Poll on Encroachment Into Public Space by OB Restaurant

by on February 15, 2016 · 24 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach


The Joint’s newly installed gated sitting area.

Plurality Wants The Joint’s Encroachment Removed Despite Permit

A clear plurality of respondents to our week long poll on encroachment into public space by an Ocean Beach restaurant agreed that it was “encroachment into the public space” – and agreed that it “must be removed.

42% of those who took the survey of readers are against The Joint’s newly installed gated outside sitting area.

There were a total of 93 participants in the non-scientific poll, posted on our sidebar.

Only 12.9% of respondents like the new sitting section.

However, in a sign that those who took the survey – and we have no way of knowing if they even live in or know OB – are divided on this issue, almost as many who think it should be removed, either say if it’s permitted – it’s okay, or don’t like it but are willing to live with it, or actually like it.

A total of 43.1% are willing for one reason or another to have it stand.

Another 8.6% wanted to seek a compromise and only allow half of the encroachment.

And then there was the 4.3% who didn’t care one way or another, or the 2.2% who were willing to admit that they hadn’t seen or read anything about it, including presumably the OB Rag. (We’re only talking 2 people here.)

Then there’s the point that, actually 57% of respondents don’t like it. Combining those who think it should be removed to those who don’t like it but are okay with it with those who want to compromise, we have a definite majority who think it is an encroachment.

Twenty-two participants, almost 24%, felt that as long as the restaurant had a permit, there was no use in complaining about it or even doing something about it. Adding to that those who said they don’t like it but are “okay with it” – we have nearly a third of the readers expressing no desire to stir the waters around this issue.

But again – over 2 out of every 5 participants want the gated sitting area removed.

Here is the poll:

Recently the Joint restaurant at Newport and Cable installed gated outside seating for their customers, taking up a good portion of the public sidewalk. What do you think about this?

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

cg February 15, 2016 at 2:03 pm

The actual measurements are 4′ 7″ from the railing to the base of the stop light on Newport and 4′ 4″ from the railing to the tree on Cable, both less than stated on the plans and less than the required 5′ clearance. The city will not process a request for an investigation because the building permit is inspected yearly.


Geoff Page February 15, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Here is how it works. Code Enforcement will not act if there is a current building permit in use. Any questions or problems like this have to be directed at either the inspector or the city’s project manager if one is assigned. If the actual in-place work does not match the approved building plans, the inspector or the project manager need to deal with it. I tried to tell the city once that a project was violating the Muncipal Code and they did not agree and said I could file a Code Enforcement action when the permit was complete. That is what I did and Code Enforcement affirmed the violation and required the correction. Had the city listened to me, all that taxpayer money could have been saved, not to mention the cost to the owner of redoing the work.

Whether is its built to approved plan is one thing. The required width is usually minimized at three feet which is the minimum Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliance requirement. There may be language in the Municipal Code about a 5-foot sidewalk but the city can grant a variance if it wants to and they give out variances like so many M & Ms. If this project was not seen by the OBPB, I would bet $10 a variance was granted.


Oh jeez... February 15, 2016 at 3:33 pm

As a local, I will no longer give money to the places that are taking the sidewalk up. What’s it going to be like in the summer time? Traffic jams all day long. Greedy business owners making money off of the public sidewalks. MORE MORE MORE! It’s a shame. I hope the homeless continue to defecate on these businesses front doors like they are doing to us..


Liveinob February 15, 2016 at 6:54 pm

Noodle House #1 has done the same team, I believe the planning board was told way different measurements!
I believe that is District 1 in obpb map
I’m with OB jeez I don’t spend my money at these places!
Maybe with that $$$$ going to the owners , they could pave thier street that thier business address is legally named.
Could you imagine how nice our Streets Could Be!


