City Council Okay of OB Community Plan Ends Long and Glorious Update Process – Here’s the Timeline

by on November 12, 2015 · 0 comments

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

OB Plan Council 11-9-15 Lobby Lorie

OBceans crowd in lobby with Councilwoman Zapf after City Council vote, Nov. 9, 2015. Photo by Conrad Wear.

Last Leg of Update Process Took 2 1/2 Years

Timeline of Update Process of the OB Community Plan 2002 – 2015

When the final City Council vote came down last Monday, November 9th, as it approved the OB Community Plan Update, it was a signal to all the OBceans and city planners who have been part of its creation over the last months and years to heave a great collective sigh of relief.

The vote was the final step in a long, long – but glorious – process to have the Ocean Beach Community Plan finally approved by all levels of government, enabling it to be an actual development blueprint which the OB Planning Board can utilize in its monthly deliberations as an advisory body on projects before it. (The Plan does have one final stop on the consent agenda of the Coastal Commission.)

The last leg of the update process was a period of two and a half years, as it was long ago, on June 5th, 2013, when city planner Maxx Stalheim presented the OB Planning Board with a Draft Update – after years working with the update sub-committee members. And the Plan took this long to reach the City Council for their final vote this week.

Just this final leg of the Update saw 3 different chairs of the OB Planning Board (Tom Gawronski, Pete Ruscitti, John Ambert), 3 different city planners (Maxx Stalheim, Theresa Millett, Karen Bucey), 3 different City Council members (Kevin Faulconer, Ed Harris, Lorie Zapf) – and a constant change over on the volunteer Planning Board.

The update process itself – initiated by the then-City Planning Department (since morphed into Development Services Dept.) – began in the early years of the century – 2002. The process stalled for a while, due to 2 challenges: the update of the City’s General Plan, which took precedent, and extreme cut-backs in the Planning Department by Mayor Sanders during his administration.

City efforts and focus on the OB Plan geared up again back in 2006, with a draft plan presented to the community in 2007.

Here is an outline of the early days of the update process – taken from a special report to the OB Rag by  city planner Maxx Stalheim published in June 2013:

  • 2002 – update process begins; Community meetings identified issues to be addressed, with major theme – need to maintain and enhance the existing development pattern and “small-scale” character of Ocean Beach.
  • 2003 – Planning efforts were suspended when staff and resources were diverted to the update of the City’s General Plan; cut-backs to city Planning Dept also stalled work;
  • 2006 – Planning efforts began again;
  • 2007 – a draft plan was presented to the community, and workshops held;
  • 2008 – city decided that Update would require an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) based on existing traffic conditions.
  • 2009 – Funding for the EIR was secured.
  • 2010 – Consultants for preparation of technical reports interviewed;
  • 2011 – contracts for consultant services were signed;
  • During this time, the draft plan was being revised and refined by Update sub-committee of OB Planning Board with city staff;

Next is a time-line of the last leg of the update process, the last two and half years – since early June of 2013 when the Draft Update was first presented to the community by city planners – until this Monday, when the Council approved it:

  • June 5, 2013 – OB Planning Board presented with copies of the brand new Draft Ocean Beach Community Plan Update by Maxx Stalheim, senior planner. Stalheim declared that the updated plan was “fundamentally a new document” from the former OB Precise Plan.  “Tonight is a milestone in the process,” he said.
  • June 19, 2013 – Draft made available to public online.
  • July 3, 2013 – OB Planning Board officially releases new Draft Plan Update to the community and requests in-put;
  • Here are some initial observations and critiques of the Draft by the OB Rag, Part 1 and Part 2;
  • November 13thTown Hall meeting on Plan Update;
  • November 19, 2013 set for community input and recommendations; here was the OB Rag‘s;
  • December 11, 2013 – Special Meeting of OB Planning Board votes to approve Draft update with some modifications;
  • April 30, 2014 – City Council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee, chaired by Lorie Zapf,  unanimously authorized the Plan Update to proceed to the Planning Commission later in May and then the full City Council itself in early July.
  • May 14th, 2014 – OB Town Council passed resolution in support of the new OB Community Plan.
  • May 22, 2014 – Update went in front of the City of San Diego’s Historical Resource Board and received their okay.
  • May 29, 2014 –  the San Diego Planning Commission approved the OB Update but only after gutting its FAR (floor-area-ratio), the tool OB has used for nearly 40 years to restrict over-development;
  • June 4, 2014 – OB Planning Board approved a Petition to be circulated throughout OB that supports the OB Community Plan – to be used as a show of strength against the Planning Commission ruling;
  • Early June – Late July – volunteers and businesses collect 3500 signatures on petition that explicitly supports the OB Update language on floor-area-ratios;
  • July 29, 2014 – San Diego City Council votes 9 to 0 to approve OB Community Plan Update, over-ruling the Planning Commission; immediately 100 OBceans and supporters in audience, many wearing blue shirts, celebrate;
  • Early months 2015 – City Development Services Dept staff and Calif Coastal Commission work on resolving 30 plus issues;
  • August 11, 2015 – Coastal Commission staff release recommendations re: the OB Plan, and advise to deny it due to underlying unresolved issues (issues did not include FAR);
  •  August 13, 2015 – California Coastal Commission unanimously approved the OB Community Plan Update after last-minute compromises between staffs, inspired by large turn-out of OBceans in  City Hall chambers of Chula Vista.
  • November 9, 2015Last approval of OB Plan by San Diego City Council.
  • January – February, 2016 – OB Plan on consent agenda of Coastal Commission – automatic approval.

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