OB Needs to Turn Out for Ocean Park Villas Review at Ocean Beach Planning Board Wednesday

by on November 1, 2011 · 18 comments

in California, Environment, Ocean Beach, Popular, San Diego

Wednesday night, November 2nd, at the OB Recreation Center, the Ocean Beach Planning Board will formally review the plans for the Ocean Park Villas project, slated for the corner of Abbott and Saratoga.

This is the project that recently went before the California Coastal Commission where three OB Planning Board members spoke and convinced them to send the project back to Ocean Beach for a public review.  This decision was seen as a victory for community planning – although it may be short lived. The Commission’s staff had recommended approval of the plans – despite substantial changes from the original and the lack of any public review process by either Ocean Beach or San Diego for that matter.

Wednesday night’s review will be the very first formal review of the project’s plans by the entire OB Planning Board.  The Project Review Committee had seen the plans at that meeting back in mid-October.  (A full set of plans in PDF format are available for download)

OBcians, local property owners, and merchants are urged to attend this hearing for a number of reasons. First, to review the project’s changes from the original. Second, to celebrate the victory by the planners in obtaining a continuance from the Coastal Commission. And third, to see up close what is probably going to be the reality at that corner of the community’s waterfront.

The Planning Board meeting begins promptly at 6:00 pm at the Rec Center, located at 4726 Santa Monica Ave.  Here is the agenda:

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

beach head November 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm

It looks nice.


Kenloc November 2, 2011 at 9:02 am

Judging from the comments in the last article, the stance is going to be “stop this no matter what the building looks like”. Which is kind of like saying “leave it the way it is”. Is that what the board wants? To keep the run down old Hodads building there? How is that benefiting your community? Perhaps the anti-developer sentiment clouds judgment sometimes……


OB law(yer) November 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Again with the red herrings… It isn’t any fault of the Planning Board that a landlord choses to either improve or not improve a property. To imply that the board has only the choice of a run-down building OR to allow an applicant to circumvent the law is completely disingenuous.

The applicant possesses at this time a completely legal permit to build a completely compliant building at this location.

They are requesting an amendment to circumvent the parking requirements and their only justification is…..well, we don’t want to pay for the LEGAL design.

The board members should stand strong tonight and vote NO to this project. It’s kind of like saying “Why don’t you follow the law that the rest of us complied with?” or maybe… “Why don’t you build what you already have an approval for?”

It is a BAD precedent to allow people to park in the front yard. Leave that for the unincorporated areas out near Salton Sea my friend. or for a community that doesn’t care.

I live in OB….we care about our neighborhood and we don’t like walking down the street looking at walls, fences and cars. We like looking at yards, landscaping, porches and front doors…


Kenloc November 2, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Walked past here an hour ago. I dont see yards,porches or front doors at the sight now,do you? I see walls,fences,cars,a dumpster,and a vacant,rundown building.Beautiful.I live in OB as well.Perhaps we have a different opinion about what makes a neighborhood look nice.
If you walk around OB you can see quite a few buildings that have tandem parking in the front.What is so different about this one? You are making it seem like parking in front of a building is groundbreaking.


OB law(yer) November 3, 2011 at 8:15 am

That site and the sites to which you refer were built prior to the municipal code being updated to what anyone who is familiar with urban planning would consider as best practice…which is — don’t park cars in the front yard, because it disconnects people from the living spaces and quite frankly, looks trashy (technical architect dude term).

Again — The choice of the result of an absentee landlord or breaking the law is a fool’s choice. One that I see you have fallen for over and over in your posts.

On a positive note — looks as if the pressure from the Rag and the Board was successful as I hear that the applicant changed their design to provide parking in a proper manner. I’ll be looking forward to seeing the latest design.

Thanks to the Rag and those people who put pressure on the applicant to conform to the guidelines of good planning unlike Mr loc here who would just as soon have his neighborhood look like a parking lot than stand up for what is right.


Kenloc November 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I am happy a compromise was made on the parking and this project will be moving forward. This will be a great improvement to the area.
OBLaw, while I don’t personally like the look of parking in front of buildings,I don’t see it as out of the ordinary.You keep refering to it as parking in the front yard.The cars are in car ports,with the exception of the 2 near the street.Look at the picture.Your obsession with where people park their vehicles is noted and I hope your life can return to normal now that this huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders.Justice has prevailed! You have saved OB from looking trashy.


