Ocean Beach CDC Is Looking Forward to Developing the Veteran’s Plaza

by on March 17, 2015 · 27 comments

in Culture, Environment, Media, Ocean Beach

OB Vets Plaza sketchesA Report on the OB Community Development Corporation March 13 Meeting

By Lois Lane

The OB CDC is full of plans for the new Veteran’s Plaza as I note from their March 13 meeting at the OB Rec Center. Yet there was hardly a breezy mention of the prior center-stage project, the OB Entryway Project, although a request was made to the city to remove the orange plastic fencing at the bottom between the Entryway Project and Robb Field.  You can still see photos of the Entryway Project on the group’s website.

And good news – speaking about the OB CDC website – it’s been renewed and their website contains the meeting announcement, including an Agenda. Anyone who cares what our beach front looks like would be well advised to have a look, and think about attending one of these meetings to find out what happens. The Web site is indeed being improved on a regular basis by this all-volunteer group.

This Second OB Veterans Plaza concept was first introduced to OB at a Community Workshop on February 25, 2013 with the intent to replace the existing Veterans Plaza at the foot of Newport.

Another community workshop was also conducted. September 11, 2013. The conceptual design by KTU+A Planning and Landscape Architecture was announced to be complete and can be seen on the OB CDC Web site .

OB Vets Plaza designAlthough conceptual design is still evolving, the construction drawings were contracted to Estrada Land Planning, contracted in July 2014. And at the recent March 13, 2015 OB CDC meeting, it was announced that the plans for the design phase from Estrada Land Planning were nearly complete.

Final drawings to be submitted to obtain the permit are still being modified, based on informal input from the city. This submission consists of four drawing sheets of which the one displayed is the first page of four. Please keep in mind that this is still a draft and could have further modification before final submission to the City for a permit. The currently existing Veteran’s Plaza will be removed.

It will be replaced with a concrete paving with 2’ scored grid. The newly proposed plan backs up to the lifeguard station parking, and consists of an artificial rock backdrop (4.5 to 7 ft. high), polished black granite with engraved veterans names, and various concrete pavers over a concrete base with 2-3 foot artificial rock outcroppings as seating. The flagpole and sign will be moved to his area.

As only four members of the board were present; there was no quorum and no voted items. Tom Perrotti, President, Stephen Grosch-Vice-President and Board members Steve Haynes and Jim Musgrove attended.

What is still not totally clear is exactly what the Veteran’s Plaza project is. Part of it will be maintained by the CDC and not San Diego Parks & Rec. What exactly will replace the open space (agreed, the grass is fairly patchy), is still a muddle to my mind’s eye. This is a lot of change to this rare ocean frontage parkland.

It will be accompanied by a remodeling of the park area beyond the Lifeguard station into a Children’s Park and adult exercise area, a separate project and separately funded, cost estimates not yet available. Detailed information will be provided on the OB Rag when it is available.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie March 17, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Putting a wall up in front of the ocean?


If no one can maintain what is there now …. which is not much, then this new Million wall will surely look like S_IT soon.


sean M March 17, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Building a seven foot wall that would instruct the beach is the worst idea ever. Someone needs to speak up and out an end to that madness before more money gets wasted. Someone really should have spoken up at the meeting when it was suggested.


Harry March 17, 2015 at 1:41 pm

This is a terrible looking thing. Way out of scale and ugly as can be. It almost resembles a bunker.
What’s wrong with taking what we already do have and maintaining it?
And why have this big thing at the oceanfront anyway? This new white elephant will be yet a bigger thing to not take care of, and will dwarf what is already there (and very appropriate, IMO) – the statue of the lifeguard, which is very in the spirit of its location.
I hope that the citizens of OB will rally round and say, in a very polite way, that this is not a good idea for the OB beachfront. If the group wants to raise some money, raise some to maintain what we have now – that which is not being properly taken care of. Seems to me this would be the best way to honor our vets.


derek March 17, 2015 at 1:52 pm

links to CDC website don’t work… change the link HTML as it combines OB Rag and CDC into one long string… I got here by eliminating the ob rag portion.


