It’s that time of the year when media and press outfits turn reflective and ponder the “best” or “most important” stories they’ve published over the last 12 months. We’ve done something similar here after reviewing our archives from 2016, and have come up what we think are the “top stories” from OB and Point Loma for the year.
The “stories” are really news, photos, analysis and opinions about real issues within the communities of the Peninsula, a number of which have continued from last year.
So, here they are, the top 15 stories – not in any precise order, but in some kind of semblance of importance, with the mostest at the beginning
Definitely a hold-over issue from 2015, short term vacation rentals continue to spark an invigorated opposition from coastal communities – including OB.
The loss of community that vacation rentals pose for Ocean Beach and other beach communities was explored here in The Loss of Community .
In June the OB Town Council held a discussion and presentation on the issue, and in August the OBTC wrote an open letter to the Mayor and City Council expressing their opposition to the status quo and joined those seeking clarifications to and enforcement of the Municipal Code. See Open Letter . Later in the year, the City Council nixed that effort. Also see:
- Opponents of Short Term Vacation Rentals Pledge to Fight On as City Council Votes Against Clarifications to Muni Code ;
- The San Diego U-T Looks at Short Term Vacation Rentals – and Still Misses Major Point ;
- OB Town Council Meeting – Short Term Vacation Rentals Presentation and Discussion – Wed., June 22nd
Encroachment into public space – especially on Newport Avenue – by restaurants and bars became an issue in the early part of 2016. The well-known restaurant, The Joint, and another bar-restaurant still then being constructed (OB Brewery), both installed structures that appeared to encroach into the public right-of-way and space.
In February, we posted, Is This Encroachment Into Our Public Space? Then in March we published A Photo Essay of Encroachments Into Public Space in Ocean Beach. We ran a poll in April where a plurality at least opposed the metal railings at The Joint. Poll on Encroachment
Restaurants and bars were taking advantage of the City of San Diego’s Program for Outdoor Cafes . In April, the Owner of “The Joint” was given a Correction Notice by the City. By October, The Joint Moves Its Fence .
Another top story that has ignited an on-going debate in OB is the absolute explosion of beer pubs and breweries on or around Newport Avenue. In March, we raised the question, Just How Many Breweries can Ocean Beach handle?
One source of the debate pondered whether the multitude of alcohol establishments contributed to a tragedy. (Is Tragedy Linked to Multitude of Alcohol Establishments?) As the OB Rag continued through the year in giving updates and reports of the status of the pubs (Status of New Breweries and see Another New Brewery , the debate continues to rage (see The Debate Over the Ocean Beach Breweries)
In the Roseville neighborhood of Point Loma, a storm was brewing over the development of a pair of duplexes that locals claimed violated the area’s 30-foot building limit. The building in question, at the corner of Emerson and Evergreen streets, measured upwards of 41 feet.
On June 25th, nearly 100 Point Lomans gathered to protest the development (Point Loma Residents Protest ) and held an emotionally-charged Town Hall Meeting . The City finally issued a Stop Work Order on the project – although for the wrong reasons say the project’s opponents – and eventually the Developer forced to remove 4th floor
The battle over the project opened up the whole issue of deep concern for San Diegans in the coastal zones. Of note, see ‘The Emerson and Evergreen Project in Point Loma Is Where We Have to Draw the Battle Line for the 30 Foot Height Limit’. Also see Mayor Meets with Opponents of Emerson Project.
The unsuccessful campaign to save a Torrey Pine on Saratoga Avenue – a towering and historic Torrey which was chopped down by the City has led to a crusade to save or at least protect the surviving Torrey Pines in Ocean Beach. A group formed to do just that and has succeeded in having 8 other Torreys designated as Heritage Trees. See the following:
- The Sordid Saga of the Saratoga Torrey Pine – A Chronology
- OB Residents Move on Nominating Torrey Pines to City’s Heritage Tree Program
- OB Planners Hold Forum on Torrey Pine
- 8 Ocean Beach Torrey Pines Designated as Heritage Trees
- How the Mainstream Media Failed the Public During the ‘Save the Torrey Pine’ Campaign
6. The Ebers and Greene Project
Another questionable construction project rose its ugly head in the northeast corner of OB, at Ebers and Greene Streets. In early July, the OB Rag posted, Questions Raised About Ocean Beach Project at Ebers Street and Greene, and by early September, Group of Residents to Petition the OB Planning Board about the project. And in early October, we reported that the OB Planning Board Takes on the controversial wood-framed project.
There was movement on different levels surrounding the project, as City Issues Inspection Correction Notice to Owner Nelco Properties, and on October 15th, we posted OBceans Mobilize Against Project .