Liveinob February 15, 2016 at 6:56 pm

Oops I meant
Noodle House #1 has done the same thing


Jon February 16, 2016 at 7:42 am

“I hope the homeless continue to defacate on these business front doors…” Exactly the type of outlandish, childish bullshit that turns reasonable people away from the petty and paranoid complaints about this and the stupid camera issue. I walked by both of these restaurants numerous times this weekend and my life went on pretty much as normal. Shame on you.


Geoff Page February 16, 2016 at 11:34 am

Don’t lump the camera issue into this one, they are very different issues.


Jon February 17, 2016 at 10:17 am

Not trying to lump the issues Geoff, I recognize quite well the difference between security cameras and sidewalk patio dining. But I am definitely comparing the whining and vitriol. This commenter wants the homeless to smear poop on local businesses.. Last month at the OBTC meeting someone compared the cameras to the beginnings of the holocaust. Both outlandish, unproductive and paranoid reactions. I don’t always agree with you (although I tend to more often than not), but at least you consistently try to present a reasonable/respectful argument.


Geoff Page February 17, 2016 at 11:44 am

I would agree with you that the extremes of the comments are probably similar as you have explained. I guess I was reacting more to the adjectives you used for the camera issue. I think the paranoia is somewhat justified considering the history of our governments, perhaps not to the degree expressed. And, I don’t really think any issue is stupid if people have legitimate, heartfelt concerns, which they have about the cameras as well as the sidewalk cafes. I personally think the cameras are a serious issue, the sidewalk cafes, not as much but I understand folk’s concerns.

And, I would like to return the compliment, you comments are also of the kind that allow for a reasonable discussion despite any differences we may have on a particular issue. If everyone always agreed, there would not be much of a discussion, much the same as the extreme comments really don’t foster a real exchange of opinions.


Cuss Varmint April 14, 2016 at 9:14 am



DC February 16, 2016 at 11:17 am

I love sidewalk cafes at all restaurants and I love seeing outdoor diners, pets, children enjoying themselves on a gated patio at restaurants. Windows, patios, sunshine, the beach, good food, good drinks… those are all good things. Maybe the reason for the patio was to protect their diners who want to sit outside from the out of control hobos that flock the streets. Seems like there are nothing but a bunch of grumpy narrow minded men and women on this site with nothing better to do than to complain and protest this petty issue. Have you actually even spoken to the business owner himself on this issue or would you rather just make a poll with no good options and protest against something that isn’t yours? People move to the beach to enjoy it, not to see hobos pissing on the sidewalk, it’s sad to hear that the people of this argument are against sidewalk cafes but for hobos pissing on sidewalks. where is the logic there?


Geoff Page February 16, 2016 at 11:40 am

While I happen to think the sidewalk cafes are Ok, I also respect another person’s right to not like them without denigrating them. No one said anything about “pissing on sidewalks.” There was one unfortunate remark about defecation that was over the top but most of the opposition is honestly felt, whether you agree or not. This same thing happened all over the Gaslamp area and when the sidewalks are crowded, it gets jammed up. It is not that often that OB’s sidewalks get that much traffic, usually during events like the OB Fair. Let’s all relax and see how it goes. If they allow smoking outside, then I will be one to question the decision also.


cg February 16, 2016 at 11:59 am

I love sidewalk cafes too but can you name another one that takes up so much of the public sidewalk in downtown OB? And yes, I have spoken to the manager. An issue like this is only petty when it just starts to intrude.


DC February 16, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Gallaghers, Newport Pizza, Mike’s Tacos, Ob Kebab… Ob quick stop… just to name a few… who cares.. learn how to walk. The people are on the sidewalks because of the stores and restaurants in downtown OB. The real walking should be done along the beach walks and the pier, along our cliffs and natural beaches. I noticed they’ve added fencing along the cliffs. Why don’t you protest against the city taking away walking space from that?

The polls, the articles, the protests… just seems so negative and full of hate. I understand wanting answers but I also believe in more civil approaches, especially in a small community where we are all supposed to care for one and other. I know the owner and I know he loves OB and is a caring and understanding person.

