The Hub of Ocean Beach: Planning District 4

by on February 29, 2016 · 0 comments

in California, Civil Rights, Culture, Election, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

OB Plan Bd Dist 4 mapOB Plan Area Map goodEditor: As we continue in our series looking at the different districts within the Ocean Beach Planning Area, today we settle in District 4 – the Hub of OB. The election of the OB Planning Board is Wednesday, March 2nd. See their website for details.

District 4 – The Center of the Village – the Hub of OB

It’s easy to see why District 4 is indeed the center and hub of the community of Ocean Beach. Just look at a map and you’ll see that the business district and the main beach are both in this district.

OB Dist 4 Newpt frod 04 close

An overview of District 4. (Pic shot from front yard at Froude and Newport. Thanks to Shane)

Downtown OB – the 3 commercial blocks of Newport Avenue and the adjacent side streets – is certainly the center of the community, no matter how you measure it. Traffic, pedestrians, events, happenings, music, food – and of course drink – it all – or most of it anyhow – happens right there.

OB Dist 4 NEwport upr 06

Looking down Newport Avenue from the hill.

And then there’s the beach itself – the natural draw of the community on any summer day and on many other days as well.

OB Dist 4 beachFrom the OB Pier parking lot past Saratoga, the beach is laid out. So, between the business district and the beach – the rest of the community revolves around them.

One of the larger districts within the planning boundaries of OB, District 4 is the only one of the seven that stretches from the beach – the natural western boundary – all the way to Froude Street, the eastern boundary.

OB Dist 4 Alley SoBound

The southeastern boundary of District 4: the alley between Newport and Niagara up at Froude.

The northern boundary is the alley between Saratoga to the south and Cape May to the north. The district’s own southern boundary is the alley between Niagara and Newport – so, the district does not include the entire business district centered on Newport Avenue.

OB Dist 4 Apts 4

Paradoxically, there’s more concrete the closer you get to the beach.

Internal to the district, Sunset Cliffs Boulevard cuts the eastern third off – and provides the border between the more dense and congested area of OB with the lesser dense area.

The district has all the streets that run generally north and south: Abbott, Bacon, Cable, Sunset Cliffs, Ebers and Froude – and the well-traveled streets of Santa Monica and Saratoga.

This district is the only district that has substantial representatives of the three major types of zoning: commercial, the zone that allows for apartments, and the zone that allows mainly for single-family homes.

OB Dist 4 cottgs 01

Many small and cute cottages in the district.

There is a substantial distinction between the housing west of Sunset Cliffs and those residences east of the busy boulevard. The west portion allows for apartments and a higher density. And with the apartments come curb-cuts, higher demand for parking, and a higher concentration of people.

On the east side, it’s mainly single-family homes. Although there are quite a few cottages and small, older homes on the west side. And there’s plenty of second residences built behind the front, older one. But, the area on the east side is just a slower paced neighborhood, less-congested, less parking issues.

The higher you go up the hill, of course, the more you find the upscale, larger homes, and many of them have been rehabbed.

Government Facilities in District

By far most of the government facilities in OB are within this district, from the federal Post Office branch to the Lifeguard station, the OB Library, the Rec Center, the OB Park next to it, Bob Kinney Field and the OB Elementary School.

OB Dist 4 SantaMon 02

Most of the government facilities are down this street – Santa Monica Avenue, from the ball fields, Rec Center, School, library, Post Office to the Lifeguard station.

Along the 4700 block of Santa Monica is a kids’ universe, with the school, private non-profits for children across the street, the various parks and ball fields.

OB Dist 4 RecCtr BB pk 01

Public resources: the Rec Center, basketball court, and playground and park.

OB Dist 4 OB Park

The greens of the OB Park.

Also the district includes of course, the beach, Saratoga Park (there’s an active movement to rename it the “Ruth Varney Held Park” after OB’s preeminent historian), the two parking lots – but not the OB Pier – that’s in District 5. This district then receives most of the attention from government.

OB Dist 4 KennyFld 02

The Bob Kenny Field. Kenny used to run the OB Rec Center for years.

The Feds, the City and the School District all have money flowing into this area – and all their employees enjoy the business district.

OB Dist 4 ElemSch

OB Elementary School

OB Dist 4 Lifgrd 01

OB’s main lifeguard station and public parking lot.

OB Dist 4 Sara Pk

Saratoga Park fights a constant battle against the sand – and now perhaps development. As noted, there is an active movement to rename the part the “Ruth Varney Held Park” after OB’s preeminent historian.