OB law(yer) November 4, 2011 at 8:22 am

@Kenloc — Your lack of understanding of both this project and also the basic values of urban planning are duly noted. You can continue with your life of mediocrity and compromise as it were before this project existed as well. If you had made it to even one of the public hearings on this issue, you would know that the picture (to which you refer in your post as current) has been revised 3 times. If you are going to make snarky comments directed at people’s posts (which is your common MO on this blog)…at least have your facts somewhat lined up. It makes your snarkiness more effective if you are actually correct. Otherwise, you just prove to everyone who knows it anyway, how much of an *ss you really are. :)

Glad that you agree with the vocal majority in this case that parking in the front yard is not acceptable and looks “trashy” (your words). Most people do and that is exactly why there is a law preventing that design flaw.

And by the way, it was no compromise met. The applicant conformed exactly to the demands of the law and the board. So yes….justice was served. A wealthy speculative developer who bought a properly approved permit with entitlements with the intention of cheating the law to make more profit by circumventing the law was thwarted by the diligence of the Rag and the watchful eye of the people of this community. And ultimately, the City was thwarted from disregarding its parking policies in its continued campaign to cowtow to the desires of the development industry to reduce parking requirements seen as a the largest obstacle to development in San Diego (by the industry). Most communities are diametrically opposed to this position.

Yes… I agree, that is definately a success for the community. But don’t worry, it won’t be long before the City makes another attempt at either the parking or the FAR guidelines of our community. Maybe then, you could attend a hearing or read the codes which govern this process and stand with us in keeping our community beautiful (the opposite of trashy), instead of just trolling around this site looking to pick fights with the editors of this blog and people smarter than yourself.


Kenloc November 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm

1st,you responded to my comment here,not the other way around.2nd, I own a property on this block and have an interest as to what is being built on it,but not to the point that I’m going to research all building codes,etc. If you feel researching building codes makes you smarter and better than your neighbors than more power to you. I bet you most residents of OB don’t know them,which would make you the smartest guy in town I suppose.
I was wondering when you were going to drop the”I’m smarter than you” bomb.The fact that you need to tell everyone your a lawyer says alot about you.I don’t really see anyone else announcing their level of education and or profession.It kind of makes it seem as though you need to feel superior to others,especially when you specifically label yourself as smarter than someone else.Talk about sounding like an an *ss.(well,you are a lawyer)You kind of sounded like a 6 year old there.Or the fact that you are better than I or anyone who doesn’t attend community planning meetings.Get a life dude.
I would also like for you to point out where I was arguing with the editors of this website. I argue my positions on issues,if you don’t like what I have to say don’t read my comments.


The Mustachioed OBecian November 4, 2011 at 6:47 pm

For some reason, the OB”law(yer)” enjoys making things personal during discussions. The best recourse is to yield a very large path for his ego and smartest-guy-in-the-room complex. Once they get going, there’s no stopping him. He is a “lawyer” afterall and is very familiar with municipal and zoning codes.


OB law(yer) November 7, 2011 at 11:14 am

And what if I am the smartest Gal in the room? Would you yield a wide path to that sir…or would you offer an account or position other than your gender in opposition?

Honestly, I don’t know anything more about the codes than what I’ve bothered to read. My specialty is divorce :) and my credentials are about as thin as your assumptions. Good day to you as well sir.


OB law(yer) November 7, 2011 at 11:11 am

The number one rule of blogging is that the information presented will be checked/balanced by the bloggers themselves.

Whether by complete accident as you indicate or by design, to twist the information as to play upon people’s fears is neither “arguing a position” or presenting facts of the situation, it is simply maninuplation and we’d all be fools to assume it is “just your position”.

You can’t be both protected and pugilist if you are throwing out words in the way you are. If you don’t want to be called out for using words to evoke fear, then don’t do it that way. Make your position in a more positive and favorable manner instead of spreading misinformation or distraction from the true issue.

Internet Trolls and trollike behavior will persistently be met with facts by people who have nothing to hide and no side agenda to pursue. I can’t say that about your posts sir. Over the course of a month, you’ve not made a single position nor passed along any facts to contribute to the discussion, you’ve only attacked people, sentiment and emotions.