All I have left to say is that I love dinning at The Joint and I will gladly continue spending time and money there and I thank them for providing our community with a more comfortable environment for our families to enjoy their delicious food and drinks! Peace & Love to all :)


rick callejon February 16, 2016 at 11:50 am

WOW! There are “people for hobos pissing on sidewalks.” DC, surely you jest.


Jessica Jones February 16, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Wha Wha Wha! People complain about lack of outdoor seating at the beach, 2 local businesses (Noodle House and the Joint) do something about it, go through great lengths with permitting and pay lots of money to provide a place where people can enjoy and meal outside and people complain about that too. I’m stoked for both businesses, that they have the opportunity to grow and that our community has the chance to enjoy more sunshine while dining out. What’s going to happen when the summer comes around? I’m going to sit outside at 2 of my favorite local spots and enjoy a testy beverage with my friends :)


Clarke February 16, 2016 at 4:38 pm

I am all for outdoor dining, but why does it have to come at the expense of public space? I mean seriously, there are plenty of examples of businesses who went about this within their property lines (and at a sacrifice to their own square footage to allow, i.e. bbq house inset, sunshine company roof patio). This sets a precedent I do not like. That a business can take away my ability to walk side by side with another person, on a public right of way, so they can make money.

I am even more angry that there is a chance (only based on comments above) they pushed the envelope more than they were allowed out of greed, and tax dollars are possibly required fixing it.


rick callejon February 17, 2016 at 12:03 pm

The camera controversy has a number of layers, the issue of privacy being but one. The lack of community input disturbs some. The lack of response from Zapf rankles others.
The waste of the public’s money embitters many.


mr.rick February 17, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Every time you walk by one of the businesses that are encroaching on public property, just have a seat on a chair which is on said public property. And when they order you off the public sidewalk tell ’em to shove off swabby. The customers can sit on the sidewalk. Remember Zeke’s garlic bread and plate of fries. Maynard’s 25 cent taco plate afforded you a seat


Geoff Page February 17, 2016 at 2:38 pm

You can try it, but they have an encroachment permit that gives them control of that space. If they call the PD, you will be removed. If you’re into civil disobedience as a way to make a point, then have at it, just be aware that the space is no longer public space.


Scooby Doo February 17, 2016 at 8:07 pm

Don’t you guys have anything better to worry about?


Jessica Jones February 19, 2016 at 1:12 pm

Both Noodle House and the Joint sat down the the OBMA 2 years ago to start this process, if you have a problem with it you should have voiced it 2 years ago. They have gone through extensive permitting processes and paid a good bit of money to bring outdoor seating to a community that has asked for it. I also might add that both of these businesses support the community. The Joint hosts kid’s night where they donate their profits to OB Elementary, they take a loss to help support the school that their patron’s children attend, Noodle House does similar things. These 2 businesses support and love our OB community and have gone about this process in the right way.


Geoff Page February 19, 2016 at 2:01 pm

I am curious about your comment and want to be sure some of it is correct. To start with, I am in favor of the outdoor seating so far. You said they sat down with the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association (OBMA). This would not be the correct place to go for this process. THE OBMA is a private organization and it has no say over public property. When you said the poster should have spoken up 2 years ago, that is a little unfair if the OBMA was the entity involved in the process because it is not governed by the public meeting rules public entities are. Additionally, this is a merchant’s association that would not normally be on the radar of a regular community resident. They would surely be expected to be in agreement with this. Did you mean the Ocean Beach Planning Board (OBPB)? This should have come before that group as they do represent the community and do have a say in what happens with public property and do publish meeting notices.


cg February 19, 2016 at 2:11 pm

The Joint created an obstacle for pedestrians on a major OB corner. Not sure about Noodle House #1 but Noodle House #2 left plenty of sidewalk and didn’t put up a permanent fence with a locked gate.


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