The City of San Diego has plans for the future of Ocean Beach. Unfortunately for the residents and persons who own businesses here that future doesn’t include the free beach parking and ease of access that has been a staple of our community for as long as anyone can remember.
At the latest meeting of the Ocean Beach Precise Plan Update Committee (on Wed, Nov.17), city planners Tony Kempton and Sharhriar T. Ammi received input on parking and parking demand management in the Ocean Beach Community area. Originally the only item on the OB Planning Board’s Project Review Committee agenda, Committee Chair Landry Watson took the bold step of folding the PRC into the Update Committee and handed the gavel over to Precise Plan Update Chair Mindy Pellisier.
It broke down like this: According to the city planners the Ocean Beach Precise Plan is in conflict with the General Plan of the city, particularly as it relates to the mobility elements for communities within the City of San Diego. Like the conflicts regarding the floor area ratio (FAR) for residences in O.B., the city would like us to conform to the rest of San Diego by adopting parking meters and multi-level parking structures.
The city’s rationale can be found in the Existing Conditions Report for Ocean Beach (where parking demand is classified according to severity) and in consultation with Wilbur Smith Associates .
But the city’s rationale for increasing the density of parking in O.B. was seen as more of a top/down effort to further transform our beach town into a service community for the regional transient tourist population and its attractions like Sea World. As the meeting wore on, the internal contradictions of a city in crisis became more apparent to those of us who were there.
When the city submitted the notion that the local businesses would like to see a high rise parking structure because of higher visitor turnover rates, representatives from the OB MainStreet Association and the Newport area planning district put that puppy to rest in a way that only an OBcean can.
When it was suggested that the environmental impact of the city’s plans might not cut the green mustard, Mr. Kempton & Mr. Ammi had to fall upon the petard that there was no money for intensification of public transportation routes. Wider and wider into the spiraling gyre the city planners had to finally submit to the bottom/up recommendations of the Update Committee. Let’s hope they got the message…
The following is submitted to our City Planners:
Dear San Diego,
Stop trying to make Ocean Beach a profit center for developer interests and the tourist industry! Begin to listen to local leaders/grassroots activists as to what is in the public interest. Begin to see the long term implications of every variance that is applied for at the planning board level. Begin to implement the recommendations of our small business community. Recognize the unique nature of our community and protect and serve its individuals with all the power vested in your municipal corporation. So help you, God!
Peace and Love,