Editor: As we continue in our series looking at the different districts within the Ocean Beach Planning Area, today we settle in District 4 – the Hub of OB. (Here’s a look at District 1, District 2 and District 3. Here’s why it’s important.)
District 4 – The Center of the Village – the Hub of OB
It’s easy to see why District 4 is indeed the center and hub of the community of Ocean Beach. Just look at a map and you’ll see that the business district and the main beach are both in this district.
Downtown OB – the 3 commercial blocks of Newport Avenue and the adjacent side streets – is certainly the center of the community, no matter how you measure it. Traffic, pedestrians, events, happenings, music, food – and of course drink – it all happens right there.
And then there’s the beach itself – the natural draw of the community on any summer day and on many other days as well.
One of the larger districts within the planning boundaries of OB, District 4 is the only one of the seven that stretches from the beach – the natural western boundary – all the way to Froude Street, the eastern boundary.
The northern boundary is the alley between Saratoga to the south and Cape May to the north. The district’s own southern boundary is the alley between Niagara and Newport – so, the district does not include the entire business district centered on Newport Avenue.
Internal to the district, Sunset Cliffs Boulevard cuts the eastern third off – and provides the border between the more dense and congested area of OB with the lesser dense area.
The district has all the streets that run generally north and south: Abbott, Bacon, Cable, Sunset Cliffs, Ebers and Froude – and the well-traveled streets of Santa Monica and Saratoga.
This district is the only district that has substantial representatives of the three major types of zoning: commercial, the zone that allows for apartments, and the zone that allows mainly for single-family homes.
There is a substantial distinction between the housing west of Sunset Cliffs and those residences east of the busy boulevard. The west portion allows for apartments and a higher density. And with the apartments come curb-cuts, higher demand for parking, and a higher concentration of people.
On the east side, it’s mainly single-family homes. Although there are quite a few cottages and small, older homes on the west side. And there’s plenty of second residences built behind the front, older one. But, the area on the east side is just a slower paced neighborhood, less-congested, less parking issues.
The higher you go up the hill, of course, the more you find upscale, larger homes, many of them have been rehabbed.
Government Facilities in District
By far most of the government facilities in OB are within this district, from the federal Post Office branch to the Lifeguard station, the OB Library, the Rec Center, the OB Park next to it, Bob Kinney Field and the OB Elementary School.
Along the 4700 block of Santa Monica is a kids’ universe, with the school, private non-profits for children across the street, the various parks and ball fields.
Also the district includes of course, the beach, Saratoga Park, the two parking lots – but not the OB Pier – that’s in District 5, and receives most of the attention from government.
The Feds, the City and the School District all have money flowing into this area – and all their employees enjoy the business district.
District Impacted by Tourists and Construction Projects
Most of the churches in OB are within this district. As are most of the tattoo parlors and bars.
Because of the beach and the businesses, many of the tourists and visitors to the community end up in District 4. So, traffic congestion is high during the season and during Farmers Market days, and parking is impossible on summer days. Crowds are busy, noise is up, and litter is down – in the gutter or on the sidewalk.
All the problems and factors associated with the restaurants and bars in the district have a huge impact; they bring in much of the outside money flowing into OB for food, drink and entertainment; many people are employed in this industry, the bar-restaurant industry in OB, and many spend money here and even live here.
Yet, those problems linger too. The public intoxication and urination. The staggering numbers of available drinking pubs is amazing on that last block of Newport. Counting bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, we counted eleven establishments on just that one block. And then just a half block away on either side, and up the block, there’s at least another seven. That’s 18.
So, in short, the residents and property owners of District 4 are impacted by the thousands of visitors and tourists who pour into the area, drink, eat and go to the beach. More so than other districts, if you think about the market days, the music events, etc.
Of course, many locals go to the main business area, as its a natural draw for everyone – “the hub”.
We also have to note that District 4 is also the hub of OB’s art and music scene, with several live music venues, an alternative theater, murals and a couple of coffeehouses.
Many locals also know that on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue in the district is one of the best local stands of majestic Torrey Pines towering over their human inhabitants and their humble abodes.
District Has Empty Seats on the OB Planning Board
District 4 has two representatives on the OB Planning Board and by coincidence, both seats are empty at the moment. The Board is having its annual election on March 11th. Any OB resident, property owner or business owner can take part.
Join us for a tour around the district….
There’s slope to the hill in District 4.
Congestion is quite evident if you look for it.
Many apartments mean many renters.
Upstairs units, above garages, new paint jobs, …
This is District 4. The Hub of OB.