During their monthly meeting on July 3rd, the OB Planning Board held a discussion and then voted unanimously to release to the public the new Draft Community Plan Update for Ocean Beach. The Board also announced its ranking of public facilities it wants funded under the new plan.
It was the day before the Fourth of July – which everyone knows is a beeg deal in OB – and the attendance at this meeting was light. The Board – with 14 seats and two vacancies – had problems getting a quorum on Wednesday. Finally, 7 board members were present, and Chair Tom Gawronski continued to conduct the meeting that was to be the first public forum on the new Draft Update.
The audience in the room was fairly sparse also, with only about 20 attending – including an applicant and family, two city planners and two reps of local politicians. Yet, even though it wasn’t standing room only – the meeting did draw the heads or representatives from major community organizations. The president of the OB Town Council, the executive director of the OB Mainstreet Association, a member of the OB Historical Society board and a few other heavy-weights were in the audience.
Before the Board addressed the Community Plan, it had other business to attend to. The owner of property at 4739 Point Loma Ave had applied for a permit to construct a two-story, mixed-used building – next to his other property. He also needed a variance for tandem parking in the rear of the new building. This area is zoned commercial, and the lot, 25 by 125, is to have retail on the first floor and some type of residential on the second – the lot is next to the laundromat. The applicant plans to take out the curb cut along Point Loma Ave, which will result in 3 to 5 new parking spaces along the business street. The floor area ratio of the new building was well under the max allowed, Gawronski stated. The new facade will be the same as the other building.
After some discussion, the Board voted 7 to 0 to approve both the permit and the variance.
Next on the agenda was the report from the public facilities financing sub-committee – newly formed at the request of the City. There was a confusing discussion by some board members on how new units built in OB will be paying into a fund, with how much dependent on the size of the development. At any rate, the sub-committee’s report was put off until the August meeting.
The head of the subcommittee did announce its ranking of public facilities. Number uno on its list is the OB Library; second is the Veterans Plaza at the foot of Newport, and third is the lifeguard station with public restrooms and police sub-station. Other items on the list include traffic controls and cross-walks, and the Saratoga Park upgrade.
As the Board turned to the main agenda item, the Update Draft, Gawronski stated that the community plan update needed to be released that day or it would impact the approval schedule down the road. Plus, Tom led a discussion on whether to hold a town meeting on the plan – which was met with general approval from all around. Dave Martin – head of the Town Council – offered to turn his council’s August meeting over to a town hall type of meeting. Gawronski was open to that idea but also wanted to see if the planners could get the full gym for a meeting. OBceans, then, should expect some kind of meeting then in early to mid-August.
The Board opened up for comments from the audience, and a number of folks offered their critiques of the new Update, including this reporter. Nicole Burgess, Denny Knox, Vince Adame, Kathy Blavatt, and Dave Martin – also all got up and spoke.
After a brief board discussion, Gawronski said that there is no need to go through the plan piece by piece tonight. He asked people in the audience to summit their comments to the board in writing. And the board will then review all the recommendations that people send them in one month – during the August meeting. Comments were requested to be addressed to specific references within the new Update.