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.
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.
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.