OB Planning Board to review remodel request for Colburn cottages at foot of the Pier.

by on July 20, 2010 · 19 comments

in Economy, Environment, Ocean Beach, Organizing

ocean_beach_pierThe Project Review Committee of the OB Planning Board will be determining whether to authorize a request to remodel cottages on Niagara next to the OB Pier, on Wednesday, July 21.

The owner of the cottages – called the Colburn Residences and located at 5072 Niagara Avenue – wants to remodel an existing residence and add 288 square feet. The site is .23 of an acre and has an additional five residences.

The project is in the CC-4-2 Zone within the Ocean Beach Community Plan, and must comply with the following restrictions: Coastal Overlay, Coastal Height Limit, Airport Approach, Airport Influence Area, FAA Part 77, Residential Tandem Parking, Parking Impact. The project lays within District 5 of the Planning Area.

The Committee will vote to recommend approval or denial of the project to the full Planning Board.

The Project Review Committee will meet Wednesday, July 21st, 2010, at 6:30 p.m., at the Ocean Beach Recreation Center – 4726 Santa Monica Ave.  The project appears to be the only item on the committee’s agenda.

For questions on this agenda please contact: Landry Watson – Vice Chairman, Ocean Beach Planning Board (619) 952-2468 or email him at landrywatson.obpb@yahoo.com .

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Dave Rice July 20, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Is that a public meeting?


avatar Frank Gormlie July 20, 2010 at 1:50 pm



avatar Dave Rice July 20, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Okay, thought the first Wednesday meetings were open and the third Wednesdays were closed-door sessions. Just wanted to confirm.


avatar Marisa July 20, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I went to look at one about 15 years ago…they were remodelling each one, one at a time… The rent was high, but the view amazing, they are tiny, but the guy who owned them – not sure if its still the same guy, but he finished the one I looked at like a yacht. It was like being inside a boat, tiny space, but none of it wasted. I was really impressed by the craftmanship.


avatar Sarah July 20, 2010 at 8:14 pm

I know the places well! Really well!

They are only seeking permitting to remodel one cottage and I urge the board to approve the permit as quickly as possible. It’s a small place, like all the cottages, and has been tied up in permitting for a very long time. It currently sits empty and half-finished and attracts FAR too many people to come and wander around the property peering in the windows.

These homes are very nicely maintained and the Colburn’s are super nice folks.


avatar BillRayDrums July 21, 2010 at 3:48 am

I wish they’d hurry up and finish our new place. We’ve got so far to move. *wink*


avatar BillRayDrums July 21, 2010 at 5:20 am

Oh yeah, I can see my house from Italy!


avatar Sunshine July 21, 2010 at 7:11 am

Will the OBPB Committee have copies of the Precise Plan (or whatever it’s called now) available at the meeting for the general public to view, review, or take away from the meeting?

Sure will be nice when all of the Committee Members, Planning Board Members, Town Council Representatives, community members, and stakeholders were coming together and following the Plan currently in place for the entire community.

It will only be when we are all on the same page regarding all building/remodeling plans in OB that a true community will prevail.


avatar Seth July 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm


Here is a copy of the current Precise Plan:

My personal unsolicited thoughts are that this was a great document for its time. It helped to win a lot of the major battles (no high-rises or hotels or mass gentrification). But it is also now a pretty dated document and the game has changed a little bit. It arguably does not have a lot of teeth in terms of certain issues, such as defensible design review (aka telling people what they are not allowed to build in a way that will hold up on appeal).

Good news is that there is an update in progress on a new Precise Plan that is about 90% done, on which a lot of community members have worked really hard on. Frank has done a few write-ups on it. I believe that the monthly meetings are public, but given that it is a draft document, I won’t comment on it much other than to say that it it a lot more sophisticated than the current one and far better equipped to guide OB moving forward.

Again, just my opinion here, but getting that update through is one of the most important issues facing OB right now.


avatar Danny Morales July 21, 2010 at 4:24 pm


Off the record of course, what specific changes to the Precise Plan would you like to see?- a.k.a. What parts of the Plan need to be changed and to what language that would provide for a defensible design review?

Could you be more specific when you say, “the game has changed?” What do you mean? Who changed the game? Do you know something the rest of us don’t?

C’mon man, don’t expect the community to wait for some pie in the sky.
Get to work with the tools you got and don’t blame them for the flaws. It’s a freakin’ plan not a rationalization!


avatar Danny Morales July 21, 2010 at 4:37 pm

P.S- I was one of those “hard” working community members that participated on the board’s update committee. So don’t blow smoke…


avatar Seth July 21, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Danny, some on-the-record comments as a private citizen.

Let me first just clarify that when I say the “game has changed,” I am referring to the document itself, and not people. The contributions made by community activism in OB are in no way lost on me. I’m also not being facetious when I say that the current Precise Plan was a great document for a long time, and one that I still adhere to. But many would say these plans have a lifespan, and are really only meant to last for 20-30 years.

As to how the game has changed, the Precise Plan probably predates most of what is included in the City’s Zoning Ordinance (perhaps even the current zones themselves), and was written almost 35 years before the City’s new General Plan — which it is legally obligated to have conformance with. There have also been any number of court cases in California since that document that either establish or clarify precedents related to property rights or design review. And there are just new challenges that weren’t really foreseen back then (climate change, the need for sustainable transportation and green building, etc…).

Long story not so short, I will dutifully make the case for “excessive bulk and scale” when applicable, but if you have participated in the update process, you already know the draft document has less vague terms and more specific, and enforceable, guidelines.


avatar Debbie July 21, 2010 at 8:03 am

I have never seen the inside of the cottages but I have walked through the property. The area in between the cottages is bare and needs some landscaping and tender loving care which I don’t believe needs planning board approval:-)


avatar Sarah July 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm

bare and in need of landscaping? Are you talking about the parking lot?

These cottages are well and lovingly maintained by Antonio, who’s been working on them for almost 20 years!


avatar Debbie July 21, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Whatever is suppose to be in the middle of the cottages….this area has not had any work on it.


avatar Sarah July 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm

That would be the parking lot.

There’s not much to do beyond maintain the pavement, put down rock where the pavement ends and rake the leaves and seed pod debris from under the tree, which is done weekly.

Remember that the cottages are also smack in the path to the pier. Extravagant landscaping would be impossible to maintain.


avatar Debbie July 22, 2010 at 7:13 am

There are many creative ways to beautify a parking area and this piece of property. It would take some effort, desire and money which should not be an issue since this piece of property must be mortgage free and an income generator. Nothing is impossible.


avatar BillRayDrums July 24, 2010 at 8:00 am

I want a red carpet for my parking spot. And the theme for “shaft” to play when my car enters the lot. And a penguin.

It’s a car park. “Cars park there”.

Besides, Antonio (the groundskeeper) is awesome and does great work. He’s got plenty to keep him attuned to the upkeep of the cottages.


avatar Frank Gormlie July 21, 2010 at 10:23 am

ALL OBPB meetings are open to the public per the Brown Act and Council Policy 600-24. All agendas to these meetings are posted at the location of the meeting 72 hours prior to the assembly. (in this case…at the OB Rec Center).

The Precise Plan is posted to the website and they usually have a copy at all of the meetings. You can easily find their website by going to “links” at the blog’s Nav Bar above.


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