“This does feel like, out of all the coastal communities, that OB is being targeted, even though we’re all zoned for medium- to low-density,” said OB Planning Board chair Andrea Schlageter.
“This is a big deal and it's not getting the attention and scrutiny it deserves,” said Kevin Hastings, OB Plan Board vice-chair. “It’s amazing to me that people are not more aware of it: This is a massive change potentially.”
Complete Communities is an initiative being promoted by Mayor Kevin Faulconer to achieve housing goals and shape a more viable future for mobility, parks, and infrastructure. Complete Communities is an urban and rural planning concept that aims to meet the basic needs of all residents in a community, regardless of income, culture, or political ideologies. That is accomplished through integrated land-use and transportation planning and community design.
The proposed Complete Communities Housing Solutions regulations would focus housing construction in multi-family and mixed-use commercial in Transit Priority Areas; remove regulatory barriers to housing at all income levels; invest in neighborhood recreational parks, plazas and promenades; and support needier communities with funding to provide neighborhood amenities.
Pointing out that “if you look at OB and PB the only (planning) difference is [OB] doesn't have single-family homes,” Schlageter said, “It’s crazy to me that we already have a way to upzone (our community plan) without going through the process of community feedback.”
She added; “We want the City to listen to us. The City should be working with us.”
“In the late 1960s, city planners and developers devised a plan to transform Ocean Beach into high-density condos, apartments, and hotels,” said Hastings. “OBceans organized and fought back, which ultimately led to a rewrite of the community plan to preserve the small-scale development model. Fifty years later, history is repeating itself.”
Hastings noted the current zoning and OB Community Plan limits housing density to four dwellings per 7,000 feet to lots west of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, and two dwellings per lot east of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. He added it also limits the building’s total floor area to 70-75% of the lot area, the FAR.
“The Complete Communities proposal would allow FAR up to 800%, and allow as many units that would fit based on the building code minimum of 150 feet per unit,” Hastings said. “The only real limitations would be setbacks and the 30-feet coastal height limit.”
Contends Schlageter: “OB can’t take the density. We have only a couple of roads in and out. We have one bus line. It seems like the City wants OB to take more density so they can take more tourists and collect more tourist dollars. They’re selling out our communities for tourism dollars.”
Hastings concurred, agreeing the City needs to take a less heavy-handed approach to increase density in coastal communities.
“They don’t need to take the sledgehammer and beat us over the head with it,” he said. “That’s not planning. That’s dictating. They shouldn’t be bypassing community groups and the discretionary process.”