Environment

OB Planners Have Full Plate for Wed., Sept 2 Meeting

September 1, 2015 by Staff
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3 Projects and a Park Re-Name on Agenda

Looks like it’s a full plate for Ocean Beach planners at their upcoming monthly meeting this Wednesday, September 2nd.

They have the re-naming of Saratoga Park to deal with, as well as 3 projects to review;

  • one is a coastal cliff stabilization project at 1759 Ocean Front Street;
  • a garage demolition and construction of a two-story 2100-plus square foot single family residence, with an existing house, at 4821 Coronado Avenue;
  • the construction of two 3,365 duplexs (total of 4 condos) at 2150 Abbott Street.
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Loss of Community Is Greatest Threat From Airbnb and Short-Term Vacation Rentals

September 1, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Short-term vacation rentals are on the minds of a lot of people these days, especially with those who live at the coast in San Diego.

The issue bubbles up at community meetings. An OB resident brought it up at a recent Ocean Beach Planning Board meeting. And it was the subject of a panel discussion organized recently by the Point Loma Democratic Club. Also, back in February of this year, residents of Pacific Beach made their complaints about them heard publicly.

Then it came up at the most recent OB Town Council meeting last week, during the non-agenda comment period, where folks on both sides on the issue contended for audience sympathy. And it’s certainly a hot topic among callers to District 2 Councilwoman Zapf’s office.

Zapf’s office is in the middle of the controversy as she heads up a City Council committee on Smart Growth and Land Use, which last Spring held 2 public hearings on the issue, where both sides squared off. The upshot was that city staff have drafted language for a new San Diego Municipal ordinance updating how the City deals with the issue of short term vacation rentals.

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Problems and Some Advice on Airbnb in San Diego Apartments

August 31, 2015 by Source
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Editor: In the interests of keeping the discussion on short-term vacation rentals alive, here below is a view by John P Anderson, a proponent of these types of rentals, with some steady advice.

By John P Anderson

As the Airbnb debate continues in San Diego, I found it interesting to receive a warning letter from my previous apartment manager, Torrey Pines Property Management this week informing tenants that using sites like Airbnb is not allowed in the buildings they manage. [For letter, see below.]

I contacted Torrey Pines and was informed that this is a proactive measure to avoid issues in future, not in response to issues that have occurred. Good for them for taking a proactive, informative approach to the issue.

I wanted to share this since there are likely many San Diegans that would like to utilize sites like Airbnb to rent a spare room, or their apartment while they are out of town.

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Disposable People: Obama, the TPP, and the Betrayal of Human Rights

August 31, 2015 by Jim Miller

tpp slaveryBy Jim Miller

During the lead-up to the vote on the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) that the President narrowly won, Obama and his surrogates consistently suggested that those in labor and other allied groups opposing the deal were “fighting the last war” and were against “the most progressive trade agreement the world has ever seen.” Indeed, he even went so far as to accuse critics like Senator Elizabeth Warren of “making stuff up”.

As we know, Obama defeated labor and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and, in concert with Republicans and just enough New Democrats like San Diego’s own Scott Peters and Susan Davis, he succeeded in forwarding the multinational corporate agenda.

Since that time the gaze of the national media has turned elsewhere and, as negotiations have encountered difficulties, the administration has sunk to new lows in its zeal to finish the deal on the TPP.

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News and Notes From OB Town Council Meeting

August 28, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Caves at Foot of Orchard Bring Complaints of Government In-Action

Here’s more news and notes from the recent monthly public meeting of the Ocean Beach Town Council, held Wednesday, August 26th.

One of the best things of the OB Town Council meetings is the “non-agenda public comments” period at the very beginning. This is when folks can get up and either complain or announce or comment on anything – usually OB-related – and have not only the Council members hear what they have to say, but also the reps of the various elected officials who have some jurisdictional claim on OB, as well as members of the first-responders who show up to give reports.

And last Wednesday, it was no different.

During this period, 3 women rose from their seats in the back, and nearly in unison complained of the homeless people burrowing into the cliff at the foot of Orchard Street. This was not the first time the OBTC has heard of complaints about the caves behind concrete slabs that homeless people have dug. But here was the issue again.

