OB Planning Board: 2 Projects Approved, Concerns on Community Plan Update, Crosswalks and Stop Signs Cometh to OB

July 3, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The Ocean Beach planners were certainly busy at their last meeting, held on Wednesday, July 1st. They approved 2 projects, one on Santa Monica and the other on Cape May, they heralded an update on crosswalks and stop signs coming to OB, and they hosted an impromptu debate on the status of OB’s Community Plan Update.

Concerns Raised Over Status of OB Community Plan

Several veterans of OB’s Community Plan update process expressed their concerns over the status of the plan – as it is currently heading to the August meeting of the California Coastal Commission, to be held locally in Chula Vista. Both Mindy Pellissier and Gio Ingolia, co-chairs of the committee that led the update process, were concerned about the timing and any changes to the Plan that city staff were making.

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The Abuse of Ocean Beach Tenants on Saratoga

July 2, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

Mark has lived in his small unit on the 4900 block of Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach for 14 years. His is one of the front units in the 8-plex, where a sidewalk and a narrow space separate the two buildings that make up a narrow courtyard. A row of garages that face the alley forms a “T” with the buildings.

Mark’s longevity as a tenant is not the only one. A woman neighbor has been there for 17 years and a buddy in one of the back units has been there for ten years.

Everyone got along in his courtyard neighborhood. Everything seemed fine, until about six months ago when the property changed hands. And a new property management team appeared. It was the Torrey Pines Property Management company that took over, as it was one of their clients that had purchased the units.

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After Over 30 Years, OB Planning Board Changes Its Logo Due to Request From Originator

July 1, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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For over 30 years (we believe) the Ocean Beach Planning Board has sported its logo on agendas, letterhead, fliers and other documents.

The logo has the famous OB seagull with the “OB” with the planning board’s name below.

But now, the current Board – run by a bunch of upstarts apparently – has changed the logo into a symbolic “OB” with a parrot. My goodness! A seagull for a parrot. What’s next for OB? Veggie tacos instead of fish tacos? (JK guys, really.)

How could they change it after all these years? you may ask yourself.

But wait, they had a good reason it turns out.

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Is Ocean Beach Number 3 in Vacation Rentals for San Diego? Boasts Meet City’s Strict Law

June 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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There’s a new vacation rental property management company out there that’s boasting that with 12,000 short term vacation rentals, “San Diego is rapidly becoming the fastest growing market in the country.”

And it also claims that of the top 5 key regions in the San Diego area, Ocean Beach is number 3 in terms of potential earnings from property owners turning their units into short term rentals.

The company Pillow just announced that it is officially launching in San Diego, and it has a nifty graphic that shows that short term rental fees from OB make the community the third top community in the San Diego region.The breakdown: La Jolla, Pacific Beach, then OB, then San Diego generally, and fifth is Coronado.

The company is all about enticing homeowners to rent out their digs and has held several workshops around town. It’s already established itself in several other cities. Pillow

Wow! OB is number 3!

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OB Planners to Review Projects on Santa Monica and Cape May

June 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The OB Planning Board has two projects to review at their next meeting, Wednesday, July 1, over at the OB Rec Center.

The first action item is the application for the proposed project at 5040 Santa Monica Avenue. The Project Review Committee gave it their thumbs up when they met on June 17, voting 6 to 2 for approval. The full Board makes the final decision.

Here is the report we filed then:

Commercial and Residential for Santa Monica – the “Last Sand Dune in OB”

The project proposed for 5040 Santa Monica was a scaled-down version of a development that had been approved back in 2006 but never constructed. The developer was going for a ‘substantial compliance review’ with the city, as the site has been dormant for around 10 years. The lot supposedly contains “the last sand dune in OB”.

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Is Chumming Legal Off the Ocean Beach Pier?

June 26, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

OB pier fishingIs chumming legal or allowed off the Ocean Beach Pier?

Okay, you ask, what’s “chumming”?

There’s a variety of modern slang-type of definitions, but in relation to fishing, it’s when people fishing off the pier or in the ocean cut up large chucks of bait and throw them over the railings or overboard in hopes of attracting large fish – like tuna – or like sharks.

If the fisherman or fisherwoman is trying to attract sharks while fishing off the OB Pier – or any pier – when there are surfers and swimmers nearby – that makes it an extremely dangerous activity.

It was suspected that chumming may have been partially responsible for attracting the sharks that attacked children off Oak Island in Southern North Carolina back in mid-June, where two kids each lost a limb. The incidents – 2 miles apart – were followed by calls to regulate chumming off a local pier.