Frank Gormlie March 17, 2015 at 2:18 pm

derek – thanks, editordude fixed them.


Christo March 17, 2015 at 2:15 pm

This is even dumber than the entryway that doesn’t go anywhere. Who is paying for this?


South Park March 17, 2015 at 2:25 pm

derek, the link is:
The meeting agenda is in the drop-down menu of “Get Involved” at the top of the main page. No minutes from previous meetings have been posted. One agenda, for March 12, 2015, is posted.
What I don’t understand is the agenda. Two main items are listed (1 and 2), then four subitems, all numbered “1.” Then there is C, D, and E. There was no “A.” What?

I guess this is progress. I still dislike the wall, big time. Fake rock and black granite. Wrong materials, wrong plan – a bad fit in the beach environment. How does a plan that is so obviously inappropriate get this far along? Is anything that is submitted by the firm of the very City Planning- and Urban Land Institute-connected Vicki Estrada going to be accepted, no matter what? Was the money to pay her architecture firm and the contracting firm provided by the public or was it all privately funded? I’d like to read the answers to this on the CDC website. Not holding my breath.


Val March 17, 2015 at 2:48 pm

sigh…I can’t believe these horrible plans have gotten this far.
Just look what happened to the Entryway Park! That is still not done properly and a ton of money was wasted. Beside, what’s wrong with the old one? Not obstructive enough?

To quote Jerry Seinfeld, “Who are theses people?”


Marilyn Steber March 17, 2015 at 3:35 pm

I agree with South Park on the rock and granite points. I have no problem with Granite, but is it appropriate for a beach in Southern California? Is inscribing on black granite walls the only way to memorialize veterans now?
Blue pavers: is that a walkway meant to look like a meandering stream?
No overhead shade?


Sarah March 17, 2015 at 4:19 pm

The OBCDC website says this project has the support of OBMA, OBTC and “…all of the major groups in Ocean Beach”. Is this true?

Is there a group working in opposition to this plan?


Marc Snelling March 17, 2015 at 4:44 pm

The final design is not yet complete but “all of the major groups in OB” support it? Seems premature. Has the design been presented at the OB Planning Board? Has the OB Historical Society pledged their support? If so I missed it. Judging by the entryway project, if the CDC goes ahead with this project it should be halfway finished in about twenty years. Perhaps a sinkhole could be added as a design element to symbolize where the money for these projects goes.


Jan March 17, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Just took a look at the group’s website.
Looks to me as if they should drop this grandiose project and beef up their affordable housing efforts, which seem to be way minimal.


Dan Shay March 17, 2015 at 5:14 pm

I realize that any project like this is going to face objections, but I agree with previous posters – a wall in front of the beach blocking the line of sight to the ocean and sand is a terrible idea. It is more than a matter of taste, it impedes the view.

Furthermore, it is hard to tell from the drawings, but it looks like they are adding a bunch of hazards for people to trip on. Wasn’t there just a lawsuit settled for like $490k for a dude that hurt himself on a gopher hole (pretty significant injuries) at Robb Field? This area has way more traffic and sees lots more drunk people. It is just a question of time before someone falls, is injured and sues. Blocking the view is bad, but creating hazards and liability is negligent.

Maybe a statue would be good. I would like a new memorial, jut not this one. I am not a fan of the current “memorial” b/c most people don’t even know what it is. I also don’t like seeing trash and rotten marshmallows on it. And it is an insult in general to walk on people’s names. That’s why Saddam’s favorite hotel had a mural of Bush senior in the entryway that people walked on. That’s also why that protester threw a shoe at Bush junior.




Barb March 17, 2015 at 6:41 pm

With a little creativity, what already exists could be enhanced and “do the job”…..for example, a simple yet elegant iron fence could be erected around the existing memorial. The names of those on the ground could be etched on the existing memorial as well – done nicely. This would take up no less space than the current footprint does. Alternatively, there could be a REAL community discussion about where in O B might be the best place to honor our vets – Robb Field, on the library lawn, a neglected corner that would truly be enhanced by such a memorial, etc. Such a process seems completely lacking by this “imposed from above” idea.


iblonginob March 18, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Priorities. No money for memorials until every homeless vet is housed.


