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.
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.