Why West Point Loma Boulevard Is on the Frontlines of Battle Against Gentrification in OB

by on September 5, 2012 · 6 comments

in Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

The Ocean Beach Planning Board has been challenging the City of San Diego of late for granting variances to property owners along the 5100 block of West Point Loma Boulevard – which allow the owners to bypass the Ocean Beach Precise Plan – which is OB’s development guidebook.

Here are a series of articles we published on the issue (click on the headline).

Community Planning Lesson # 1: The coming gentrification crisis of Ocean Beach

Community Planning Lesson #2 – Gentrification Coming to Ocean Beach

How the City Is Gentrifying Ocean Beach – the Saga of the Cox Residence on West Pt. Loma.

Councilman Faulconer is okay with gentrification in Ocean Beach, dismisses Planning Board concerns about 5100 West Point Loma

Faulconer requests legal review by City Attorney of City improperly granting variances to West Point Loma property owners.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar OB law(yer) December 12, 2012 at 9:30 am

Mr Frank — thanks for posting the entire ongoing saga thread for all to read, if they have a weekend of nothing to do.

Interesting to note you continue to position that this is gentrification.

I had previously disagreed because I didn’t know the full scope of the parcels that could actually be changed.

I watched the last hearing on City 24 and now it would appear from both chairwoman Gawrownski’s comments and also the staff report that there are over 100 lots exactly like the 3 that got past the rules. That is a LOT of lots (ha ha) in one small area. No small impact at all….and certainly not “unique” in nature if there are 100 others that are similar.

Hey buddy…. I got a one-of-a-kind watch to sell you for $$$….. there are only 100 others just like it. What the whoosit?

Who are these people think they are fooling?

We might be a little slow to get revved up in OB these days then we were back in the day, but it isn’t like we don’t see these people coming from a mile away.


avatar Wizard of Cape May December 12, 2012 at 1:31 pm

The soon to be condos at Saratoga and Abbott will be a real live case study on the impact of gentrification on OB. Exciting times.


avatar OB law(yer) December 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Dear Mr. Wizard, Exciting times indeed when this often flooded location (insert magic link here to the articles from last year showing this location under 3 feet of water) floods again and all of the mercedes and jaguars of the residents of said development are floating around like toy boats.

But hey…they got their side yard variance from the OBPB if I’m not mistaken – so I find it interesting that you insist that those lowlife NIBMY (whateveritstandsfor) obstructionists didn’t warn the good people of OB of the tendency of this area to be overrun by stormwater and even stormsurge (read mother ocean) at this location when the tides is high (Blondie) and the berm isn’t in place.

And I’m sure they will insist on calling the non-emergency SD police number complaining upon complaining when the annual completely harmless fun marshmallow fight ends up in their backyards and they get some sticky goop on their Audi tires.

And then I’m sure with all of their extra loot they will be lobbying the council, county, mayor and newspaper about extending the sea wall to their location as soon as the oceans come up a foot or two over the next decade.

The meek shall inherit the earth man! or….Gandolf or whoever you are. Cast a spell of gentrification upon OB and find yourself whisked away to El Cajon in a trailer park. Poof!

The project you refernce was actually a great example of how the OB Rag organized a public meeting on site in order to help the applicant better develop the site as the planning board recommended if my memory (which isn’t so good) serves me correctly – and the applicant and the planning board compromised on just a single variance instead of multiple

Mr. Frank….please correct if I”m wrong.

Good day.


avatar Wizard of Cape May December 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm

The more you know…

Construction to Begin on Ocean Park Villas Condos Early 2013 – Residents Have Until Jan. 2nd to Move Out

From the article…

(OB Planning)Board member Craig Klein: “The big beef is that we didn’t want cars visible from the street. That’s been solved. I’ve always regarded this as a difficult site that was going to require creative solutions.”

BTW, that big bamboo looking house at the end of Cape May Place has a six car underground garage with a grip of pumps for Mother Ocean’s hijinks . I’m sure Ocean Park Villas will too. The future top 1% of OB would demand it. They don’t want their servants getting all wet along with their Audi R8’s.


avatar Seth December 12, 2012 at 4:36 pm

OB Law(yer), thanks for the repeated kind words. A few random thoughts…

1. The Saratoga & Abbott project — which I did recommend approval for, in pretty much of its forms — was located on two properties (now one) with several special circumstances that the variance process exists to address, in my opinion. Really no other properties in OB like those ones in terms of their relationship to the beach and park, and the unused alleys that border them. Wasn’t a perfect result in the end, but it was never going to be. And it is better for people in the community having gotten involved in it.

2. More towards Wizard, I don’t view that project as gentrification so much as a matter of building life cycle. Whether or not they could have been maintained better, the existing buildings are certainly at the end of theirs. The new project is a decided improvement over the existing structures, but it’s not the Taj Mahal or anything. There was some creative design, to be sure, but it is essentially compliant with code and the FAR limit.

As a side note, part of why I voted to recommend that project is that the OBPB was being asked primarily to visit the issue of vacating the public alleys that bordered the properties. They were created for fire trucks, and had been unused for decades. The property lines went down the middle of the alleys, and vacating them gave the owner more buildable space relative to his lot size. That potentially allowed for 2 extra units, but hey, it was their own land. There was never at any point a transfer of ownership from the City to the property owner, as many people stated.

3. Unlike the Saratoga and Abbott project, the ones in North OB being granted variances are not at all dissimilar from hundreds of others, as Jane has stated. By my estimation, there are at least 100 who can make the exact same argument being put forth, and an additional 50-100 who can make most of the same argument (partially in floodplain, or substandard-sized lot that is slightly larger than 2,500 sqft). That’s a big deal.


avatar Seth December 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm

One more… despite the flooding that happens there, the Saratoga and Abbott property is not in a FEMA floodplain. It happens due to a lack of drainage with stormwater runoff, which the City claimed it was addressing.

Not a great idea to go underground there, but nothing much there to say that they can’t. I floated the idea of a reduced parking variance for that site, which of course is an awful idea in terms of precedent, no matter how appropriate for that site.


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