Board Requires Corporate Applicant to Return in 90 Days With Information on Planned Alcohol Sales to Neighborhood
By Stephanie Denton / Special to the OB Rag
The monthly OB Planning Board meeting – Wednesday, Nov. 6th – brought out dozens of locals and it was standing-room only in the meeting room of the OB Rec Center as the Board’s agenda included topics which have caused a stir.
CVS Pharmacy’s Alcohol Permit Application
The hottest topic of the evening was the alcohol permit application by CVS Pharmacy which plans to move into the former Apple Tree Market on 4949 Santa Monica Avenue. After a presentation by the CVS rep and after numerous speakers asked the Board to deny the application, the Board decided to delay their decision and give CVS 90 days in which to present more information regarding alcohol and the neighborhood.
This most coveted topic regarding the CVS Pharmacy Alcoholic Beverage Control License Type 21 was presented by CVS Program Developer Tom Wilheim. OB has a history of limiting its liquor licenses, as the community does not want to be known just for its alcohol consumption options.
During a Q & A, Board Member John Ambert of District 1 presented the crime map for the month of October 2013 for all activities within a 1 mile radius of the projected CVS location. The crime map revealed that over 1/3 of the crimes listed are alcohol related, mostly open containers and minors in possession of alcohol.
When asked what percentage of their sales will go to alcohol the CVS rep responsed that it is “unknown” as each location is unique to the sales of the neighborhood they reside in.
Wilheim went on to report that CVS does want to compete with local business with the lower prices that they can offer when compared to a non corporate local business. This comment sent the room into a bustle of commentary between the folks who came out for the meeting.
CVS also reported that the current building where Appletree was would need many upgrades to meet the grocery standards – which could have something to do with why a grocer hasn’t taken up the space as of yet.
On the issue of jobs being offered to the community, CVS had been asked at the previous meeting how many jobs this CVS market would offer to OB and did not have a firm answer then. At this meeting they did; it was reported that CVS would be offering 20-30 new jobs.
Residents of OB who came out to the meeting were largely against CVS coming into our neighborhood. A community member who claimed 135 years of family residence within Ocean Beach stated that “we have enough alcohol being sold throughout Ocean Beach” and that this CVS “is the end of the community as we know it.”
OB Town Council President Gretchen Kinney Newsom also made a plea to the board not to approve the liquor license as CVS would not be providing fresh food that suits our community and that CVS does not offer any new benefit to the community.
The former owner of Appletree was present at the meeting and stated that if the CVS is approved there “will be a new Appletree” that he will open on Newport Avenue, but he had no further details. Board member John Ambert responded that this is “extortion” as the owners statement of bringing back a grocery store to the neighborhood was being held over the Board and based on their vote of approval of the CVS Alcohol License.
In the end, the Board voted to delay for 90 days their approval or denial as they requested to have CVS present them with more information regarding the permit. The board requests that more research on the neighborhood be presented and reported on by February of next year. (After the Board meeting, I followed up with a couple of Board members and they weren’t quite sure of what just happened, but knew bottom line the project was tabled for at least 90 more days.)
Steve Grosch of the OB CDC (Community Development Corporation) presented the updated plans for the Veterans Plaza which was unanimously approved by the Board.
The plan has incorporated the ideas of the community through 2 workshops earlier this year and has reflected the ideas presented in their new plan. There were two plans assessed and commented on the by the community at these workshops.
The rebuilt Veteran Plaza will remain in the park off of Abbot and Newport, however it will be moved much closer to the Lifeguard station. The current flagpole will be incorporated within the new memorial entitled “Life Journey” as well as the plaques and rock of the current memorial
The board suggested a review of the materials to be used, requesting that it not be overly colorful. The 84 names on the current memorial have become worn by sand and wind which the creators of the new memorial have taken into account. The new memorial will place the names of the Vets away from the elements which wore the previous memorial down. Knowing that OB attracts folks who wish to reside in the shadows, the OBCDC reported that the space would be well lit throughout the night and may even include foliage which is not easily habitable.
The board inquired about the materials used and whether it will attract skateboarders. Grosch reported that the concrete to be used will not be skateboard friendly, stating that the concrete will not be smooth or desirable by skateboarders.
The cost of the Plaza will be just under $800,000. A public participant in the meeting volunteered $500 towards the project, as the Plaza will be built off of donations and grants. This was obviously well received by Grosch on behalf of the OBCDC.
Next on the agenda are the two permits Verizon is seeking approval for so that they may replace the existing antennas at 2229 Bacon Street as well as 1711 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. In the previous presentation of this application by Verizon the board asked that the plans be sure to not alter the aesthetics of both buildings. Verizon presented plans that ensure that the integrity of the buildings will not be compromised if they upgrade their antennas with new materials, and that the aesthetics will be kept the same as requested by board member Raeanon Hartigan. This application was unanimously approved.
The owner of the BBQ House presented their application for Coastal Development Permit to the board. The BBQ House will be expanding its business into the old Cow Record store which will double their size. At the previous meeting in October the board requested that the BBQ House include plans for dog access to their patio, as they are a dog friendly establishment. These plans were submitted, with access for dogs on the patio included.
The board clarified with the owner of the BBQ House that the name of their establishment will not be changing from the BBQ House to The End Zone. It was stated that the name The End Zone was possibly going to be the new name for the infamous OB bbq spot, however is now just the name of the project, the owners are keeping their well known name the same. The board unanimously approved this application.
As the meeting carried well beyond the time allotted, the Chair announcements/correspondences/meetings were not presented tonight.