OB Planners to Review Projects on Santa Monica and Cape May

by on June 30, 2015 · 0 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

The OB Planning Board has two projects to review at their next meeting, Wednesday, July 1, over at the OB Rec Center.

The first action item is the application for the proposed project at 5040 Santa Monica Avenue.  The Project Review Committee gave it their thumbs up when they met on June 17, voting 6 to 2 for approval. The full Board makes the final decision.


5040 Santa Monica Ave – artist rendering.

Here is the report we filed then:

Commercial and Residential for Santa Monica – the “Last Sand Dune in OB”

The project proposed for 5040 Santa Monica was a scaled-down version of a development that had been approved back in 2006 but never constructed.  The developer was going for a ‘substantial compliance review’ with the city, as the site has been dormant for around 10 years.  The lot supposedly contains “the last sand dune in OB”.

The new design includes one 2-story commercial unit in front and 4 residential units behind and above it.  As that block of Santa Monica is zoned as a mix of commercial and residential, it was incumbent on the developer to install some commercial. The commercial parking – as is all the parking – is in the back and off the alley.  Twelve parking spaces are planned. The residential units will be eventually turned into condos, the owner said.

There were some questions whether an upstairs deck hung over the required set-back, and it was noted that from the street level to the very top of the development was close to 40 feet, but the 30 foot height limit is not measured from the very bottom of the project. Also, Board members bemoaned the “industrial” look, the very linear and heavy on the glass appearance of the units, and lack of fitting into the community’s character. “This is transforming,” one member said, and complained that “the character of the community is starting to deteriorate.”

Another said “the facade has very vertical lines, no sloped lines, all flat roofs, and doesn’t necessarily jive with the Community Plan ….”

One of the architects stated that this building is the very first “purposely-designed” building to take energy storage into its design. “It will be highly visible nationally”, he said. Another stated that every one of the units has a view of the pier and ocean.

After all discussion, the Project Review Committee voted 6 to 2 to recommend approval to the full Board.

 The other project is at 4965 Cape May Avenue. Here’s our prior report:


Artist renderings of new project at 4965 Cape May.

Two Units for Cape May

The third project under review is a proposed 2-house project for 4965 Cape May, a vacant lot empty for decades; the front house has 2 stories and the rear house has three.  The owner – who currently lives out of state – wanst to return to OB and live in one of them. The parking is off the alley as the 2 palm trees in front are part of the design.

The project did not appear too controversial, and was voted for approval with a 5 – 2 vote.

 Other items on the Board’s agenda include updates – one on the results of a crosswalk study, and the other an update on the status of the OB Community Plan.

Board chair John Ambert will gavel the meeting to order at 6pm.

Here is the official agenda:

OBPB agenda 7-1-15

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