On Wednesday, Dec. 4, a hearing by an officer of the San Diego Planning Commission ruled that the City does not have to remove the so-called police trailer from the parking lot at the OB Pier.
The hearing was held to make a judgement on whether the City of San Diego had to comply with a violation that the California Coastal Commission slapped on the trailer and its owners back in July of this year. The police trailer is owned by the City and supported by the OB Mainstreet Association as a deterrent to drug dealing and other anti-social behavior. Others call it an eyesore and an unnecessary structure that takes away parking and blocks view.
Some residents and merchants in OB have been split on this issue of the police trailer since at least all of this century.
The decision that the City did not have to remove the temporary structure was based, according to an observer, on some questionable determinations that the Commission made. The Commission determined that no public views were obstructed. City project manager Helene Deischer testified in person and in a written report to the hearing officer that no public views are blocked.
A second questionable determination was that the trailer did not take any public beach parking – based apparently on a technicality, that according to city code those 4 spaces occupied by the trailer are not “required parking” – allowing the City to do with them as they please, like having a trailer.
Both the current community plan and the new update clearly state that here is an obvious shortage of parking for both locals and visitors, in fact it’s described as ” the most pressing issue in O.B. ” ( OBPB page 72 ) in regards to transportation.
Here is the Coastal Commission violation notice:
On July 25th the Coastal Commission issued violation notice V-6-11-007 to Dan Daneri, City of San Diego District Manager Park & Rec. for two major violations of the California Coastal Act of 1976.
1. PARKING violation notice :
Pursuant to Section 126.0708 (a)(1) of the City’s Land Development Code, when reviewing a coastal development permit application, the City must make findings that the proposed coastal development will not encroach upon any existing physical accessway that is legally used by the public.
This requirement of the review process This requirement of the review process applicable to CDP applications further supports the notion that a Coastal Development is necessary for the subject trailer because it encroaches upon a physical accessway that’s legally used by the public both to park their cars and·access the sandy beach areas of Ocean Beach.
2. Blocking View – Section 30251 California Coastal Act Act of 1976 (California Public Resources Code §30000 et seq.) establishes policies guiding development and conservation along the California coast. Section 30001 of the Coastal Act finds:
(a) That the California coastal zone is a distinct and valuable natural resource of vital and enduring interest to all the people and exists as a delicately balanced ecosystem.
(b) That the permanent protection of the state’s natural and scenic resources is a paramount concern to present and future residents of the state and nation.
(c) That to promote the public safety, health, and welfare, and to protect public and private property, wildlife, marine fisheries, and other ocean resources, and the natural environment, it is necessary to protect the ecological balance of the coastal zone and prevent its deterioration and destruction.
(d) That existing developed uses, and future developments that are carefully planned and developed consistent with the policies of this division, are essential to the economic and social well-being of the people of this state and especially to working persons employed within the coastal zone.
According to the California Coastal Act Policy 30251, the scenic and visual qualities of coastal areas shall be considered and protected as resources of public importance.
Permitted development shall be sited and designed to protect views to and along the ocean and scenic coastal areas to minimize the alteration of natural land forms, to be visually compatible with the character of surrounding areas, and, where, feasible, to restore and enhance visual quality in visually degraded areas.
According to the California Coastal Act (Article 6, §30251), new development in highly scenic areas such as those designated in the California Coastline Preservation and Recreation Plan prepared by the Department of Parks and Recreation and by local government shall be subordinate to the character of its setting.
The coastal commission violation explains several times in detail to code enforcement how the city is in violation of it’s own codes and the Coastal Act.
Opponents of the decision have ten days with which to file an appeal to be heard by the full Planning Commission.