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SANDAG’s Transportation Plan is Stuck in Reverse

August 28, 2015 by Source

traffic jam 2By SanDiego350.org / San Diego Free Press

Climate change is a local issue that reaches every corner of the globe. Human activities, especially burning coal, oil and gas, are pumping heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

More than any other time in human history, we’re seeing unlivable marine habitats, rising seas that threaten to subsume coastal societies, and, on land, increases in extreme weather including droughts, floods and severe storms. The changes are happening everywhere, but the effects are felt locally. And the solutions have to come from changes we make in every community.

At SanDiego350, a local nonprofit fighting climate change, we believe that San Diego is at an important crossroads where we must decide how we will reduce our contribution to Earth’s looming climate crisis.

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Candidates for OB Town Council Introduced – Election Begins Friday, Aug. 28

August 27, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Annual elections to the board of the Ocean Beach Town Council begins on Friday, August 28th and continues to midnight September 7th. Those eligible to vote are the members of the OBTC in good standing (dues are paid). Ballots will be emailed out and the electronic voting will begin.

There are 8 seats to be filled and there are 11 candidates. Last night’s OBTC public meeting included a Candidates’ Forum where the the candidates were introduced.

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Nuke Shutdown News – August 2015

August 27, 2015 by Michael Steinberg
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By Michael Steinberg /Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the US nuclear industry, and highlights the efforts of those who are working for a nuclear free world.

Restart Relapse

Less than a week after the 70th anniversary of the US Atomic Bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and the literal meltdown of over 200,000 human beings, the current Japanese government announced the restart of the Sendai nuclear reactor, the first to resume operations since the Fukushima disaster of March, 2011.

On August 10, Bloomberg Business reported: ‘The safe restart of Sendai is important for Japan and for the worldwide community,” according to “Dale Klein, former chairman of the US NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission).”

“It can demonstrate that nuclear energy can play a role in the safe, reliable generation of electricity,” Klein also told Bloomberg.

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New Surfer Mural Adorns Wall at Entrance to Ocean Beach

August 26, 2015 by Source
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Meeting the Artist – Henry Goods – Commissioned by Gas Station Owner

by South OB Girl

Entering Ocean Beach along Sunset Cliffs Blvd., the brightly colored mural on the 76 gas station wall may have caught your eye.

One can’t help but see the new mural shortly after seeing the Ocean Beach entry way sign. On the right — Robb Field and the iconic Ocean Beach entry way sign (newly restored and freshly painted).

On the left — Dusty Rhodes Park and the 76 gas station wall with a mural depicting two surfers (male and female), a giant wave, and some sea gulls. The mural might appear to be part of Dusty Rhodes Park, but actually is on the property of the 76 gas station at the corner of West Point Loma Blvd. and Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

The mural is the work of Henry Goods. And upon meeting him, it is clear that his personality comes out in his painting and his painting captures his energetic and vibrant personality.

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Push-Back Grows Against Jumping Off Sunset Cliffs

August 25, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Close to a year ago exactly, we published a “reader rave” about “Why I Jumped Off Sunset Cliffs Yesterday” on why a 65-year old purported local man jumped off a place along the cliffs called Arches (or just “the Arch”) – the popular spot along the cliffs – on a hot, end-of-summer day.

Currently, the article is getting a lot of hits – and it’s all because the entire “sport” has become controversial.

There’s a definite push-back growing against people jumping off that spot, right now. One report cited a hundred people jumping off Arches.

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Residents in Pacific Beach Mobilize Against Large Lifeguard Center Planned for Coastal Bluffs

August 25, 2015 by Staff
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Residents up in Pacific Beach are mobilizing against a large lifeguard command center that the City of San Diego wants to build right on the coastal cliffs at the end of Law Street. They feel the project is way over-sized and would destroy the beautiful and valuable bluff at that location.

One PB community activist wrote us to urge us to sign:

Please sign this people’s petition to halt plans, and reconsider site locations, of the lifeguard station proposed to concrete the Law St beach and canyon for $7 million.

