Full Report on the Ocean Beach Planning Board General Meeting of August 1st

by on August 2, 2012 · 6 comments

in Organizing, Politics, Popular, San Diego

City Hopes to Install Doors to New Beach Comfort Station Stalls

For Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 6:00 p.m. at the Ocean Beach Recreation Center , 4726 Santa Monica Ave., Ocean Beach.

Treasurer Report

Treasurer Barbara Schmidtknecht reports that there is 255 dollars in the Board’s coffers. It was decided to explore avenues to enhance revenue including approaching several government groups and the OB Town Council.  They will exhaust these avenues before they’d be willing to entertain approaching the OB business community..

Kevin Faulconer Report

Mike Patton, council representative for Kevin Faulconer, reported that the OB entryway, presently weed ridden, will be maintained by the Parks and Recreations who are presently formulating a plan on how to tackle the over-growth and upkeep.

Patton also brings good news to the women who have been dismayed to find no stall doors on the new Brighton Street beach rest station.  He reports that they are exploring how much it will cost to add doors to the stalls and “it is looking good that funding will be found”.

The city has begun to evaluate the request by an Ocean Beach resident to install a stop sign at Bacon and Saratoga due to the high incidence of accidents there.  This proposal will be in front of the Review Committee on Wednesday, August 15th and the Planning Board on September 5th.  The city will seek the Board’s support or opposition to the sign.

Patton also wants the Ocean Beach community know that lifeguards will be “passing the fin” at our beaches this weekend, seeking donations to benefit aquatic programs that help under-privileged kids learn to swim. Donations will combat the incidences of drowning, the second leading cause of the accidental death of children in the US.

Before Patton sat down, Board member Landry Wilson requested that Faulconer’s office look into the status of the Board’s requests for improvements to pedestrian safety on Sunset Cliffs Ave. Wilson wanted to remind Faulconer that Ocean Beach has been waiting for the street’s safety improvements (including a cross walk) for three years.

Toni Atkins Report

The 76th District Representative Toni Atkins, Gibran Maciel, did not appear at the meeting as scheduled on the agenda.

Call for Service to the Ocean Beach Planning Board

The Ocean Beach Planning Board wants members of the community to consider serving on the board.  District 3 and 7 are open and a candidate only needs to be an OB resident and not live in those districts to serve.  Please go to this link to find out more.

Information on WalkSanDiego

Next, Kathleen Ferrier, member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the Policy Development Manager for WalkSanDiego, a non-profit organization that promotes walkable communities throughout the San Diego region gave a fascinating but brief presentation on her organization.  She brought the Boards attention to an Ocean Beach woman, Nicole Burgess, who started a bike train ( a safe, fun way to ride as a group) in OB and founded and led the District 2 bicycle/pedestrian working group aimed at making  Ocean Beach more bike friendly. Ferrier also alerted the board to the existence of  the City of San Diego’s Pedestrian Master Plan, which sounds both interesting and worth further exploration.

Ferrier requests that the Board alert the community of an initiative and volunteer opportunities in September called the Regional Walk Scorecard.  WalkSandiego has developed an App that will allow volunteers to walk an area of the city while answering questions about their experience on their smart phone.  They are seeking volunteers to participate. Interested? Go here.

Ferrier also introduced the concept of the “Complete Street”, something I had never heard of but instantly appreciated. It asks that we design our roads with all users in mind- including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Finally, WalkSan Diego asks us to recognize that San Diego is the fifth leading city in pedestrian fatalities and that our city needs safer thoroughfares.

White Residence Action Item

Next on the Agenda was the White Residence at 4635 Bermuda Ave. This is an application to be permitted to construct a 1,495 square foot second single family residence attached to an existing garage on a 0.16 acre site located at 4635 Bermuda Ave. Apparently the second family residence will be occupied by family members of the owners of the other residence on the property. The board approved the permit contingent that the permit seeker confirm that the parking spaces conform to code.

Giddings Residence Action Item

A more difficult action item followed with the Giddings Residence at 4662 Pescadero Avenue. The owner is seeking a Neighborhood Development Permit for walls in the public right of way for an existing single family residence. The problems faced by the Board included;

  1. The encroachment of a wall was there when the current residence took over ownership of the property in 1987 from a family member. The wall was there in 1972. No record of a permit was available at the city.
  2. The owner hired a contractor who not only refaced the existing non-permitted wall but built an entry way that could be described as a wall, columns, a fortress or a fence, depending on the describer. The contractor never informed the owner that a permit would be needed.
  3.  The owner claims that the new additions were necessary to her safety and well being. Additionally, she cited her handicapped status as mitigating reasons for the additions. She had two neighbors attest to the issues they’ve all had to deal with regarding homeless people and neighborly parking nuisances.

