Gio Ingolia: The OB Community Plan “Ensures Our Small-Town Feel”

by on July 31, 2014 · 0 comments

in California, Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Organizing, San Diego

Editor: This is the first of several we hope to publish of the speeches given by OB planners at the July 29th City Council hearing on the OB Community Plan.

By Giovanni Ingolia

My Name is Giovanni Ingolia and I am the Co-Chair of the OB Community Plan update Sub-committee. I have also served 8 years on the OB Planning board and a former Chair.

This plan has been a collaborative effort from a myriad of community group and citizens of Ocean Beach.

Overall the plan meets the needs and desires of the community including but not limited to our transportation desires, historic preservation, and community character.

Unfortunately the Planning Commission has recommended more permissive language to the Community Plan when it comes to our community character as it relates to bulk and scale.

Recommendation 4.2.9 represents a compromise from stronger language that was agreed upon by the community, City Staff and the City Attorney’s office .

There have been 5 floor-area-ratio (FAR) variances granted in OB in the last several years, on the grounds that they demonstrate “special circumstances” and “deny the applicant” “reasonable use” of their site.” However, the same criteria used to justify these 5 variances actually apply to hundreds of properties in OB. Specifically:

  • For one variance, the same criteria actually apply to220 other parcels which makes up 20% of the parcels in OB’s RM-2-4 zone. Under the Planning Commission’s rationale, all 220 of these properties would qualify for FAR variances. This hardly qualifies as a special circumstance.
  • For the remaining four variances, the same criteria actually apply to 73 parcels in OB R-M-2-4 zone. Using the Planning Commission’s rationale, all 73 of these properties would qualify for FAR variances. Again, this hardly qualifies as special or peculiar.

Furthermore, the Municipal Code states that variances can only be granted if the applicant is being denied “reasonable use” of the site. However, all of the recent variances were granted on properties that had been previously developed with the same land uses. How can an applicant claim that reasonable use is being denied when the property in question is already developed with a conforming use?

The Language in the community plan was added at the request of the Members of the OB Planning Board and with broad consensus on the issue.

The community plan and the section about the FAR is to ensure all of OB retains its small community character while following the municipal code. We put it in the Plan because we thought it was wrong to allow one property to get exceptions because they had the means whatever that may be while others did not.

Tourists & citizens of San Diego flock to OB; movies & TV shows have been filmed in OB like “Almost Famous”, “Veronica Mars” & “Terriers”. People from other parts of the country move here like I did from 14 years ago. That’s why I ask you today to support the community’s desired language as it was agreed to by the City Attorney, and Staff. As this plan ensures our small town feel in Americas Finest City as OB is San Diego’s most unique community.

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