Police Trailer in Pier Lot and Wireless Antennaes on the Masonic Lodge Both on Tonight’s OB Planning Board Agenda

by on January 2, 2013 · 9 comments

in Energy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, San Diego

UPDATE: Go here for an update of the Planning Board decision.

There are two somewhat controversial issues before the Ocean Beach Planning Board tonight at their monthly meeting. The Board will discuss them during their publicly-held meeting which starts sharply at 6pm, at the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

Wireless Upgrade at Masonic Lodge

First up on the Action Calendar is Sprint Wireless’ application for an upgrade and renewal to their permit which they hold on their wireless antennas on the Masonic Lodge, located at 1711 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.  The Project Review Committee, meeting in December, recommended approval.  The OB Rag was informed that it was not a controversial issue at the sub-committee’s meeting, and that there will probably be some minor changes to the antennae and aesthetic improvements to make them less visible.

Yet, over the years – OB and Point Loma residents have resisted and objected to various wireless antennas going up in the communities.   There has been a growing trend among wireless phone companies to install their antennas in churches and other religious / social group facilities like the Masonic Lodge, as well as on schools. Communities up and down the state – and across the nation – have been successfully blocking some of these installations – on aesthetic grounds but also on health grounds as well.

Police Trailer to be Permanent?

The second issue of note, is the application by the City of San Diego via the Police Department for a Coastal Development Permit for the existing “Police Trailer” in the middle of the OB Pier parking lot.  The City wants the trailer to be “permanent”. The trailer – existing in its present site for a dozen years or so – is ostensibly used by police officers to write tickets and reports, but it is also utilized by other city staff, such as those motorized public parking attendants.  The trailer, while hosting restrooms and desks only for city employees,  lacks certain requirements for being a permanent structure.

Since the early days of this century at least, local activists have been upset about the trailer – viewing it as an intrusion into public space – needed parking space, on one hand – but also seen as symbolic of creeping “big-brotherism” on the other. Others see it as “a pristine” bathroom for officers while the residents and tourists are subjected to having to risk entering the filthy public restrooms near the center of town at the Life Guard station. Other critics want the trailer to have to adhere to all building codes.

At the December Project Review Committee meeting on the issue, there was more controversy compared to the wireless upgrade. The sub-committee agreed that a police presence is preferred, as compared to none, but they questioned whether the current location was the best for the trailer.  And essentially, the sub-committee punted the issue over to the full Board in order for the Police to explain how they have explored all possible locations in order to maximize coastal views, coastal access (via parking) and law enforcement presence.

Click on these images for a larger version. (The agenda came to us as two pages, so we had to cut and paste here.)

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Robert Burns January 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I cannot be there tonight.

I was actively involved in the U.S. West Cellular debacles at the O.B.P.B. when I was a boardmember years ago. Commercial areas are probably better than residential areas and maybe there is technology now to shield people from the microwaves.

I am more interested in the trailer trash project. In my opinion, it should go except on a temporary, emergency basis. This junk impairs coastal parking, access, and aesthetics. There is no weighty need; this is not Benghazi. The City won’t shelter many of the homeless at which the project is aimed. The decrepit lifeguard tower restrooms have no suitable swimsuit changing facility. I say have this type of police officer and their parking enforcement cousins housed with their lifeguard cousins (all three are with the S.D.P.D.) at the lifeguard tower and have them spend some money to make it more suitable to the S.D.P.D. AND upgrade beachgoer facilities. Any City that won’t provide in its beach restrooms an hook upon which to hang a towel or clothes while changing has unclean hands which thus should preclude it from getting any favor esp. one to blight the beachfront parking lot with TRAILER TRASH.


avatar Molly January 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Robert – agree on your criticism of the restrooms. WE all need to keep the pressure on our elected officials on this issue for OB.


avatar joe tucker January 2, 2013 at 4:46 pm

The “Cop Shop” is a useless interfering eyesore. Haul it away.


avatar Deb January 2, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I agree…a trailer does nothing for safety. Cops walking the beat and involved in our community is what is needed Donate the trailer to an organization that can use it or build something that adheres to code just like the rest of us have to do.


avatar mr.rick January 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm

The Police already have their sub-station located in the Lifeguard tower. The only reason to have the trailer in the pier parking lot is for intimidation purposes. They must have lost the glass house or whatever they were using. You’d think the cameras in the tower would suffice, Therefore it has to be a power play.


avatar Pete R January 3, 2013 at 9:56 am

The trailer absolutely has a positive effect on safety in OB. It is not a fully working substation, but that does not mean it is useless. As explained to the public at the Planning Board meeting last night, the trailer provides a place for SDPD officers to complete their required paperwork and use the restroom without having to leave OB – otherwise they would have to return to the Western Division facility in Mission Valley. Having a facility in OB therefore greatly reduces police response time. This alone is a huge benefit.

It is unfortunate that police staffing has been cut in recent years, which has reduced overall use of the trailer because there are fewer cops on the beat. But this is not a reason to abandon the trailer – it is still used today, and as SDPD staffing increases (which the new mayor has promised to do) the trailer’s use will continue to increase.

At the Planning Board meeting last night, the board members acknowledged that the trailer is not ideal, because it is unattractive and obstructs views. But with no other viable site available in the foreseeable future, there really are only two options at this point: keep it (by pursuing the Coastal Development Permit) or remove it.

While there may be longer-term solutions available – such as building a new substation in conjunction with a replacement lifeguard tower – these solutions will require many years to identify funding, obtain permits, and construct the facility. In the meantime, the trailer is there now. It provides tangible benefits to police response time in OB. At this point, keeping the trailer is the best option we have.

Crime has increased in OB recently. Yet the commenters on this site want to remove OB’s only police facility, which will increase police response time… for what? To improve ocean views and free up 4 parking spaces? Is that really the most important thing right now?


avatar unWASHEdWalmaRtthONG January 3, 2013 at 10:54 am

Buy a nicer trailer & move it to the parking lot by the lifeguard station. Paint a mural on it, perhaps a pic of a cop Tazing a 14 year-old surfer.


avatar Frank Gormlie January 3, 2013 at 11:11 am

Hey everyone – I’m about to post my report from last night’s OB Planning Board meeting. It will be up very soon!


avatar obracer January 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm

We can do better than a trailer in a parking lot for our police officers, the organization that pays for the trailer is the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association it is made up of local business & commercial property owners, at least 20 of them attended the planning board meeting, it’s a shame NOT ONE is willing to provide a 10? x 10? office and a restroom, that’s all they need !, yet they find it easy to take parking spaces from their potential customers, create blight & block one of the best views of the surf in Ocean Beach ?

Lt. Stone argued that the trailer needed to stay in the EXACT location or nothing ? this bully in a police uniform is not speaking on behalf of S.D.P.D. she is a puppet for the O.B.M.A. in an S.D.P.D. uniform. Police will respond in a timely manner with or without a trailer.

Jan. 3rd the day after the planning board meeting Asst. Chief Long & others walked the parking lots and where shown various alternate locations with existing water and power, the chief agreed that all locations would be considered.
The safety of this community will not be held hostage by the demands of one cop & the O.B.M.A. . The Ocean Beach Planning Board and it’s members are doing a great job of balancing the needs of both residents and police……it helps when people tell the truth and are honest about options.
I leave you with a quote .
“People will hate you, rate you, shake you, and break you. But how strong you stand is what makes you


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