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OB Town Council: Drought Remedies, Mallow-Out Campaign, Caves, Grants, Vendors and Park Rangers

June 25, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The Ocean Beach Town Council juggled a lot of issues last night at its monthly public meeting – drought solutions, its “Mallow-Out” Campaign, the day after July 4th clean-up, the funding of grants …

It was well over half-way through the meeting when the keynote presentations on the drought and solutions were finally made to the crowd of about forty audience members and a dozen Council members.

Drought Remedies: Native Plants, Rainbarrels, Greywater and Diet

One-by-one several presenters laid out remedies that included learning about native plant gardens, which native plants are good to plant, about installing grey-water systems in your home, and how our diets also contribute to the waste of water.

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Donna Frye Calls for “Massive River Park” at Qualcom Stadium Site

June 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Donna Frye is trying to upset the apple cart that surrounds all the discussion about the Chargers and the Qualcomm football stadium site. Yesterday – Monday, June 22nd – she called for “a massive river park” at the 166-acre Mission Valley site.

In an Op-Ed piece in Voice of San Diego, Donna Frye – former City Councilwoman for the district that includes Mission Valley – called for something akin to another Balboa Park or Mission Bay Park.

In her piece, Frye dismissed the discussion about whether the Chargers want the current site and all the discussion about commercial and residential development of it, instead declared that it actually is “a big opportunity staring us right in the face – the potential to create a real San Diego River Park.”

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News Around Ocean Beach – Late June 2015

June 22, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Cheswick Bartender Memorial “Ride Out” for Shay Whitman Shay Whitman, a bartender at Cheswicks on Newport, was killed in an accident on June 4th,

BBQ House Expansion The expansion of OB’s BBQ House is really picking up pace.

OB Hookah Lounge Now Wants to Serve Food and Drink The hookah lounge at 4851 Newport Ave,

Voltaire Brewery Progress There has been progress on the brewery slated to open on Voltaire Street.

Sunset Plaza Towers Over Intersection It’s now clear just how large the building at the corner of Sunset Cliffs and Voltaire will be.

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“Ocean Beach Plaza” Planned for Cable and Santa Monica

June 22, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Demolition of Former Medical Buildings and Construction of Mixed-Use Commercial Buildings Planned

The owner of the large lot at the southeast corner of Cable and Santa Monica – whose buildings have for decades housed medical and dental offices – has applied for a permit to demolish the buildings and construct something he’s calling “Ocean Beach Plaza“.

The new planned project for the site – owned by well-known OB property-owner John Small – is for two commercial and mixed-used buildings, including a section with 2 stories, totaling 10,453 square feet. The lot is .45 acres and currently has a large parking lot in the rear of the building with alley access off Cable and street access off Santa Monica.

All the medical and dental offices have been emptied at this point, with only the dry cleaning business right on the alley still going. The property is addressed 1929 Cable Street and this is the address for the permit to demolish and build anew.

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Water Quality Report Card: Dog Beach Gets an “F” and OB Pier Gets an “A+”

June 19, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Drought Helps Water Quality at San Diego and Other California Beaches

The group, Heal the Bay, just released their annual report card on water quality. They assign a letter grade to beaches and coastal areas up and down the West Coast in three categories, the dry season from April to October, dry periods from November through March, and during wet weather.

Perhaps paradoxically, it appears the drought actually is helping water quality and the vast majority of San Diego County beaches reached A or B’s.

But not Dog Beach.

The San Diego River outlet at Dog Beach was one of the locations that received F grades — during wet weather. This is not that surprising, is it?

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Take Part in OB Rag Poll: What kind of device do you use to view the OB Rag?

June 18, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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We’re running a poll to see what kind of device our readers use most when they view the OB Rag.

Is it a personal computer or some kind of a mobile device?

We ran a poll last week on the exact same question, but began wondering whether some of our friends who read on certain mobile devices could access or even see the poll.

So, please – help us out and take part in this. Come on in ….

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OB Planners Reject Out-of-Compliance Condo Project Slated for Abbott and Muir

June 18, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Condo Project Failed to Meet OB’s FAR; 2 Other Projects Approved

The OB Project Review Committee, as a sub-committee of the full Planning Board, previews any construction projects that come before the official volunteer group, and it usually decides to either make a recommendation for approval or denial of the project.

And at last night’s meeting of the Project Review Committee, it unanimously rejected a proposed project slated for the large empty lot at the southwest corner at Abbott and Muir. By a vote of 8 to 0, the sub-committee voted to recommend denial of the project for the full Board, which next meets on July 1.

The sub-committee did vote to recommend approval for 2 other projects on their agenda, one on the 4900 block of Cape May and the other on the 5000 block of Santa Monica.

