There was a hint of a feeling that history was in the making Dec. 11 at a special meeting of the Ocean Beach Planning Board (OBPB).

At exactly 7:50 p.m., board members voted 8-0 to finalize a document designed to guide growth in Ocean Beach over the next few decades, wrapping up a process that began in 2002.

The document, known officially as the Ocean Beach Community Plan and Local Coastal Program, must be reviewed by several agencies and approved by the City Council and California Coastal Commission before going into effect.

But for the OBPB, which is made up of elected citizens in the community who make recommendations to the City Council and members of a subcommittee that oversaw development of the plan, the heavy lifting is, at long last, finished.

A community plan is intended to be a blueprint for the future and contains specific proposals for land uses and public improvements. Elements within the plan address things like zoning, transportation and urban design, as well as public facilities like libraries, parks, fire stations and recreation centers.

Ocean Beach, which is often credited as the birthplace of community planning in San Diego, currently operates under its 1975 precise plan. It’s the oldest planning document in the city and hasn’t been amended since 1991.

OBPB chairman Tom Gawronski was a newbie on the board when work began on the current update.

“We were young, foolish and stupid,” Gawronski said. “We thought we could get this done in a year. Wrong.”

Work on the update had been in a period of dormancy for a few years. City officials cite budget constraints, though some board members charge a lack of interest during the tenure of former Mayor Jerry Sanders.

Progress was revived this year and the city presented a 166-page draft document that was released to the public in June. The document and accompanying environmental impact report can be viewed online at sandiego.gov/planning/community/-profiles/oceanbeach or in hard copy form at the Ocean Beach library, 4801 Santa Monica Ave.

Since the release of the draft, 138 comments or proposed changes — 60 from board members, 78 from other members of the public — have been collected. The OBPB’s Precise Plan Update Subcommittee spent two meetings and seven hours scrutinizing the feedback, said Giovanni Ingolia, the subcommittee’s co-chairman. The full board approved nearly 40 changes Dec. 11.

“We’re finally getting to the end of this process,” Ingolia said. “This is probably the single-most important document that will affect us over the next 20 or 30 years.”

In other OBPB news

Ingolia has been nominated to the Mission Bay Park Committee through the office of District 2 San Diego City Councilman Kevin Faulconer.
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