Look at your post to this article. There isn’t any fact or position there…just a bunch of words by a playground bully trying to scare people or embarass them into a misinformed position.

I chose to call you out simply to expose you for what you are so that the casual reader of this blog (long gone from this thread by now) has facts and discussion from which to base their opinion or position and not just a bunch of fear mongering and name calling. If you don’t like your position being called out…then make a better position, instead of resorting to name calling and playground rhetoric. Good day sir.


OB law(yer) November 10, 2011 at 10:24 am

Just like a couple of bullys. If you stand up to them, they run and hide. What? No response? I guess that isn’t new since your MO is roll in….make a troll comment…and then run away without actually engaging in the discussion. Just stay long enough to spread a bunch of half truths and gibberish around.

Ok…we’ll see you guys again on some other OB issue and you can bet that if you are trolling around again and trying to start spreading false information and such that I’ll be there to call you on it and ensure that folks get the right information on which to base their opinions instead of your gobbledegook. Good day to you both.


Kenloc November 10, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I just noticed your response on this thread.Keep talking,your just proving our point.


malcolm migacz November 10, 2011 at 11:44 am

i have fond memories of living in that dumpster!


OB law(yer) November 2, 2011 at 3:28 pm

To the board members…who I know read these posts.

Thank you for already approving a project at this location that was in compliance with the SD Muni Code and also somewhat in line with the community plan (despite the 12 units afforded by the vacation of the alley).

You should not be swayed by misguided sentiment painting you as anti-development or more importantly, anti-change for standing up to the new proposal which is clearly in violation of the law as we’ve established it without considering what hardship would establish the need for such a variance/deviation (even if the City doesn’t plan on complying with its own rules).

The applicant has yet to provide any justification as to the hardship of their case other than financial hardship for the complete undergrounding of their parking — which would be appropriate in order for them to “collect” the FAR loophole they are pursuing.

Financial hardship simply isn’t justification for avoiding the law of good planning.

As things stand right now — the applicant bought the rights to the permit which YOU approved and is completely allowed to build in accordance with those entitlements. Congrats again for approving a project in compliance.


danny morales November 2, 2011 at 11:20 pm

This just in…The Ocean Beach Planning Board approved the developer’s proposed amendment by a vote of 9/2. Although most board members were surprised and pleased that the developer met their acid test of code compliance a few were dismayed that the board was sailing into uncharted waters. “We are setting a precedent that will come to bite us in the ass” said Tom Gawronski, one of the two dissenting votes. “We’re letting city staff determine what’s in the code says regarding any given project.”
In spite of a call to have a large community presence at the meeting, there was only one speaker who opposed the project. After board member Barbara Schmidtknecht cavalierly tossed aside the sole community members concerns, the board proceeded to approve the developer’s request for the amendment.


Craig Klein November 3, 2011 at 4:51 pm

As one of the nine planning board members who voted in favor of the project, with the revisions presented at Wednesday nights meeting, I based my decision on the San Diego Land Development Code,which, as an (admittedly very minor league) elected official, I am bound to follow. The sticking point in the prior design (for me) were the five at-grade parking spaces, located partially in the side-yard setback, which clearly violated the Code. The new design dropped the parking spaces to 3’6″ below grade and enclosed them in a car port structure attached by means of a trellis to the main structure. Although this may seem hyper-technical to some, I believe that the new design complies with the Code. More importantly, from a community visual standpoint, the new carport will have a vegetated roof, which from the Abbot Street vantage, will incorporate into the landscaping and be far more visually appealing than seeing a bunch of parked cars. This redesign came directly from the developer responding to criticisms of the planning board regarding the parking in the previously submitted project plans.


Danny Morales November 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Craig- That’s akin to judges saying their decisions are based upon something other than the law! Representatives to the Ocean Beach Planning Board are volunteer stewards of the Ocean Beach Precise Plan which it its own right is bound to follow the municipal code (see SD Council Policy 600-24) Elected ‘officials’ to community planning groups are are not bound by an oath of office and are consequently indemnified by the city. You are bound to follow the municpal code because you are an officer of the court! Nothing more elegant than that. By directing board policy through the myopic lens of the municipal code may be within your own personal power counselor, but it does a grave disservice to our community and the principles of democratic community planning. But don’t take my word for it. Let The People judge for themselves: What have you wrought?


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