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San Diego Medical Examiner: Anne Gillin’s Death Caused By Accidental Drowning

June 17, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The San Diego County Medical Examiner has determined that Anne Gillin – a well-known transient person who frequented Ocean Beach and Shelter Island – died by accidental drowning.

The reported concluded:

Based on the autopsy findings and the circumstances surrounding the death, as currently understood, the cause of death is drowning, and the manner of death is accident.

There was no evidence of foul play. Investigator Sandra Joseph also found that Gillin suffered from diabetes.

Gillin was reportedly last seen by a friend on the wading beach at Shelter Island on either April 27 or 28.

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Full Plate for OB Planners: 3 Projects for Total of 10 Units and 26 Parking Spaces

June 16, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Review Committee to Meet Wed., June 17 at OB Rec Center

We often do not cover the OB Planning Board’s Project Review Committee meetings because most the projects end up for a final decision at the regular Board monthly meeting anyhow.

Not this month. For it definitely appears that the Project Review Committee – a sub-committee of the full Board – has a full plate for it June 17th meeting.

It has 3 projects to review – for a total of 10 new units and 26 parking spaces.

Interestingly, all the proposed projects are for empty lots in north Ocean Beach, including the very last large vacant lot at the intersection of Muir and Abbott.

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Vacation Rentals in San Diego

June 12, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

Besides the Chargers stadium, there is no other hotter issue these days in San Diego than that of the issue of vacation rentals. And this is particularly true in the beach and coastal communities of San Diego, like OB, Pacific Beach, Mission Bay.

It is an issue that hits close to home and is a personal one for many San Diegans. A good friend of mine just got married up in the Bay Area. He and his wedding party of 5 found a nice, roomy house in Berkeley with such a nice backyard that they held their ceremony there. They had found the place on Airbnb after another real bed and breakfast had cancelled on them at the last moment.

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Has the Santa Barbara Oil Spill Finally Reached San Diego? Tar Bars at La Jolla.

June 12, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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There are now significant amounts of tar droplets at La Jolla – the Scripps Institute of Oceanography beach just to the north.

We have to ask: has the Santa Barbara oil spill reached San Diego?

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Red Crabs in OB

June 12, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The red crabs reached OB yesterday, June 11th.

There’s plenty of them – pelagic red crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes) – that washed up along the high tide line between Ocean Beach and Blacks.

They are usually associated with warmer water temperatures, and perhaps came during the unseasonably warm spring temperatures a few weeks back.

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Delay In Showdown Between County Supervisors and the Constitution

June 10, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The Board of Supervisors of San Diego County delayed their vote on a very controversial proposal to limit free speech and assembly in and around the new Waterfront Park that surrounds the County Administration Building.

After some discussion, the Board said it needed more time and unanimously voted to send the proposed ordinance that would in part set up so-called “free speech zones” and require permits for large gatherings back to County lawyers for clarifications and revisions.

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Will City of San Diego Make Dubious Move to Get Blanket CEQA Exemption for Mission Valley Stadium?

June 9, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Is the City of San Diego about to go for a blanket CEQA exemption for the Mission Valley stadium?

Dan McLellan thinks so. He used to sit on the San Diego Stadium Coalition, was its vice-president for awhile and is a longtime ardent Chargers fan. He departed the group so he could speak out more aggressively, he told us.

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County Board of Supervisors vs. the Constitution

June 9, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will today – Tuesday, June 9th – consider a proposal to limit freedom of expression in and around the new Waterfront Park just outside the County’s headquarters, the Admin Center.

San Diegans upset with this proposed ordinance to limit political activities are planning to attend the meeting. If the proposal is passed, the County will consider it again for a final go-around on June 23rd. Under the proposal, large groups of people involved in political acts at the Park could be required to move into or be inside so-called “free speech zones”. The problem is … these zones of “free expression” have been declared unconstitutional by federal courts.

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News from Around Ocean Beach and the Peninsula

June 8, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Woman’s Body Found Near OB Pier Identified

Longest Living Cat Dies in OB

OB Woman Outraged by What She Found on Firefighters’ Website – Which Had Been Hacked

SeaWorld and Its Supporters Play Dirty

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OB Planners: Passed Del Mar Project, Okayed Apple Tree and Juggled Concerns of Community Plan Delay

June 4, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Once Chair John Ambert guided the OB planners to their action agenda items, the Planning Board got down to business, at last night’s monthly meeting at the OB Rec Center. And eventually, they had almost a full Board.

Here’s what they accomplished:

They overwhelmingly approved the 4900 block Del Mar project, they okayed Apple Tree Market’s permits – including their alcohol permit – ; they juggled real concerns about a delay in the Coastal Commission’s approval of the Community Plan with assurances from the city; they approved the Climate Action Plan, and tossed about the notion of changing the historic logo of the Board.

