Local Press Playing Catch-Up
Finally, some of San Diego’s mainstream media have discovered the battle over the Ocean Beach Community Plan. The U-T San Diego ran two versions basically of the same article by reported David Garrick on June 28 and 29, quoting Pete Ruscitti, the OB planning chair, and Gretchen Newsom, the head of the OB Town Council. Here is the lede:
O.B. RESIDENTS FIGHT SOFTER BUILDING RULES
OCEAN BEACH — Worried that a new community plan for Ocean Beach could destroy the area’s small-scale charm, more than 2,000 residents have signed petitions this month asking the city to maintain building restrictions that date back four decades.
The residents say loosening the rules would transform their community into Mission Beach or Pacific Beach, where three-story vacation rentals have replaced small cottages and other less intense housing in many areas.
The controversy began in late May when the San Diego Planning Commission sided with a group of property owners over Ocean Beach residents by unanimously voting to soften anti-development language in the area’s proposed community plan update. …
Ocean Beach residents and merchants overwhelmingly supported that language, with every community and business group endorsing the proposed community plan update until the amendments suggested May 29 by the Planning Commission.[For more.]
Coastal Commission Curveball: Ocean Beach’s Community Plan Update Stalled
The San Diego City Council postponed action for at least a month on an updated Ocean Beach community plan – already a dozen years in the making – after the California Coastal Commission recommended 43 changes.
The revised plan, which covers zoning, design and community character issues specifically for Ocean Beach, is one of many for San Diego neighborhoods that have been bogged down over the years and are just heading toward adoption.
One recent update, by Barrio Logan, was set aside following an organized campaign by waterfront businesses that led voters to strike it down in June. [For more.]
All well and good, until the Times weakened their analysis:
“The Planning Commission proposed alternate language that some community activists fear will weaken the intention to reduce the number of variances.”
“Some community activists”? How about 3,000 – that’s the number of OBceans and San Diegans who have signed the Petition in Support of the OB Community Plan.
And just recently, OB’s own Ed Decker of San Diego CityBeat weighed in with his wit:
Ocean Beach would prefer not to be cornholed – Funky community’s residents don’t live in Pacific Beach for a reason
On June 14, I received an email from Frank Gormlie, publisher of the OB Rag, asking Ocean Beach residents to sign a petition because the city of San Diego has been allowing certain beachfront property owners to build larger houses than Ocean Beach permits.
I saw that email and thought, Bollocks on that! As a longtime Ocean Beach resident and property owner, I’m in love with the Ocean Beach mystique. And these large houses are blocking views of the beach and inconsistent with the OB aesthetic. Why on Earth would we want to turn this neighborhood into another Denny’s- and Dominoes-dominated, Fartburger-franchising, one-hundred-and-eleven-7-Eleven-having, no-beach-seeing, mom-and-pop-shop massacre that is Pacific Beach?
About a week later, I received more bad news in a letter from Attorney David Stebbins.
“Recently during a community plan update a small group of individuals attempted to restrict your ability to rehab or rebuild your property by restricting or eliminating the variance process.” [For more.]
Decker’s great parting shot:
Part of the charm of OB—the thing that makes us different—is our commitment, nay, ferocious devotion to our retro aura and attitude, historical buildings, mom-and-pop shops and all the funky, whacked-out residents and small-time property owners who may not own property at the ocean but sure have as much right as anyone else to see it.