Report on Ocean Beach Town Council Meeting: Oversized Vehicle Ordinance, New Area Police Captain, and New Community Garden?

by on April 1, 2013 · 18 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach

 By Brittany Bailey / Special to the OB Rag

On Wednesday night, March 27,  at the monthly OB Town Council meeting, local community members had the opportunity to hear updates and ask questions directly from their city representative, Councilmember Kevin Faulconer.

Faulconer gave brief updates on the status of the pilot program he is proposing that will restrict the parking of oversized vehicles in the beach areas. Called the Neighborhood Parking Protection or the Oversized Vehicle Ordinance, it proposes to restrict vehicles more than 7 feet tall and 22 feet in length from parking overnight on city streets between the hours of 10pm-6am.

Residents and their guests who wish to park overnight may obtain 72 hour permits to do so.  Planning Board member Giovanni Ingolia asked if the ordinance will go to the OB Planning Board for review, and Faulconer stated it is their intention that the OBPB review the ordinance, which is now published online on the City’s website.

Others news from Faulconer’s office include improvements to the Ocean Beach lifeguard station and updates on the OB entryway project. Faulconer has obtained funding to re-paint the lifeguard station [editor: to fund the recent re-paint job], parking lot, and add an automatic gate to restrict thoroughfare through the lifeguard’s parking lot. Prompted by a question from the audience, Faulconer clarified the gate was requested by the lifeguards due to a few close calls. Eventually, Faulconer would like to see a pedestrian walkway alongside the lifeguard station to create a safe path for families to travel without walking through the parking lot.

Regarding the OB entryway, the entryway project is in its design phase and construction is scheduled to begin this Fall.

While not currently in his district, Faulconer was also happy to announce the recent opening of Connections Housing Project located downtown, which provides wraparound services for the homeless, a project for which Faulconer advocated strongly.

In addition, Councilmember Faulconer will be holding a State of the District Address on April 10th at Paradise Point. To RSVP, email or call (619) 236-6622.

County Supervisor Ron Roberts’ representative, Sterling McHale, also gave a brief update. Last week, County Supervisors Greg Cox and Ron Roberts put together a board letter regarding the homeless and HUD funding. As you may have recently heard, San Diego has been ranked as having the 3rd largest homeless population in the country, while on ranking 18th in terms of funding received. As McHale explained, the problem is that the funding is based on an archaic formula that doesn’t take into account the hard population numbers.

The County is also having a lawnmower event on May 11th at Qualcomm, where residents can trade in their old lawnmowers and receive a new Black & Decker model, as part of the County’s ongoing efforts to improve the air quality in San Diego, which is at its highest since measurements started 55 years ago.

 Shea Benton from Congressman Scott Peter’s office was also present to give a quick update regarding a congressional art contest for high schoolers. Submissions are due to Peters’ office by April 19th. Winners will be chosen by a panel of five local artists and will be displayed in D.C. for one year after the contest. Congressman Peters’ also held a successful Congress On Your Corner event in Coronado a couple weeks ago and his next stop is Ocean Beach on April 20th. A location has not been decided yet.

Deputy City Attorney Paige Hazard was also on hand to remind residents encourage residents to call things in, be good witnesses, and make reports to help their office in their goal of a crime-free neighborhood.

Community Relations Officer David Surwilo was present to make his community report:

  • An arrest was made after a woman was assaulted and called for help. Her neighbors heard her and came running out and gave foot chase to the suspect. The neighbors were able to provide a description, the suspect was caught, and was arraigned on 3/26.
  • On 3/26 a marijuana-filled boat washed up near Sunset Cliffs and was taken into custody.
  • On 3/26, a man tripped and fell down Sunset Cliffs. Police scrambled down and were able to secure him, but the situation was too precarious to put him on a litter and he was life lighted out.
  • In response to criticism last Fall that police were not keeping the public informed regarding slate of sexual assaults plaguing the OB community, the police department has created Facebook pages for each division where they aggregate news posts as relevant to each community.
  • OB residents are reminded to be good witnesses if you see a crime by getting good descriptions of the perpetrator – clothing, hair, vehicle, tattoos, etc. If you can from a safe vantage point, a picture from your cell phone works as well.
  • There will be a Drug Takeback Day on Saturday, April 27th as a safe way to dispose of expired or no longer needed prescription drugs. The County also has a year-round drop box open 8am-5pm, located at their administrative offices at 1600 Pacific Highway.
  • To report suspicious activity, please call the police department: 911 – Emergencies or Crimes in Progress,  (619)531-2000 – non-emergency line

Officer David Surwilo also introduced Captain Andy Mills, who will be taking over command in this area. Captain Mills is a resident of Bird Rock and has lived in San Diego for thirty years. He is happy to be in a beach community again and states that it is important in this division and community to have a high quality of life. He’ll be taking a look at our neighborhood problems, analyzing them, and coming up with solutions as soon as possible. He’ll be walking through neighborhoods next Tuesdays at 1pm starting at OB Main Street and wants to hear directly from residents and business owners. He wants community members to have direct access to him in order to achieve our common goals of making OB safe. He can be reached at

Second Community Garden ?