The Board, as a whole seemed to agree that they were willing to look past the issue of the unpermitted pre-existing encroachment on the property but were not willing to grant a variance for the “columns” that were added by the owner.  Several board members cited the Precise Plan which is clear on wanting  a community of homes that invite pedestrians in, not keep them out.  As one board member noted, the edifice in place didn’t exactly encourage trick or treating.  Another member noted that while the work was good, it looked like it would belong in Rancho Bernardo, not Ocean Beach. A representative, presumably an architect of the owner, requested that the board put off making any final decision regarding the issue until he had a chance to get the city’s response and  come up with an alternative plan.  The Board agreed.

Ongoing Variance Dilemma

Next, the much discussed issue of Variances.  At this point, there was only two people left in the audience, myself and Tony from the Beacon.  The Ocean Beach Planning Board, after some discussion, unanimously agreed to request an immediate moratorium on variances in the RM 2-4 zone, the FEMA 100 yr Flood Plain A, without alley access and on substandard lots while the OBPB works with City Staff for a policy solution to these specific parcels.

Landry Watson made a request for a referendum of the Ocean Beach citizens in the upcoming ballot to help the OBPB know their wishes however it was decided that the moratorium will be requested first.

Chair Announcements/Correspondence/Meetings

CPC Meeting Announcement

Development Services have cut a lot of people from the Planning Division, including several people the OBPB have come to know and trust.

Capital Improvements Program (CIP)

The Board notes the importance and dangers of the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) policies which has the power to circumvent community planning boards.

The Ocean Beach Historical Society

The Ocean Beach Historical Society hosts a presentation on San Diego’s Pioneer Female Aviators By California State Parks Historian Alexander D. Bevil on Thurs., Aug. 16th, at 7 PM at the United Methodist Church, 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. =

Ocean Beach Town Council

Ocean Beach Town Council will hold its Annual Pancake Breakfast earlier this year, on Saturday, September 15th, the same day as the coastal clean-up. They will also be holding another candidate meeting in August.

Ocean Beach Merchants Association

No one was in attendance from the Ocean Beach Merchants Association. There will be another Sundowner at the Pizza Port on the third Thursday in August at Pizza Port.

Precise Plan Update Subcommittee

There was no update on the Precise Plan revisions, despite 11 years and Mayor Sanders promises. Also of note is that the city refuses to give the board a copy of the Precise Plan draft, despite it being about OB. I am not sure I understand all of this but there it is.

Mission Bay Park Committee

Although Mission Bay Park is said to be the most visited park in San Diego, the meeting was cancelled. According to one board member the meetings are cancelled approximately 1 out of 4 times whenever there is not something specific on the agenda.  How this is possible is not clear to this observer.

Appeals Subcommittee

It was well after 8pm when the Appeals Committee report was made and a sharp sense of defeat was in the air on the brief discussion of both the Burk residence appeal and the Douma residence appeal.  One board member also noted that the Stebbins walls were back up. Wilson suggested the Board request that Faulconer spend as much time with the Board as he does with the Douma residence applicants.

No reports on the San Diego River Coalition or the Ocean Beach Recreation Council.

As a foot note, one board member suggested if you have trouble with someone blocking your garage, you might consider calling Western Towing instead of the police as it is a civil issue.

Meeting was adjourned.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie August 2, 2012 at 7:46 am

Thanks so much, Brenda. You’ve become the eyes and ears of the community.


Jonathan Moynes August 2, 2012 at 11:54 am

I’d like to make one correction, albeit minor: There were three people in the audience at the end, with me being the third :)

But over all, it’s a very accurate, fair, detailed summary. Thanks for this!


Debbie August 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

Great write up! It’s alot of work to attend these meetings and post. Thank you! Thank you!

As for the Giddings residence, I guess it is their perogitive to keep “the public” out and off of their property. There are too many weirdos out there knocking on your door! For Halloween, they can open their gate and put the welcome sign out. to hand out treats. The google shot of this house shows an RV in the drive-way…that is probably an eyesore for neighbors to look at versus the “wall, columns, a fortress or a fence”..in my opinion.


Sunshine August 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm

kudos, Brenda, for not only attending the meeting but also for writing up a thoroughly detailed report of what occurred. How is it that in a village the size of OB, only 3 people attended? I’m glad you were one of them.


smuffy August 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm

This article incorrectly identifies Landry Watson as Landry Wilson.


Frank Gormlie August 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Thanks for catching that – we made the correction.


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