District Impacted by Tourists and New Development Projects

OB Dist 4 look no

Most of the churches in OB are within this district. As are most of the tattoo parlors and bars.


New condos at Saratoga and Abbott.

The condos at Saratoga and Abbott have been finally built – we call them the “million-dollar condos” (they’re actually more) – and they’re still having issues and problems. The developers were warned by the community that it often floods in that area – but underground garages were still built. In January 2016, the floods came – and the underground garage was indeed flooded – twice.

OB CVS Dec 2014 tdgarateIn addition, the former Apple Tree marke was replaced recently by CVS – which signed a “community benefits” agreement via the OB Town Council.

The district will also see a new plaza at the southeast corner of Santa Monica and Cable over the next year or so. Plus, a new mixed use project has been approved for the end of Santa Monica.

Because of the beach and the businesses, many of the tourists and visitors to the community end up in District 4. So, traffic congestion is high during the season and during Farmers Market days, and parking is impossible on summer days. Crowds are busy, noise is up, and litter is down – in the gutter or on the sidewalk.

All the problems and factors associated with the restaurants and bars in the district have a huge impact; they bring in much of the outside money flowing into OB for food, drink and entertainment; many people are employed in this industry, the bar-restaurant industry in OB, and many spend money here and even live here.

Newport Ave 4900 blockYet, those problems linger too. The public intoxication and urination. The staggering numbers of available drinking pubs is amazing on that last block of Newport. Counting bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, we counted eleven establishments on just that one block. And then just a half block away on either side, and up the block, there’s at least another seven. That’s 18.

Then there’s the encroachments by some of those restaurants and bars into the public sidewalks.

OB Dist 4 seawallIn short, the residents and property owners of District 4 are definitely impacted by the thousands of visitors and tourists who pour into the area, drink, eat and go to the beach. More so than other districts, if you think about the market days, the music events, etc.

Of course, many locals go to the main business area, as its a natural draw for everyone – “the hub”.

We also have to note that District 4 is also the hub of OB’s art and music scene, with several live music venues, an alternative theater, murals and a couple of coffeehouses.

OB Dist 4 Torrey P Sara 01

The Torrey Pines of Saratoga Avenue. Looking west down the 4600 block.

Many locals also know that on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue in the district is one of the best local stands of majestic Torrey Pines towering over their human inhabitants and their humble abodes. Recently, however, two of the majestic giants were cut down by the City over a few complaints – despite a last-minute protest by residents.

OB Dist 4 Torrey P east

Former view of the Torrey Pines – looking up the hill.

At times, Torrey Pines are revered in OB as some people have gone to great lengths to save just one, understanding that these OB trees have a long history.

District Seats on the OB Planning Board

District 4 has two representatives on the OB Planning Board: Craig Klein and Andrew Waltz. Klein is a long-time member of the Board and is currently in his second term. He was most recently appointed to one of the seats, and it is that seat that is up for election. Waltz took his seat in May 2013 and it will be up for election March 2017.

The Board is having its annual election on March 2nd. Any OB resident, property owner or business owner can take part.

OB Dist 4 sm hses3The district has plenty of cute cottages and small houses – many of been rehabbed over the years. And it has a new sense of congestion – the congestion from too many rehabs.

Join us for a tour around the district….

OB Dist 4 SingFam Pack 2

Looking up the hill.

OB Dist 4 olRocHs

Some 1970’s history: this house on Saratoga used to be called “Rock House” for its huge boulder and all the gravel in the front yard. It housed community activists for years including several former OB Rag staffers.

OB Dist 4 Grosch hs

The Grosch family residence – a family of OB activists.

OB Dist 4 Berrill Hse

Casa de Berrill, another house of OB activists.

OB Dist 4 sm cots2

These small cottages have survived for decades.

OB Dist 4 SingFam HsOB Dist 4 sm hsesOB Dist 4 RedHs 03

There’s slope to the hill in District 4.

OB Dist 4 SingFam 01

Congestion is quite evident if you look for it.

OB Dist 4 mix apt 4rent

Many apartments mean many renters.

OB Dist 4 mxAptSF 01

OB Dist 4 Apts

Small single-family houses, cottages with hidden court yards … folks in this district enjoy their slice of OB.OB Dist 4 cottgs 02

Upstairs units, above garages, new paint jobs, …

OB Dist 4 Apts 02

This is District 4. The Hub of OB.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: