OB Needs to Turn Out at Calif Coastal Commission Hearing on Community Plan in One Week – Thursday, Aug. 13th

by on August 6, 2015 · 1 comment

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

OB City Council 6-30-14 KB 01

OBceans who turned out at the City Council pre-hearing on June 30, 2014. Photo by Kathy Blavatt.

Bus Being Rented to Take OBceans to Monthly Commission Hearing  – On their Agenda: the OB Community Plan Update – Finally!

In one week, the California Coastal Commission will sit down and hold a hearing on the Ocean Beach Community Plan Update. That will be Thursday, August 13th and the hearing will be held at the Chula Vista City Council chambers (276 Fourth Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910).

OBceans are being urged to attend the Commission hearing and show up in troves, wearing blue shirts. And at least one bus is being rented to transport OBceans to Chula Vista.

(Watch this space for more details on the bus, where and what time it will load up, and how people can make donations to help cover the fare.)

At the OB Planning Board meeting on Wednesday night, the co-chair of the Plan Update committee, Gio Ingolia, made a special plea for OBceans to show up at the hearing on the 13th. The volunteer planners and Board members joined in his call – as they grapple with the latest fallout from the Commission’s staff recommendations regarding the OB Plan Update.

Despite the twists and turns of OB’s Community Plan’s journey, it is possible that the respective staffs of the City and the Commission are close to resolving all the issues. (See below.)

Here is the Commission’s agenda for August. Their monthly meeting covers 3 days and the OB Plan is to be heard during their 2nd day.

Now, the OB Plan is listed as Agenda item number 22(c) – and here is how it’s listed:

22. (c) City of San Diego LCP Amendment No. LCP-6-OCB-15-0006-1 (Ocean Beach Community Plan Update) Public hearing and action on request by City of San Diego to adopt a comprehensive update to the certified Ocean Beach Community Plan (LUP) including redesignation of the Voltaire Street and Pt. Loma Avenue commercial districts from Neighborhood Commercial to Community Commercial and rezoning approx. 25 acres in two areas from RS-1-7 to RM-1-1. (BL-SD)

Even though the Thursday meeting of the Commission begins at 9 a.m., quite frankly, the OB Plan may not be heard until late in the day. There’s no way to predict how matters move on their lengthy agenda. So, OBceans ought to be prepared for different scenarios and be able to wait out those other agenda items.

Here is the combined Coastal Commission staff report and recommendations to the OB Plan Update along with the Update itself. A total of 335 pages, the first section is the staff report.

It is a confusing document, for the staff recommends a Commission vote of “no” for approval of the OB Plan Update and then lists modifications that if enacted, the staff recommends a “yes” vote.

Special Meeting To Be Called by OB Planners – TBA

OB Planners had questions at last nights meeting about different recommendations that the Coastal Commission staff wanted to be adopted into the OB Community Plan. But the city planner assigned to Ocean Beach, Karen Bucey, was not present at the monthly meeting, but was busy writing a response to the Coastal staff report, according to Conrad Wear from Councilwoman’s Zapf’s office.

A list of questions and issues for Bucey was passed around the Board and around room of 2 dozen audience members. And the Board is planning on holding a special meeting with her before the Commission hearing next Thursday. That’s not a lot of time (so, again, watch this space for info on the special public meeting).

OB Political Football Between City and Coastal Commission

It’s quite possible that OB and its Plan Update are being used as a political football in a power struggle between the City of San Diego and the Coastal Commission. San Diego has not updated any of its coastal zone community plans for decades – and OB’s was the first off the block.

The Coastal Commission wants extra protections for the coastal zone in general, and its staff appear perhaps to be using the OB Plan Update as an example. The City meanwhile is reluctant through its staff to include modifications to the OB Plan that also perhaps need to be added to all coastal zone neighborhoods of San Diego, and favor instead an amendment to the land use code.

It’s a confusing moment for OB and its volunteer community planners – both the veterans and the newbies.  The Coastal Commission staff want the Commission to reject the Plan from Ocean Beach, then pass a bunch of modifications, and then vote to approve the new “improved” Plan – which then must return to the San Diego City Council for their approval of the modifications. The City Council could reject the modifications.  And so  forth …

There is a possibility that the OB Community Plan Update could linger in limbo for another year while the respective staffs work out the revisions and compromises.

Meanwhile, perhaps the staffs are closer to an overall resolution. At last nights meeting, OB Planning Board chair John Ambert reported that of the 29 modifications recommended by Coastal staff, 16 had been accepted by the City, 10 were being revised – and only three were not supported by the City.

In general, the 3 issues are:

  1. the first public roadway – any designation of such achieves special protections;
  2. view corridors – the City feels they already exist and don’t need to be duplicated;
  3. coastal armoring – the liabilities and responsibilities of coastal property owners.

Despite the confusion, former chair Pete Ruscitti urged the Board – and the community – to side with the City in this debate. Many of the Commission’s recommendations actually would protect OB but right now, the community needs to have its Plan approved – so the Board will have a current document with which to work from.

Many of the current decisions by the Board are made in the spirit of the new Plan, with the commonly-shared belief that it will eventually become the actual planning blueprint for OB. The update process has taken nearly 2 decades – initiated by the City in the 1990s, then abandoned, then taken up again. The City Council unanimously approved the Plan Update as is one year ago – on July 29, 2014, and hundreds of OBceans attended the Council hearing, and thousands signed the petition in support of the Plan.

That kind of spirit, that kind of community camaraderie needs to be regenerated for the Coastal Commission hearing in one week. And as before, it will take other community organizations and volunteers besides the OB Planning Board to mobilize the community to the Chula Vista hearing.  (See the Planning Board call for OBceans to turn out here.) It will take the OB Town Council, the OB Mainstreet Association, the OB Historical Society and the OB Rag to help mobilize the village – once again.

August 13th – you need to be there – in a blue shirt – and it could be a long day. Be prepared. It’s worth it.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mindy Pellissier August 6, 2015 at 2:22 pm

The blue “keep the OBcean attitude” shirts are still available at Dog Beach Dog Wash (sizes Medium, Large and X-Large; 100% cotton so they do shrink if washed in hot water) for $10. At 4933 Voltaire St., 7 am to 9 pm every day. Wear it proudly to Chula Vista and everywhere else throughout the year.


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