Tom Gawronski Elected as New Chair
By Brittany Bailey / Special to OB Rag
Last’s night’s meeting – of Wed., April 3rd – of the Ocean Beach Planning Board held on the agenda the certification of the March 12 election results, election of board officers, and guest speaker Councilmember Kevin Faulconer.
First, the exciting news:
This year the OBPB tried to remove obstacles to participation by adding options for mail-in and email ballots, which bolstered turnout to 47 voters, two of which were provisional. There were four declared candidates on the ballot at the time of election, and one successful write-in, for a total of five candidates on the ballot.
The new representatives are:
- District 2: Kevin Becker
- District 4: Ronson Shamoun
- District 5: Bill Bushe
- District 6: Tom Gawronski
- District 7: Raeanon Hartigan
Both Propositions Failed
The two propositions on the ballot, one about establishing a maintenance assessment district – failed 65% to 35%, and the other about moving the police trailer to a permanent spot, failed 60% to 40%.
Scott Therkalsen Appointed to District 3
The second item on the agenda was the Scott Therkalsen’s application for the vacant seat in District 3. Therkalsen had termed out on his former seat on the Board, and his appointment for a two-year term for District 3 was approved.
Jane Gawronski’s Farewell Address
Termed out this year was Jane Gawronski, former Chairperson, who was present to make a farewell address in which she emphasized how important the planning board is – that the members who live and work in the community of Ocean Beach can be the community’s voice to the City for land use.
She also noted the Board’s successes with their very first City Council appearance and first CEQA appeal (which will be heard in mid-April). She also thanked Kevin Falconer for his continued support and efforts to listen and advocate for the Board. The OBPB last month received a letter of support from Mayor Filner, which she credits to Councilmember Faulconer’s support.
Election of Officers
Once the election results were certified by the Board, their next step was to elect new officers.
- Tom Gawronski was voted unanimously as Chairperson.
- Pete Ruscitti, who was not present, was nominated and won unanimously as Vice Chair.
- Scott Therkalsen was unanimously voted as Secretary, and
- Barbara Schmidtknecht was retained as Treasurer.
Voice of San Diego and Politifest 2013
Scott Lewis, CEO of Voice of San Diego, was also at the meeting to put the word out about this year’s Politifest. This year – taking a page from Mayor Filner’s playbook – Politifest is focusing on celebrating neighborhoods. Different neighborhood groups will be solicited for ideas and participation, and there will be a $5,000 prize to the winning community group.Politifest will be held this year on August 3rd at Liberty Station.
Kevin Faulconer was present at the meeting to give brief updates as to the goings-on in the community. A brief summary:
- Community Representative Michael Patton will be leaving San Diego for New York this month; Michael has worked hard for Ocean Beach and Point Loma over the last two years and we all wish him luck!
- The Neighborhood Parking Ordinance went to the Land Use and Housing Committee last week and was approved. After the OBPB has a chance to review it, it will head to the full Council for a vote. The ordinance calls for increased parking restrictions on oversize vehicles as part of a pilot program west of the I-5. If successful, the ordinance will like spread city-wide.
- The OB lifeguard station was recently repainted, and Faulconer’s office secured $150k in funding to repave, paint, and install an automatic gate in the parking lot. Longterm, Faulconer hopes to make the area overall more pedestrian friendly.
- The OB Entryway corner, by the OBCDC, has its pedestrian connection to Robb Field design underway.
- Faulconer will be hosting a State of the District Address on April 10th at Paradise Point; contact his office to RSVP.
- Connections Housing in Downtown has officially opened, and is a one stop shop for various services and different types of beds for San Diego’s homeless.
- Faulconer gave a special thanks to Jane Gawronski and Landry Watson, for their efforts to work with his office and the Development Services Department regarding community planning and the issue of variances. He’s been very clear that he wants to follow OB’s community plan (Precise Plan) and Jane and Landry have been at the forefront of a dialogue with the planning department to ensure that this plan is followed.
- In response to a question from Scott Therkalsen, Faulconer stated he would check around about obtaining extra bike racks for beach bike parking.
- The City Council just approved a motion for the City to apply for a Caltrans grant to do a study on the Nimitz intersection; Faulconer is supportive of more bike lanes and education about sharing the road with cyclists.
- Giovanni Ingolia was interested to hear about the mayor’s work on a new policy regarding medical marijuana, and expressed concern that the OBPB should review that policy and give feedback. Faulconer reported that he has been firm in his stance that any new policy will need to go to the community first before being implemented.
Duouma Residence Update: The OBPB’s CEQA appeal will be heard on Monday, April 15th at 2pm. The OBPB encourages community members to come out in support. For more information, contact the OBPB.
New Applications for Board Vacancies: There remain vacancies in Districts 1, 3, and 7. Two candidates have stepped forward for the remaining vacancies on the Board: Janice Quon and Andrew Waltz. They will be working on their appointment applications, which includes gathering 35 signatures for support.