We believe this land to be invaluable to the city of San Diego as a natural and cultural treasure, and that no consideration has gone into other options for a lifeguard facility.

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When the Name’s the Game

August 25, 2015 by Source
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By Lois Lane

The following is a report on the most recent meeting of the OB Community Development Corporation (held on Wednesday, August 13).

The OB CDC lacked a quorum to vote on any action items; the discussion was provided as information from the regular agenda on the recurring topics:

  • The OB Entryway,
  • the OB Veterans Plaza,
  • and the Children’s Play Area/Adult Fitness area.
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OB Town Council Meeting: Candidate Forum and Update on OB Veterans Plaza – Wed., Aug. 26

August 25, 2015 by Staff

A Candidates’ Forum and an update on the OB Veterans Plaza headline the Ocean Beach Town Council’s August 26 public meeting. The Council meets at 7:00pm at the Masonic Lodge – located at 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

The Forum is for candidates who are seeking election to the OBTC Board of Directors. The Council then holds elections during the remainder of the month for the 8 seats that are open. To be eligible to vote, you must be a member of the OBTC. (It’s too late to apply to be a candidate, as written candidates statements were due by midnight on Monday, August 24th.

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Camping on Mt Palomar on the Edge of the Wilderness

August 24, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Camping to me is a lot of fun, but I only get to do it maybe once a summer. But feeling burnt by the daily challenges and pressures of society, I needed some quiet time doing some car-camping. This time I chose to camp on Mt Palomar – the large mountain with the famous observatory (which was closed) that guards San Diego County on its north-side.

Taking off Thursday morning, I arrived at the top around 1 pm. Usually I take S6 up the steep incline, but its twists and turns are too hairy for a relaxed cruise up the mountain. So, for the first time ever, I took the alternate route, S7, which begins on the western edge of Lake Henshaw.

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San Diego Takes the Lead in Greenpeace Strike

August 24, 2015 by Source

11221482_551484888338136_7897254867420767881_oBy Andrew J. Mackay and Bryan Kim

On August 5, 16 of 19 canvassers for Greenpeace in San Diego walked off the job. They were followed by a majority of the Sacramento office. 22 total employees of the Frontline program, Greenpeace’s in-house fundraising program, have had enough of labor policies that give them no job security.

The strike, led by two veteran canvassers in Socialist Alternative San Diego, comes against an organization that claims to be progressive. However, Greenpeace uses a quota system where even veteran fundraisers can be fired for missing quota two or three weeks consecutively.

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Big Oil Spent $6.2 Million Lobbying CA Officials So Far in 2015

August 21, 2015 by Source
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By Dan Bacher / Daily Kos

The oil industry spent $6.2 million to lobby legislators and other state officials in California in the first six months of 2015, according to a report just released by the California Secretary of State’s Office.

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, alone spent a total of $1,388,203 in the first quarter of the 2015-2016 session and $1,141,037 in the second quarter of the session. That’s a total of $2,529,240 spent on lobbying in six months.

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Report of Panel Discussion: Short Term Rentals – What’s the Future?

August 17, 2015 by Source
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Editor: The following is a slightly-edited report of a panel discussion on short term rentals held at the July meeting of the Point Loma OB Democratic Club.

By PL OB Dem Club Admin

The moderator, Omar Passons, attorney that the San Diego municipal code does not currently define a short-term vacation rental and that ordinance and formal definitions would soon be introduced by City Council.

There is a ‘border and lodger’ definition (generally stays are more than 30 day stay) and a ‘bed and breakfast’ definition (generally stays are less than 30 day stay, but this is not within the code) within the code. Short-term vacation rentals (STVR) means the renting of any portion of your property for less than 30 days.

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Ocean Beach News, Notes and Nuggets

August 17, 2015 by Staff
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Mainstream Media on Coastal Commission Approval of OB Community Plan

Town Council Offers Reward for Info on OB Entry Way Sign Graffiti

San Diego’s First Centrally Located Licensed Pot Dispensary Opened in Midway District

OBcean Quoted in NY Times About Use of Facial-Recognition Software by San Diego Police

OB Lifeguard Team Wins Annual Competition – Again!

