Agenda-less Ocean Beach Planning Board Meeting Sparks Interest

by on September 8, 2011 · 5 comments

in Civil Rights

Even though there was nothing on last night’s Ocean Beach Planning Board agenda, our roving reporter tells us there was two very interesting things came up during the meeting.

Artist's design of Ocean Park Villas condos.

First: Ocean Park Villas Circumvention

Steve Lombardi – local architect – came to the Planning Board to inform them that the entity who had purchased the plans and permits for the Ocean Park Villas project (the Dempsey’s building) has proceeded to make significant changes to the design (his design) and is attempting to proceed with the amendments to the Permit with the Coastal Commission under the concept of “substantial conformance”.

This project should be returning to the Planning panel to present such changes to the community for the Board’s discussion and approval, even if only as a courtesy. What is going on here is a circumvention of the public process and shouldn’t be tolerated.   It is unclear what the real gain is to Mr. Lombardi for bringing this to the Board except spite that the owners had not proceeded with his design.

Ocean Park Villas is another example where Councilman Kevin Faulconer sided with developer interest instead of the community. Faulconer voted to have the City vacate the public right of way (the two alleys located there) in order for the project to shove TWO additional living units into the already bulky square box that the original 10 unit design recommended.

It was recommended that the City maintain or improve the right of way so that Saratoga Park would be improved. This was not agreed to.

 Second : City says there’s no program to fund memorial benches.

A gentleman named Gene Pound (lives on Udall somewhere) came to the Board night to inform them that he was interested in paying for a memorial bench at Dog Beach for his wife who passed from cancer. He relayed to us that he had inquired with Faulconer’s office and also with Parks/Rec and they told him that there wasn’t currently an existing program that would allow for him to fund a bench.

This absolutely needs some press. A fiscally incompetent City is telling a private citizen he can’t put a memorial bench at the beach because there isn’t enough bureaucrats around to collect money from the process and “supervise”. It’s absurd…

Our reporter says that he or she is  ready to put a bench down there and pour the concrete themselves and then tell the City to come down there and try to pull it out!


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Dorothy Lee September 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I believe the probable “entity” is named Clark Realty Capital

affiliated with Clark Builders Group:

The Clark entities are based at 4401 Wilson Blvd, Ste 600, Arlington VA 22203.

CRC ‘s Sr. VP is James J Forburger (who lives in R Bernardo, in a not-at-all-funky house):

You can see all of Clark’s building projects, many of which are in San Diego, by clicking through the portfolios on the company sites. …NTC housing, John Moores’ ballpark, etc., etc.

If I’m correct, these guys are much bigger than any old OBecians???


avatar OB law(yer) September 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Note on the first subject above: The applicant actually had to “buy” half of the easement in order to afford the opportunity to increase from 10 units to 12. At an incredible discount for ocean front square footage….even if it was only the “paper rights” to half of the square footage of the easement.

Money that was to be earmarked for improving OB parks/recreation.

Where is that money? Don’t we have a restroom that is overbudget?

Yes Mr. Gormlie….let’s hear from Mr. Lombardi his points or reasons for tattletaling on the new project.


avatar Seth September 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Speaking as a private citizen and not a member of the OBPB or someone trying to form any opinion on a matter than could come back before that board, some points of clarification.

About 3.5 years ago, the previous property owner came before the OBPB for a vacation of public-right-of-way and a tentative map waiver. The Board was not asked to visit the proposed project or its design, even if it was presented in a manner that seemed otherwise. As it is in the Coastal Overlay Zone, that aspect was and is to be decided by the City of SD and the California Coastal Commission. Whether or not that should be the case is for anyone to decide for themselves, but as it stands, the primary forum for public comments on the project or its design is likely the CCC hearing.

As to what the OBPB did visit, there was a recommendation to approve by a vote of 4-3. I was one of the four in favor and have commented on this several times before. I still think it was the toughest vote I have had to make and could comment all day on it, but I will try to keep it somewhat short (for a change, lol).

As to the vacation of the public-right-of-way (aka the L-shaped alley that is adjacent to the Dempsey’s building and where people now play horseshoes by Saratoga Park), my understanding then and now was the alley was in part a public easement that encroached onto private property, that was ostensibly for fire protection or other emergency access. It has obviously not been used for that purpose for quite some time.

Assuming that this is correct, this would be important to note because there would have been (a) no essential public purpose currently being served by that pubic easement on private property, and (b) NO TRANSFER OF LAND INVOLVED by a vacation of that easement.

Whether or not there was a potential public purpose to be served (beach access, a playground, a bike rack or a fire lane) was debatable, but I would offer that there is a standard of “essential” that must be met there. The CCC got their butts kicked in something fierce in a well-known related court case linked here, where they tried to tie the granting of a building permit to what was deemed to be a non-essential public purpose:

Moving forward into the project review phase by the CCC, it is not appropriate for me to comment on what I think a “winning” or “losing” argument would be for those opposed to the project or its design or design changes.

I do find these links interesting, though:


avatar OB Dude September 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Mr. Lombardi please explain your actions if you are willing to share them. It would be interesting you know your concerns and motives.


avatar OB law(yer) September 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Have we heard any update on this or the information from Mr. Lombardi?? I’m hearing rumours that this may be already approved as changed by the City and just heading to Cal Coastal. Meaning… OB won’t get a review of the changes in question.


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