Peninsula Planners Win Appeal of Carleton Row Homes

by on March 31, 2015 · 1 comment

in Culture, Economy, Election, Environment, Ocean Beach, Politics

Pt Loma Carleton House

Carleton Row homes under construction.

Election Results and Debate Over the Controversial One Paseo Project

By Tony de Garate / Special to the OB Rag

The agenda at the monthly March meeting of the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) called for matters of neighborhood importance: a house remodel gone haywire on Plum Street and a plan to renovate a bridge on Voltaire Street.

But not long after the meeting was gaveled to order, accusations were flying, and heads in the audience were spinning — all because of a project nowhere near Point Loma – more on that later. But first …

PCPB wins Carleton Row Homes appeal

Board members reveled in their successful appeal of Carleton Row Homes, four residential units at 3015-21 Carleton St. in Roseville, earlier in the day.

Rejecting the recommendation of its own staff, the San Diego Planning Commission voted 5-1 to deny a “map waiver” request to classify the units as condos. Last year, the PCPB voted against the request, charging the owner, Acropolis Development, had made questionable claims about the number of rooms per unit and had sought city approval using procedures that allowed it to evade planning board scrutiny.

Board member Jarvis Ross credited Board Chair Julia Quinn for making a persuasive argument to commissioners. “Your speech was the critical one,” he said.

Peninsula Board Election Results: 3 incumbents, 3 newcomers win terms

Quinn, who has served as board chair for two years, was the top vote-getter in annual elections held from 4-8 p.m. Voters returned all three incumbents seeking re-election to the 15-member board. In all, five board members won three-year terms and a sixth will serve for one year.

Here are the totals of the six winners, with incumbents designated with (I):

Julia Quinn (I), 90

Bruce Coons (I), 83

Mark Krencik (I), 80

James Hare, 62

Robert Goldyn, 58

Amanda Behnke, 58

By mutual agreement between the two candidates who tied for fifth place, Goldyn will serve the three-year term. Behnke has agreed to serve one year, filling out the term of Bruce Cook, who resigned earlier this year.

Other vote-getters were: Don Costello, 50; Geoff Page, 47; and Eileen Brennan, 28.

Incumbents Dominic Carnevale and Mike Ryan did not seek re-election.

Voltaire St bridgeMakeover due for Voltaire Street Bridge

A 56-year-old bridge considered by some to be a “gateway” in the Peninsula is due for a $1.4 million overhaul, city officials said.

Construction could begin by the summer of 2016 on the 162-foot Voltaire Street bridge that crosses over Nimitz Boulevard and spans Sea Colony Court and Wabaska Drive, said Bryan Olson, project manager for the city’s Public Works Department.

Features of the project include:

  • repairs to the bridge deck,
  • removing the raised center median,
  • traffic signal syncing,
  • realigning the crosswalks and
  • addressing ADA-accessibility issues.

The number of lanes will be reduced from four to two to provide left turning lanes and add bike lanes in each direction, Olson said. Some balked at a proposal to replace the existing picket-style barrier rail with a solid concrete design. Board member David Dick asked about the possibility of decorative fencing and lighting.

“I’m concerned we’ll wind up with something that looks kind of monolithic,” Dick said.

Olson said the concrete, “Type 26” rail was the most economical design, but it could be changed by the time the plan was finalized.

One Paseo Development Debate

The San Diego City Council approved the 23-acre One Paseo development in Carmel Valley — lauded as “smart growth” by its admirers, berated as “overkill” by its detractors — more than a month ago. But a bare-knuckles, big-money battle over the ultimate fate of the project continues, and a small crowd of Peninsula residents had front-row seats during the March 19 meeting – all in the Marla Haas Community Room of the Point Loma/Hervey library.

A trio of supporters of a referendum to overturn the City Council’s approval and let voters decide chose the PCPB meeting as a place to make a last-minute pitch for signatures during the portion of the meeting reserved for non-agenda public comments.

“The City Council on Feb. 23 disregarded four planning boards and thousands of residents” in approving the mixed-use development, which calls for offices, retail space and more than 600 residential units — without adding public transit, said Jeff Powers, former local news anchor who serves as spokesperson for Protect San Diego Neighborhoods.

Powers accused the developer, Kilroy Realty, of resorting to questionable practices to thwart the referendum, including launching a “decoy” petition drive to express support of the Chargers with no other significance; and hiring “petition blockers” to harass signature gatherers.

“We get 20 to 30 emails a day about Kilroy’s tactics,” Powers said, adding attorneys had drawn up two cease-and-desist letters to stop unlawful interference.

When the Carmel Valley Planning Board voted to oppose One Paseo last year, Kilroy warned nearby boards not to take action on matters outside of their planning areas, Powers charged.

“Kilroy attacked them directly,” Powers said, telling them “any advocacy on their part would eliminate their indemnification from personal liability. …That gives you an idea of the kind of company we’re dealing with.”

But minutes later, Marcela Escobar-Eck, principal for Atlantis Group and consultant for One Paseo, took the floor, offering “withdraw” petitions for people who wanted their signatures removed from the referendum effort.

Escobar-Eck denied that Kilroy had told the planning boards to butt out.

“What you’ve heard is absolutely false. There were never, ever any threats made against (any) planning board,” she said.

With several audience members raising their cell phones to record Escobar-Eck, resident Matt DeVol asked about the other accusations made by Powers.

“How can you defend this company that clearly is taking unethical approaches?” DeVol asked.

She said paying people to monitor and confront petition gatherers was necessary to counter false claims in real time.

“It’s not unethical; they’re trying to provide education about what the facts are,” Escobar-Eck said.

Approached later, Escobar-Eck said she didn’t know if Kilroy’s petition to express support for the Chargers was an attempt to soak up the pool of signature gatherers, as detractors have charged.

“I’m not a referendum expert,” she said, “but it’s a well-used tactic in general.”

Joe LaCava, who chairs the La Jolla Community Planning Association, supports the referendum as an individual and attended with Powers. He said the integrity of community planning process was at stake.

Approached after the meeting, LaCava said he was concerned the recommendation for a smaller version of the project favored by the Carmel Valley Planning Group was “ignored by the developer and the City Council.”

The project also requires significant zoning changes that were not made collaboratively with the community, he said.

“The community plan is the most fundamental element of a community; it’s the vision and promise of what a community is going to be. And they (Kilroy) were allowed to just wipe it clean and come up with their own idea and get it approved. That’s the risk,” LaCava said.

To place the project on the ballot, referendum supporters need petitions from five percent of registered voters, or roughly 34,000 signatures. On March 25, supporters turned in more than 60,000 forms; but opponents also turned in more than 27,000 “withdraw” petitions. The city has 30 days to verify the totals.

 

The Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) meets every third Thursday of the month and represents these neighborhoods: Ocean Beach Highlands, Point Loma Highlands, Loma Alta, Loma Palisades, Loma Portal, Fleetridge, Roseville, Sunset Cliffs, Wooded Area, La Playa and Liberty Station.

The PCPB’s next meeting is April 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Marla Haas Community Room of the Hervey/Point Loma Branch Library, 3701 Voltaire St.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Avatar Rufus April 1, 2015 at 6:17 am

I hope they will address drainage problems on the Voltaire Street bridge. After a rain, the most southerly lane becomes a dangerous pond.

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