City planning staff last night presented the Ocean Beach Planning Board with copies of the brand new Draft Ocean Beach Community Plan Update. Maxx Stalheim, senior planner, handed out the update to members of the Board only, saying that the public will have access to it by July 20th and possibly earlier.
Stalheim, leading off with a quote from the Grateful Dead “what a strange trip this has been”, briefly described the 11 year process that the City has been engaged in in rewriting the OB Precise Plan. Workshops were held in the community in 2002, and member of OB’s planning experts have been involved all that time – particularly Mindy Pellesier – a past president of the Planning Board and long-time member, and George Murphy, another long-time member.
“Tonight is a milestone in the process,” Stalheim said. In describing the end product, Stalheim, declared that the updated plan was “fundamentally a new document”, as it has been entirely rewritten by different city departments. For instance, the recreational element was revised by the City Park and Rec Department. The mobility element was written and revised by the Traffic Division.
A major theme, Stalheim said, from community input and the workshops was to enhance and maintain current development patterns in OB. He described some of the highlights of the Draft plan:
- There is a new facilities financing section to help guide planners in determining public facility funding;
- OB has been “park-deficient” over the years, and earlier the City determined that the neighborhood was 40 acres deficient in terms of size and population. The new draft includes the use of “equivalencies” – like cliff trails and “comfort stations” (read restrooms) that reduce the deficiency, and now it’s down to only 18 acres.
- Another highlight is within the urban design element, that addresses the City issuing questionable variances to home builders along West Pt Loma Blvd. The new plan has tools to evaluate development projects to determine if a project is in compliance with the Precise Plan.
- The update ensures that new development will not destroy view corridors, particularly along the public right-of-way along streets.
- It also shores up the OB Historic Cottage enhancements.
Stalheim said that there are no new land use designations and no new zoning. There are minor changes he said within the Voltaire and Point Loma Ave commercial districts, and there are a few pockets – like in south OB – that need to have some zoning changes to ensure consistency throughout the project area.
Schedule for Approval of Plan Update Draft
Maxx Stalheim, the senior planner, outlined the following schedule to follow the draft plan all the way to City Council approval and Coastal Commission authorization:
June 20 – San Diego Planning Commission workshop;
July 3 – Draft returns to OB Planning Board for questions and okay to release it to the public;
July 12 – Draft update will be online and available in library for public review;
Sept 26 – Meeting with Historic Review Board
Oct 17 – Back to the Planning Commission for final approval by them
Oct 30 – Goes to the City Council Land Use Committee
Nov 19 – City Council approval
Feb- March 2014 – Certification by Coastal Commission
It was also stated that the new draft plan update will be available and accessible to the public as early as June 14 via the city planning department, and that it will attached for review to the update committee’s report to the Planning Commission on June 20th. It was also announced that the OB Town Council will also have it available on their website some time in the near future. It was also mentioned that perhaps the Planning Board will put it up on their website as well.
OB Planners Review Set for July 3
So, the OB planners will study and review the document over the next month and return with questions, comments, concerns and issues on July 3rd at their monthly meeting next month. City planners are not looking for approval at that time as the update plan will not have been made officially available to the public by then.
One board member did say that he didn’t see the specific language regarding paid parking that the Board had considered in the new draft.
After Stalheim had made his pitch and sat down, the entire room broke into applause for Mindy for all her time and dedication over this past decade and more working on the plan update.