Geoff Page March 18, 2015 at 9:22 pm

Glad to see so many comments critical of this proposal. One of the things that bothers me a lot is that this area is used by people all the time, musicians, acrobats, families, all sorts of folks. Leave the little grassy park alone, this kind of monument could go anywhere, why give up the little bit of beachfront we have for this?


Christo March 19, 2015 at 9:49 am

I was thinking exactly the same thing as my kids were entranced by the acrobats in a fully utilized park yesterday during Farmers Market.


Colin March 19, 2015 at 11:45 am

Completely agree. And I bet that dividing this open public space is exactly the cynical political and developer ethos somehow underlying this proposal to dump tons of rock into it. Wrap it up in the flag and call it a public monument, when, really, the intention of the thing is exactly the opposite, the sociopolitical and economic takeover of a formerly open and contiguous public space. Or, in other words, this is a kind of border wall to separate the freely open space of the OB hoi polloi on the south side of the wall from the hodad carpetbaggers “developing” the north side.


Colin March 19, 2015 at 11:56 am

And the disturbing and ironic cultural result is that the memories of American veterans, who presumably fought for their ideal of liberty, are being used and abused as cover for this invasion at the heart of OB public space. This cover has the practical political benefit, too, that any strident and growing objections to this “development” can be tarred as anti-patriotic, or the like. You know, war is peace.


Jena March 19, 2015 at 2:36 pm

One thing puzzling in this (to my way of thinking, anyway) healthy discussion of our beachfront is this: Where are all the proponents of of the proposed memorial, and why aren’t they speaking up about why they think it’s such a good thing?
The strength of this community is that those who live in it speak up, speak out, and roll up their sleeves to help when there is a chance to. Another strength is that we are not so happy when something seems to be railroaded through, in the name of vets or any other cause.
Clearly, there has been no genuine, real, public airing of this proposed memorial, and there really needs to be. That little strip of grass is community space, after all.
Other than this discussion, the proposal needs a lot more discussion, or obstruction, as the case may be.


Colin March 19, 2015 at 8:48 pm

Then again, what do I know, I may have gotten a bit carried away, above. The plan also appears to be a relatively narrow band, de facto acting as a nicely designed and landscaped wall adjacent the less visually appealing parking lot, more that it would seem a divisive barrier wall had it been destined for the north side of the parking lot.


Colin March 19, 2015 at 9:01 pm

Oh, yeah, and if you go to the OBCDC website you can see the Saratoga Park redevelopment plan, as well. Looks like OB and the City have decided to clean up (however one might put it) the whole Newport-Abbot stretch.


Robert Burns March 19, 2015 at 9:56 pm

This Veterans stuff has gotten out of hand. I don’t recall any cause or movement ever in O.B. identified with veternans. This seems just as easy to put in La Jolla or downtown than in O.B. And, building a wall of alcoves seems arbitrary at best. HOW ABOUT SOME MONEY FOR BASICS IN THE RESTROOMS AT THE LIFEGUARD STATION like clothing hooks before starting with this spending frenzy. Or build it where the police have their worthless trailer in the O.B. Pier parking lot.


rick callejon March 20, 2015 at 8:03 am

Perhaps Zapf could move into the pier parking lot trailer as a way to familiarize herself with OB and its issues. After she uses the restrooms at the lifeguard station for a few days, we might see some movement on upgrades.


Debbie March 20, 2015 at 8:53 am

Good suggestion! Move her whole support staff in there!

Remember all this OB, when her assistant Mr. Wear tries to run for office.


Colin March 20, 2015 at 9:05 am

Unfortunately for left leaning OB, its council district is mapped such that it includes enough right leaning demographics to preclude OB from having liberal or progressive council representation. You know, Faulconer, and now Zapf, two red conservatives who hide behind blue campaign signs come election time.


Joe March 20, 2015 at 1:57 pm

All well and good. I agree with the wall-as-abomination theme here.

Now, what is the process to actually have a process? Self-appointed “deciders” decided on this wall, but now OB itself needs to decide.

How, exactly, does this have to happen here?


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