Big Companies, Not Homeowners, Run Biggest Share of Short-Term Rentals

Liquid Blue Fast Becoming an OB Band

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What Happened at the Foot of Cape May Last Week? Was It Sexual Assault or Just 2 Drunken Friends?

August 14, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Last Saturday, we reposted a news account from TV Ch8 about a sexual assault in OB in broad daylight that had occurred on Thursday, August 6th at the foot of Cape May Avenue. Witnesses had called police and ended up very dissatisfied with the attitude and activities of the arriving officers.

The alleged attacker was initially detained by witnesses but only hours later arrested by police and led away in handcuffs. One of the key witnesses was informed later that he was released and not charged. There was a lot of interest in the story among our readers, so we wanted to provide an enlarged picture of what happened. Arriving on Cape May, I found “Con” Harris who lives nearby and who had been the key witness to the incident.

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The California Coastal Commission Approves the Ocean Beach Community Plan – Finally!

August 14, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Some Coastal Commission Modifications Accepted by City Staff in Final Compromise

In an unanimous vote, the California Coastal Commission approved the OB Community Plan Update yesterday, August 13, in the City Hall chambers of Chula Vista.

The vote was a ringing endorsement for compromise and civil give-and-take between the respective staffs of the Commission and of the City of San Diego – a civility and willingness to compromise brought on no doubt by the crowd of OBceans present in the Chambers.

San Diego city staff who participated in the presentations and discussion, stated that the vote was a “major victory for Ocean Beach”.

It had been a long process – since last summer when the City Council approved the OB Plan.

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One Coastal Commission Problem With Ocean Beach Community Plan Linked to Mandate for Affordable Coastal Visitor Accommodations

August 12, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

One of the major issues that the California Coastal Commission has with the Ocean Beach Community Plan Update – on their agenda this Thursday, August 13th – is that language in the Plan in support of low-cost visitor accommodations is not strong enough.

On the face of it, this may seem weird. Why would the Commission reject the OB Update after over a dozen years in the making on an issue that has nothing to do with OB residents?

Coastal Commission staff have recommended that the Commission reject the OB Plan unless there are modifications to the language regarding affordable-housing for visitors at the coast, among other things.

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OB Must Descend on the Coastal Commission Thursday

August 12, 2015 by Source
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Ol’ OB Hippie Joins Calls for Community Action In Support of OB Community Plan

Any OBcean worth her or his salt has been following the travails of the Community Plan Update for Ocean Beach.

And they know that the California Coastal Commission is holding a hearing on the OB Plan on Thursday, August 13. They also may want to know that there will be a bus to take OBceans over to Chula Vista where the Commission is holding their meetings.

This is a critical hearing on the OB Plan – for the Coastal Commission has a mandate to protect our coast and to provide public access to the coast. Any project within the coastal zone has to have their final approval. …

Yet, OB has got to descend on the Coastal Commission on Thursday.

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Ocean Beach Entryway Sign Vandalized – and Then Cleaned Up

August 12, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

OB Entry Sign vand 1By South OB Girl

Same week that Ocean Beach locals have been preparing to defend the OB Community Plan at the California Coastal Commission meeting on Thursday — the iconic Ocean Beach entry way sign was seriously vandalized late Sunday night – August 9th or early Monday morning.

OB Town Council President Gretchen Newsom has tackled the issue full throttle. And no doubt, she will fight for the Community Plan just as hard.

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The Re-Naming of “Saratoga Park” Hits Snag

August 12, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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There’s a movement afoot to change the name of “Saratoga Park” – that grassy area at the foot of Saratoga Avenue – and to have it named after Ocean Beach’s preeminent historian, Ruth Varney Held.

Held wrote the local classic about OB – “Beach Town” – and also wrote a column for a local regional beach newspaper.

Folks with the OB Community Development Corporation are developing a children’s play area within the grassy area and other elements such as an adult fitness are – and are pushing for the name change.

Saratoga Park has been the name for the grassy area next to the sand and lifeguard parking lot for decades. Today, it sits in front of the new condo complex recently constructed with million dollar units.