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“Wall of Gentrification” in Ocean Beach Halted on West Pt Loma?

June 3, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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With the near completion of the fourth house in OB’s “Wall of Gentrification” on the 5100 block of West Point Loma Boulevard, we can readily get a sense of what that area of the community would look like if more such 3-story McMansions were allowed to be built along that street.

Try to imagine duplicating these four across the face of the parking lot at Dog Beach – so that the entire length becomes a 30-foot wall …

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Birds of Paradise Art Show at Te Mana Cafe

June 3, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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For the remainder of June, local beach artist Micaela Porte is displaying her recent works – Birds of Paradise – at Te Mana Cafe in Ocean Beach, over at 4956 Voltaire Street.

The show has been running since the end of April. They’re open daily until 6 pm, closed Wednesdays.

Micaela told us that acrylic paint, some old canvases and bird of paradise heads from one of her neighbor’s yard inspired a binge of colorful paintings of bird of paradise flowers – which all harmonize with the aloha theme at the Te Mana garden cafe.

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New Projects in Ocean Beach: a Seawall and a Mysterious Project at an Empty Lot

June 2, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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There’s two projects coming to Ocean Beach in the near future of some interest.

Seawall or Bluff Repair for Ocean Front Street

One is a permit “to stabilize the coastal bluff adjacent to the residences located at 1759-1765 Ocean Front Street“, in other words, some kind of seawall or bluff repair. …

Empty Lot or What at 5040 Santa Monica?

The second project that the community was given notice about is a “Notice of Future Decision” regarding a review and permits “to remove an underground parking garage” …

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OB Planners: Del Mar Demolition – Construction and Apple Tree Market – Wed., June 3

June 1, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The Ocean Beach Planning Board meets Wednesday night, June 3rd in the OB Rec Center, at 6pm sharp. (See inside for official agenda.)

Down and Up on Del Mar

The big issue of its agenda is the application for a permit to demolish 3 units and replace them with three new units and a subterranean garage at 4939-4941 Del Mar Avenue .

Apple Tree Market

Also on the Board’s agenda is the new Apple Tree Market going in at 4976 Newport Avenue. Specifically, it’s the owner’s conditional use permit application for a license to sell alcohol and a neighborhood development permit to resume its retail and commercial use.

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NSA Collection of American Phone Records Ends – Thanks to Edward Snowden

June 1, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Halt to Records Collection Probably Temporary As Senate Expected to Pass Reform Measure

By Frank Gormlie

As of today – June 1st – the National Security Agency is no longer legally allowed to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk. The NSA massive collection of telephone records ended at 11:59 p.m. EDT Sunday, right after the Senate failed to pass a measure to extend the controversial program, part of the Patriot Act.

And Americans can thank Edward Snowden for it. Snowden was the one who heroically revealed the massive surveillance program to the American public and is now sitting in Russia for his punishment.

The halt to the phone coverage, however, is probably only temporary, as the Senate is expected to okay a House-passed reform bill targeting the NSA’s surveillance program. Even if it passed, it would still take a couple of days for it to start up.

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Ocean Beach and Point Loma News – Early June 2015

June 1, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Editor: Just about every week, we publish an roundup of sorts of recent news from OB, Point Loma, the Peninsula, the Midway District, Mission Bay and, at times, other beach areas – along with updates on issues and notices of community events. Here’s the latest from over the last week or so:

Another Stabbing in OB

There was another stabbing in Ocean Beach, in the alley of the 4900 block of Newport Ave. It occurred Tuesday night, May 25th. Community Relations Officer David Surwilo reported the incident at the recent OB Town Council meeting. This time the stabbing came down when one of the workers of a business told a homeless guy he couldn’t stay on a couch that he had occupied. The guy stabbed the employee a couple of times and fled. The worker was taken to a hospital – and probably already released, Surwilo said on the 26th.

COME INSIDE FOR MORE ……….

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Ocean Beach Town Council Seeks Compromise With San Diego U-T Over Their Ad Circulars

May 29, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The OB Town Council, led by its president Gretchen Newsom, sought to find a compromise at their meeting on Wednesday over the San Diego Union-Tribune‘s mass distribution of the newspaper’s ad circulars throughout the community.

There’s been a small movement in OB of late to get the plastic-bagged circulars banned from Ocean Beach – due in large part to the willy-nilly way it which they’re distributed – where many end up in gutters, in streets and on sidewalks- and then in trash cans.

Supporters of the ban, led by OB resident Mary Tolena, had galvanized the Town Council to hold a debate …

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