On October 19th, an OB Town Hall meeting was held on the project, and the OB Town Hall Demands “Stop Work” Order by Mayor Faulconer, and the OB Planning Board sponsored a discussion on it Nov. 2nd. The City did issue a Correction Notice (see A Closer Look at the Ebers and Greene Project and the Correction Notice Issued by the City). Plus check this, Looking Deeper Into the Plans of the Ebers and Greene Project.
Not all the stories from the year are easy to recall. During the summer months, a serial killer of homeless men was on the loose. Three of his victims died – including a man in Ocean Beach, and a fourth was seriously injured. While fear swept San Diego’s homeless community, the killer was apprehended by diligent police officers, but was ruled too mentally incompetent to stand trial. See these:
- Man Suspected in 3 Vicious Attacks on Homeless – Kills 2 – One in OB – Seriously Injures 3rd
- Killer of Homeless on the Loose – Severely Injured Fourth Victim Set on Fire in Downtown San Diego
- Homeless Serial Killer Suspect Incompetent to Stand Trial
When the former Fresh & Easy market on Catalina closed, the giant CVS began making noises about moving into the empty building. But this didn’t sit well with locals who wanted a fresh-food store, so Point Lomans Mobilize Against CVS Coming in to Old Fresh & Easy Site
The successful effort – which included thousands of signatures on petitions – resulted in a San Bernardino County local chain, Jensen’s, taking strong interest in moving into the county. We then reported Jensen’s Moving into Former Fresh & Easy – which was a welcomed relief to Point Lomans who mobilized to support the new store. (See Jensen’s in Point Loma: Hiring Fair and Block Party)
On December 9th, Jensen’s opened. (Jensen’s Foods in Point Loma Opened Today )
When local Peninsula residents figured out the shenanigans that the City’s Development Services Department was pulling over allowing developers to build over the 30 foot height limit, they rallied. The Peninsula Community Planning Board sent an Open Letter to the Mayor and City Council on Determining Building Heights. In response, the City Proposes Height Limit Solution for Point Loma. This didn’t sit well with locals – see More on Peninsula Debate on 30-Foot Height Limit – “Square footage has noting to do with height.”
Our local OB Pier reaching the half-century mark was celebrated throughout 2016. Various OB groups did their part, see OB Mainstreet Association Looking for Pier Reviews, and OB Pier 50th Anniversary Art Show Reception in late June, plus the OB Historical Society presentation on The OB Pier Turns 50! in late July. To top it all off, the OB Pier celebration was chosen as the theme for the annual OB Holiday Parade.
During the early months of 2016, wild parrots began being shot by pellets. We posted Someone Is Killing Parrots With Pellet Guns , and a Reward Offered for Parrot Killer. By February 19th, Latest Parrot Deaths brought the total to 9. And an OB Community Forum was held in April on Wild Parrots to educate the neighborhoods.
The on-going debate – or lack of – about the City installing police surveillance cameras along OB’s waterfront continued into 2016. See OB Police Cameras Update – January, and Opponents of Ocean Beach Police Cameras Get Some Local Press.
The cameras were installed in July (Police Cameras Being Installed ), but not before Councilwoman Zapf and Her Cameras at issue at OB Town Council Meeting . Plus Zapf Introduces Surveillance Cameras to OB at Press Conference But No Questions Were Allowed.
Residents of Point Loma have been complaining about the routes and times of airplane departures from Lindbergh for years. But the hold-over issue ratchet up several notches when it was reported FAA Replaces San Diego Airport’s Primary Departure Route South of Point Loma and Point Loma Residents Still Upset Over FAA Changes in Airplane Departures
One of the nicest stories from the year has been the celebrations of the Ocean Beach Library Centennial – which was celebrated with a huge party at the library on Sunday, Oct. 16th, and plans by the Friends of the Ocean Beach Library – who have high Hopes for its Expansion -. See The Amazing Story of the Ocean Beach Library Centennial .
How could a recounting of the top stories from 2016 be complete without bringing up the huge El Nino storms that hit in January? Well, it can’t, so see these telltale photos in Photo Gallery of El Nino Deluge in Ocean Beach and Point Loma and Flood Waters . We all remember this – Saratoga Million-Dollar Condos Flood for Second Time in 4 Months, with amazing video footage in ‘We told you so‘ video of floods.
So that’s it, folks, our top 15 stories from OB and Point Loma. Sure, there were others, like Deaths and Injuries at Sunset Cliffs, the OB Food and Toy Drive, the Graffiti Wars and SeaWorld Changes, but we’ll save them for another time.