OCEAN BEACH, CA. Sunset Plaza, the World Oil project slated for the corner of Voltaire and Sunset Cliffs is coming back before the Ocean Beach Planning Board at its general meeting Wednesday, August 5th. But you wouldn’t know it by checking out the Planning Board’s website.
In fact, the Planning Board’s website is out of date and has no records of meeting minutes or agendas for either the month of July or August. Typically, the Board meets twice a month – so this would be up to 3 or 4 meetings to account for. Plus, the Project Tracker spread sheet of all projects, their status, etc is woefully outdated. The World Oil project only had dates from 2008, for instance.
I have to call it for what it is – the OB Planning Board is fumbling in its duty and responsibilities to the community. Of course, being on the Board is a thank-less job, worth a lot of headaches and heartburn, and people who take on the task are trying to do their part in keeping OB the way it is. But … ! and that’s a big “but!” Once this important community board sets up a website as its main form of communication with the community that it represents, it has to maintain it.
The Planning Board will probably approve it, anyhow.
World Oil’s project, the 6755 square foot, two-story medical office building developed for that all-important community intersection, had been earlier approved by the Board last December. There were some design changes mandated by the City – dropping the building back one foot each way from the property’s southeast corner – so the project had to come back for another approval.
When I spoke earlier this month to the current – and brand new – Planning Board Chair Brittany Taylor, she confirmed that Sunset Plaza was on the Board’s agenda for August 5. She was apologetic about the state of the website. She mentioned something about a conflict between her and the past chair Landry Watson over the Board’s website. She had to develop a new site, and can only work on it in her spare time. This must be why everything’s out of date or not updated.
The community needs to know what is going on with the World Oil project. The corporation’s ill-fated attempts in the past to construct a gas station at the corner had been met with widespread protest and community opposition, an opposition that thwarted World Oil three times. The City also opposed at least one of these attempts.
The Planning Board approved the concept of Sunset Plaza at its December 3, 2008 meeting. Even that process was fraught with procedural pot-holes (the agenda for the meeting was not posted on the website until the last minute, and the supposedly time-certain agenda item for the World Oil project was taken out of order).
Now, being on the Planning Board is a totally thank-less job. I know, I’ve been on it twice for a total of three years since the early Ninties. As a member representing a District, there’s a whole pile of responsibilities that comes with the seat at the table when the Board meets at the OB Rec Center. And there’s no one thanking you or appreciating your work in the service of the neighborhood.
But, gosh darn it! We have to know what’s going on. Especially when it comes to World Oil.