OBTC also hosted guest speaker Charles Cairns, a local community member currently looking into establishing a second community garden.

Charles is in the beginning phases of his project, discussing options with Parks & Rec. There are many site guidelines to establishing a community garden and he is currently considering a site at the far end of Robb Field. Anyone interested in collaborating should contact Charles at

 Committee and Liaison Reports:

  • Community Events, Brennan Bazar: There will be a golf tournament on April 28th to benefit Silvergate Elementary, and the Annual Chili Cook Off and Street Fair will be held this year on June 22nd.
  • Membership, Gretchen Newsom: This month has seen a spike in new members due to the OB Entryway Sign Contest. Gretchen reports 23 new members in March alone.
  • OB Planning Board, Giovanni Ingolia: The OBPB just had their elections and everyone who ran won. The two propositions – regarding the creation of a Maintenance Assessment District and the removal of the police trailer in the pier parking lot – both failed. Councilmember Kevin Faulconer will be attending the next OBPB to give updates.
  •  Community Enhancement, Jim Musgrove: The placard on the back of the Dog Beach announcement board has been replaced. The OB Entryway Design Contest is still in progress.
  • OBCDC, Steve Grosch: The Veterans Plaza project is moving forward. The second public workshop will be held April 30th at 6:30pm.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Tyler April 1, 2013 at 11:51 am

Cheers to the Oversized Vehicle Ordinance. Enough is enough. March rolls in and all of the sudden we have dozens of RVs parked everywhere. 22 feet doesn’t do it justice, in my opinion. What about all the 10-20 foot boats and wave runner trailers parked all over? I shouldn’t have to compete for parking with watercraft.


avatar John April 4, 2013 at 2:35 am

In a way I have to agree, but in the current economic situation isn’t this both a little heartless as well as NIMBY denialism? This will just push the problem elsewhere. As someone who had to live out of my car for a few months in the ’80’s I can say the reason to be by a beach is so you can take a dip in the ocean, use the bathroom and shower afterwards.
People who live in their vans and RVs won’t disappear just because we want them too. Though of course I don’t want them taking parking spots any more than the next resident. How about letting them have the parking lots back? Now that alcohol is banned there shouldn’t be such a problem. Better idea: have the city sell $5 a night permits and they can stay all night in the lots. Bet we can get rid of that budget deficit quick between the permits and citing violations of same. A graveyard shift of meter maids to go with it.
Yes, I’ve been sniffing glue.


avatar Smitty April 1, 2013 at 7:53 pm

What Tyler said. RV’s, boats, trailers, abandoned vehicles, expired plates do not belong on the streets.

Time the owners got a storage unit, you could afford to buy the boat, you can afford to store it elsewhere.


avatar lyn April 2, 2013 at 6:55 am

Thanks for the updates. Any news on the Apple Tree property? Really, really need a grocery store!


avatar Frank Gormlie April 2, 2013 at 10:55 am

The “For Lease” sign is still up, displayed very prominently.


avatar Brittany Bailey April 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

I believe Councilmember Faulconer said his office has spoken to the property owner to encourage them to lease to another grocery store, but I don’t think there’s been any real development on the issue.


avatar OB Jamie April 3, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Got 50k month for the rent? It can be yours!


avatar Gretchen Kinney Newsom April 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Just wanted to pass along a note of appreciation to the OB Rag for Brittany Bailey’s article on our OBTC meeting – thank you for your thoroughness and for sharing these details with our community!


avatar Brittany Bailey April 3, 2013 at 9:46 am

Thank you, Gretchen, and thank the OBTC for running the meeting so efficiently! You guys are a well-oiled machine!


avatar OB Joe April 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Brittany is a good writer, editordude, so keep her on staff.


avatar Brittany Bailey April 3, 2013 at 9:46 am

Thank you :)


avatar editordude April 2, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Gretchen and OB Joe: Thank you and yes, Brittany is a damn good writer, and as soon as our tech desk gets to the work order, she’ll be made an “author”.

