Hey Ocean Beach! World Oil is back…and this time it looks like they’ll get what they want

by on December 2, 2008 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach, Organizing

"Sunset Plaza" - corner of Voltaire and Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

OCEAN BEACH, CA.  World Oil is coming back to Ocean Beach with a proposal for their property at the corner of Sunset Cliffs Blvd and Voltaire Street.  Three times in the past, the corporation has approached the community and city planners with a proposal for a gas station at that very visible corner.  And three times in the past, the community has successfully stood up to their designs. But this time, it looks like they’ll get what they want.

This time, World Oil is proposing “Sunset Plaza”, a two-story 6,602 square foot office building for the corner, as they have already purchased the Dover Plumbing site and building – which they plan to tear down in order to build their new structure and the 26 parking spaces in their plans.

Meeting this Wednesday night, the OB Planning Board will make a decision about the project.  Theoretically, if it meets all the city’s and the OB Precise Plan criteria, it will be approved.  The meeting will be held at the OB Recreation Center on Santa Monica Avenue at 6pm.  Discussion on Sunset Plaza itself is supposed to be at 7pm.  Landry Watson, Chair of the Board, has confirmed with the OB Rag that the project is definitely on the agenda.  The public is indeed invited to make comments and feelings known to the Board.

Since the mid-1990s, World Oil has been attempting to build a gas station at the corner. Three different times, in 1999, in September 2000, and in 2003, they brought their proposal to the Planning Board, only to be shot down by the Board and by City planners. These meetings usually garnered hundreds of OB residents, who came out to oppose the gas station plans.

Voltaire Park 2003

The corner, once the site of a gas station, has been abandoned by World Oil for years.  After the original gas station closed, a recycling center was established, which in turn, operated for a number of years, until it too, fell to the wayside.  After years of neglect, where trash was dumped and weeds grew through the asphalt, the then-unfenced corner was adopted by the Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization in 2000, and the site was turned into a public garden. OBGO watered the trees, shrubs, and flowers that were planted, and staged periodic work-parties to maintain it.

May 15, 2003 - World Oil bulldozes Voltaire Park

Then on the morning of May 15, 2003, without warning or notice to the community planners or to OBGO – which had been working with World Oil and the city code compliance department to keep the site free of trash and weeds – World Oil showed up with bulldozers, a work crew, and a van full of uniformed San Diego police officers, and bulldozed and fenced in the entire corner.  Soon after, the Planning Board again denied their plans for a gas station, as did the City – mainly because there was not sufficient room for the ingress and egress of oil tanker trucks. The Board and many residents felt then that there was already enough gas stations in the neighborhood.

This time around, however, it appears that World Oil, since it dumped its gas station plans, could very well be approved for an office building.  For more information, go to the OB Planning Board website at obpb.org.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Wireless Mike December 2, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Sounds like more gentrification of OB by absentee landowners with no stake in the community.


avatar Stu December 2, 2008 at 3:23 pm

It is nice to see that World Oil is not proposing a gas station. The plan at first glance looks relatively decent. A nice 2 story building, maybe some affordable living units on top and some walk in businesses on the bottom, wouldn’t that be nice. I would like to see them move it off the corner so there is some site distance as you make a right hand turn. Hell I wouldn’t even mind seeing a right hand turn lane, but I don’t know if that is really needed, it would easing some traffic congestion. Some landscaping, drought tolerant of course would be better than all the asphalt.
I would like to see what the building looks like from street level, maybe they’ll show it at the OB planning board.
It is nice to see that vacant lot finally used. The garden was nice but it needed help and it is a commercial zone. Maybe it is the beginning of the rebuilding of North OB or as wireless Mike says the gentrification. Is this a bad thing or a good thing ?


avatar david d. kelman December 2, 2008 at 5:16 pm

My wife and I have lived and are home-owners on Lotus st., 300′ west of the Sunset Plaza project, for the past 18 years.
We are friends and neighbors of Kip and Coleen. I am also a precinct Captain in the Obama campaign.

I have seen many changes in this property, from when it was a gas station, recycling center, vacant hangout of needle-using drug-addicts, an unofficial park, and finally as a vacant lot for the last several years.

We have participated in the many protests and public hearings which stopped the World Oil Gas Station!
That would have been a negative for our block and community.

Sunset Plaza, the current proposal, is a 2-story office building. Lets consider its location and the tenants of the other 3 corners:
a Jack in the Box, a gas station, and a liquor store. An office building would be a respectable, low-impact addition to this
corner. It would provide jobs in its construction and use. It would be a good neighbor in a long term way.

After all our years fighting against a gas station, this proposal is a great victory for the community!
We won!

Thanks to all who spent may hours testifying against the gas station. Thanks to World Oil for giving up that idea,
and for this sensible proposal. This is a winner for both World Oil, and for the community.
There is no opposition to it on my block! I strongly support this proposal.


avatar OB Joe December 2, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Well, Stu, looks like we all should go to the meeting Wed night at the Rec center. See ya there.


avatar obTony December 2, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Allright everybody…I got a little more information on this finally after repeated calls to the president of he OB planning board, wasissname Larry Walson.

Here is what I’m told…their are some of the blueprints posted to the website http://www.obpb.org on the project page..(I checked it out and they are there).

Wasissname would nt give out any additional information and it looks as if tis wasn’t on the website till just today. Seems as if they don’t want us to know what is going on there. We’ll ask THAT question tomorrow night.

Now…what World Oil wants to build is just a big old block that has 4 units inside all commericial and no residences. From the drawing it looks like a prison.

Wasissname was also nice enough to tell me that the Board Committee whatever had already voted in FAVOR of this Prison Block and that was all he would tell me on the phone.

Listen…I don’t know how all of this works…but we need to get down there and be listening and be heard if we want something nice for our community.

I’m NOT sayin we can’t build something there…I also know we ain’t never getting our garden back…but we can at least pressure these “elected” self annoitted board people that we won’t tolerate anything bad in our neighborhood.

Remember…this board has already approved underground condos down by dog beach and also the big block project at the old Dempseys….these people need to be watched!!!!


avatar OBHomeowner December 31, 2008 at 8:59 am



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