‘We Told You So’ in Ocean Beach

by on January 7, 2016 · 3 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, History, Media, Ocean Beach, Popular, San Diego, Sports

‘We Told You So’ in Ocean Beach

One condominium complex in Ocean Beach was featured on newscasts throughout the region. Resident Johnny Caito made a YouTube video featuring the area around Saratoga and Abbott Streets.

The OB Rag ended up calling the units The Million Dollar Condos. Years of community opposition to building what some considered to be a fortress-type structure on the beach front ended with the OB Planning Board approving the plans in November 2011.

In September 2015 the OBRag reported that a brand new Lamborghini and seven other cars parked in the development were damaged by flooding.

The condos and the underground garage were built after years of community opposition to the project – and after umpteen warnings from OBceans about the natural flooding that comes – literally with the territory – the OB beachfront.

It has always flooded in that area. Either from high tides, big rains – or both – this area has always been subject to overflow water.

Credit: OB Rag

$600K to get it fixed. Credit: OB Rag

The pre-construction promises made by the developer of the complex depicted in the video included a 27 car subterranean parking garage to be “water-proof and be designed with a de-watering system.”

Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, the California Coastal Commission granted a construction permit, based on a staff report declaring:

…over the last several decades there has been no shoreline retreat in front of the site; it has not been subject to significant flooding, erosion damage or wave run-up attack in the past, including the 1982-83 El Niño winter; and the proposed habitable improvements are above any potential coastal hazard.

Here’s Stephen Scatolini, via the San Diego Reader back in 2009:

It should be noted that during the heavy rains of the 1982-83 El Niño event, runoff from the hillside above the beach was so extreme that I was able to sail a windsurfer — with center board in place — down Abbott Street from Santa Monica Avenue to Saratoga Avenue. So, the water in Abbott Street was at least 40 inches deep — that’s a block uphill from the proposed entrance to the subterranean garage.

When the surf is up and the tides are high and the rain is dumping, storm drains are ineffective and the water backs up into the streets. (Ask Steve Goebel of Cleanline Carpet how many times he’s vacuumed out flooded businesses along the bottom of Newport and Abbott Streets.) Even if the new sub-grade garage has a de-watering system, there is nowhere for the water to go once it’s pumped out of the garage.

Remember this story the next time you hear a politico-apologist for developers complaining about the building process in San Diego.

This is an excerpt from Doug Porter’s column at San Diego Free Press.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Chuck Marlow January 7, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Growing up in OB in the 50’s and 60’s, I do not remember flooding like this. Wonder what has changed? Also wonder how Mission Beach is fairing.


Dave January 7, 2016 at 11:11 pm

If I recall correctly they were listed at quite a bit more than a million when they didn’t sell and converted to vacation rentals…


Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie January 8, 2016 at 10:25 am

You’re probably correct, however we nicknamed them the “millionaire-dollar condos” totally out of spite.


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