We do pay some of our writers/ bloggers stipends for their contributions. And we’re always looking for locales who can share their thoughts or observations or research or photos or poetry about OB and beyond …. contact us at


avatar Catherine April 5, 2013 at 2:49 pm

There is already a pedestrian path along the lifeguard station. Actually there are two, one on either side. People are just lazy and want to walk wherever they want. Glad to hear about the new community relations officer. I would like to talk to him about the problem with illegal fireworks in our community all summer and the particularly mad, fireworks lawlessness that happens on July 4th. Didn’t get a very satisfying response to my complaint from Officer Surwilo last year.


avatar John April 7, 2013 at 7:09 am

Unless you can identify a repeat offender in a stationary location (like you have a neighbor doing it regularly and has lots more laying around) there isn’t a lot they CAN do. Think about it, some hooligans go to the beach at night, have a little party by the beach, light off a few skyrockets… you call the police, by time they arrive 2 hours later the people have gone. You can’t expect them to race here with lights and siren on, in minutes? To them it’s low priority, low arrest and conviction rate. I don’t like it either, but every time I hear a boom I can’t finger who did it or where it came from, can you? Think the cops can an hour or two later?
Just one of those things, figure between Darwin’s theory and the statistical averages, people doing it enough eventually blow off a few fingers. Makes it damn hard to flick that bic.


avatar Catherine April 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Well, no, obviously it’s impossible to identity the perpetrators on any random night. that’s why I don’t bother reporting it to the police. It drives me bananas all summer, but I’m not sure what the solution is. Frankly, I think we’re far too permissive about the behavior we tolerate in the neighborhood and that’s why this kind of behavior goes on that we can do nothing about. But, on the Fourth of July, when people are setting off firecrackers directly in front of the police “watch tower” next to the lifeguard station, and the police ignore this situation, then I have a problem. They could easily walk over and issue a citation. I know it’s a buzz kill, but it’s illegal because it’s dangerous. Last year, I was walking home with my then 8-month-old child when a fire cracker exploded less than 10 feet from us. I was pretty sure it was a couple of punks across the street and nearly blew my lid and confronted them when my husband stopped me. Probably wise. I reported all this to Officer Surwilo afterwards and asked why the police didn’t do anything to stop this activity, which I believe contributes to a generally unsafe wildness in the hood. Doubt I’ll go anywhere near the pier/beach this July 4th, and that’s a shame. Isn’t it supposed to be a community event? All Surwilo could say is that the event was a great success since there were no “major incidents” and that I should have called the police and reported it. Yes, that makes so much since for me to stand on the street with my infant at 10pm in an atmosphere I find frightening to wait for the police so I can tell them that a couple of criminals who’ve already run off threw firecrackers at me. They could do nothing, but I doubt they would have done a thing anyway had they even been there to witness it. I asked Surwilo why I should go to that trouble for nothing when the police were ignoring illegal fireworks happening in their own plain view all night? He never responded. Based on his no “major incidents” comment, I can only assume that the police expect a certain wild, petty lawlessness in OB and figure as long as nobody is murdered, no buildings are burned down and there’s no riot, then it’s all good.


avatar John April 9, 2013 at 3:34 am

All of that is essentially why, despite my backyard having a patio with a gate opening onto Dog Beach park, (I am sandwiched between the first and a planned McMansion on Gentrification Blvd, stoically accepting progress) I close the blinds and just mellow out in peace every fourth now. Batten down the hatches and ride it out, as it were.
I used to be all into it, then about a dozen years ago or so I had a party, a couple kegs, a friend’s competent band. Mostly people I knew, tried to keep it on the patio and the house locked.
Some late teenage gang banger girl and her boyfriend got in, went in my spare bedroom workshop, and started huffing paint. And spraying it.
Covered two rooms of the house, the walls, furniture, my big screen TV, all with red. I went in and saw the fog a few minutes later, went out on the patio, and just like you see on COPs when they get a midnight burglar outside Home Depot, she’s standing there with red paint all over her mouth and nose, glazed eyes, “I ain’t been huffin’ no paint, honest!” I told them to leave and her little 98 lb boyfriend took a swing at me.
My friends escorted the both of them out of Ocean Beach before I did something that would get me a long prison stay.
I never had a party again.


avatar Catherine April 9, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Yikes! That’s quite a story.


avatar Gloria Easter April 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Good that the lifeguard station is one of their priorities. Most beaches that I have gone to have lifeguard stations that are quite old and neglected. Lifeguard equipments are outdated and some are not functioning anymore. I think they should not make life harder for lifeguards because their tasks are not easy. Lifeguarding is a noble job.


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