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Special Meeting Called for OB Planners’ Final Prep for Coastal Commission Hearing

August 11, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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A special meeting has been called by OB planners to finalize their preparations for the California Coastal Commission hearing on the OB Community Plan Update.

The special OB meeting is scheduled for 6 pm Wednesday, August 12 at the Dog Beach Dog Wash community room, 4943 Voltaire Street. The Commission will hear the OB Plan sometime during Thursday, August 13.

Volunteer leaders from the OB Community Plan Update sub-committee along with the leadership of the current OB Planning Board joined in calling the meeting.

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OB Town Council Prez: “GET ON THE BUS – Come Support the OB Community Plan on Thursday!”

August 11, 2015 by Source
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To Our Members and Friends:

On Thursday, August 13, the California Coastal Commission will consider approval of the Ocean Beach Community Plan at their meeting in Chula Vista.

The larger hearing begins begins at 9am, but the Community Plan is item #22c on the agenda, so the actual time it will be heard is currently unknown.

The Ocean Beach Town Council is sponsoring bus transportation to Chula Vista. If you would be interested in bus transportation, please email your name, phone number, and address to: communityplan@oceanbeachplanning.org.

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If You Live in OB or Point Loma, Where Do Recycled Plastic Bags Go?

August 10, 2015 by Source
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By Lois Lane

Recycling plastic bags should not be this hard.

If you get a grocery bag, it is likely to have printed on it “Please return to a participating store for recycling.”

This may not mean the store where you got it. Not governed by local regulations, recycling locations are left to individual businesses. Plastic bags are designed to be confusing.

As a reminder, you can recycle plastic bags:

  • CVS in Ocean Beach on Cable Street. This is a CVS program, utilizing the G2 (Go Green) process. These are gathered in bale-sized boxes and sent to the Go Green recycler via UPS. The customer recycling bin is just inside the front door.
  • Stumps, on Voltaire Street and close to Ocean Beach. Their plastic bags are recycled via the wholesale vendor. When the truck drops off the house brand, they pick up the bag of recycled bags, and return it to the warehouse, where they are baled and sent to a recycler. After that, you have a choice of …
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Staring Over the Brink: Obama, Brown, and High Stakes Climate Politics

August 10, 2015 by Jim Miller

on the brink 2By Jim Miller

President Obama made big news last week when he unveiled his plan to significantly reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants as part of his strategy to address the climate crisis. His speech was urgent, moving in fact, and showed that, at least rhetorically, he is committed to making this part of his legacy:

[W]e’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it. And that’s why I committed the United States to leading the world on this challenge, because I believe there is such a thing as being too late.

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Repulsed by Animal Cruelty, Attendance (and Profits) at SeaWorld Plummet

August 10, 2015 by Source

“People don’t want to watch abused animals being forced to perform pointless circus tricks,” says animal rights group

kathy-najimy-seaworld-new-hed-2014By Nadia Prupis /Common Dreams

Since the 2013 release of Blackfish, a bombshell documentary exposing animal cruelty at SeaWorld, the aquatic theme park has lost increasing levels of both profits and visitors, reporting an 84 percent plunge in net income in just three months.

SeaWorld announced its quarterly earnings on Thursday, acknowledging the steep drop in profits as a result of “brand challenges.”

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“Ocean Beach Plaza” Approved By OB Planners

August 7, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The so-called “Ocean Beach Plaza” was approved by the OB Planning Board last Wednesday night, by a vote of 8 to 1. Once approved and given the go-ahead by the City, the project will be constructed at the southeast corner of the intersection of Cable Street and Santa Monica.

Lee Hope, the architect for the project, made the presentation on behalf of the owner, John Small, who was in attendance at the meeting on August 5th along with a couple dozen others in the audience – including a newsman and cameraman from Channel 8 (on hand for the OB Plaza issue).

Small owns – besides this near-half acre of prime OB property, a couple of bars – Sunshine Company and Tony’s, plus other buildings on Newport Avenue.

The much-anticipated project had several surprises.

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