City Council Votes to Finance Point Loma Pocket Park

by on March 9, 2016 · 45 comments

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

Pt Loma Pocket Park aerialDeveloper Fees to Be Used for “Canon Street Park”

By Peninsula Activist

Just 28 years in the making, a new park is coming to Point Loma.

The San Diego City Council by unanimous vote locked in developer fees to finance a new passive park for the peninsula The action came on a consent agenda item on Tuesday, March 8. There was no opposition.

The park will be on city-owned land at the upper end of Avenida de Portugal above Canon Street. It is about two-thirds of an acre and is intended as a walk-in pocket park. The council vote sets aside $840,000 in developer fees, with the proviso that unspent money be returned to the account. Maintenance funds of $11,000 annually are set aside for after the park’s completion, expected in 2018-19.

“This is a big, big day for us and our team,” said community activist Jon Linney who with Don Sevrens has led a 20-month effort to create the park. United Portuguese SES stepped forward as the nonprofit sponsor and civic clubs are pledging money to help pay for extras the community wants in its park.

The work’s not over for Linney, Sevrens and team. “We expect we will be raising $100,000 for the extras,” Linney said. Possible features include items reflecting the neighborhood’s history, culture and nautical connections, statutes and a nautical play structure for children.

The Peninsula Community Planning Board has been protective of the site as a park for 26 years. It was instrumental in putting it in the 1987 Community Plan, thus making the site eligible for Development Impact Fees. Another board rescued the site from the city’s surplus property list where the land would have been sold to the highest bidder, probably for condominiums. Still other boards pushed to have the land designated as a public park site and to vacate a road that bisected the property, at least on paper.

The current board, however, felt that actual creation of a park strayed from its main mission and should instead be a matter for community activists.

Enter Linney and Sevrens who went door to door, presented to groups and rounded up a team of volunteers. A pivotal point was arranging a cleanup of the site. Burtech Pipeline Co. helped provide heavy equipment and operators to augment the neighborhood volunteers.

“As we worked,” Linney recalls, “passing motorists honked and gave us the thumbs-up sign.The clean-up gathered 12 dumptruck loads of debris and signaled that this was now more than a 26-year idea, that the park was happening.”

On city documents, the newest park carries the name Canon Street Park. Many in the community,. However, are pressing for “Portuguese” in the name, perhaps Portuguese Community Park.

Our goal is for this park to be special, like no other pocket park the city has ever seen,” said Sevrens.

Public workshops later this year will gather residents’ input to help shape the park. There is widespread sentiment for features that celebrate the neighborhood’s Portuguese culture and nautical history while allowing visitors to stroll through colorful plantings that can be a model for water-wise gardens.

Cultural features being discussed include a “Man and the Wheel” statue and one of “Woman and Children” staring out at San Diego Harbor, awaiting the fleet’s return. Historical placards sprinkled through the park would tell of key moments in the neighborhood’s history such as the first Portuguese settlers around 1880 and the era of 20 tuna canneries in 1910-20. During World War II, many tunaboats went out to sea to assist in the war effort – and some never returned.

Instead of grass fields, the passive park is likely to have meandering trails, benches and colorful plants that can thrive on little water. Instead of a tot lot, an imaginative children’s play structure is envisioned, perhaps a stylized galleon with seating for parents to socialize.

“We’re reaching out to the San Diego County Water Authority,” Sevrens said. “If we gain their help, the park could be a demonstration for residents, complete with species placards and online support to show what does well in this climate while reducing water usage. We’d like to see the park be a waypoint for bicyclists and joggers. Fellow planning board member and bicycling official Nicole Burgess is taking the lead in that regard.”

Ann Swanson, now chair of the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Council, did a 2006 survey that showed the Point Loma Peninsula fell short of national standards for park acreage per thousands of population by 600 acres. Roseville, one of the city’s earliest neighborhoods, does not even have a park to call its own.

It is rare that the Point Loma has significant Developer Impact Fees to devote to infrastructure. The sale and demolition of Barnard Elementary School for 180 condominiums provided an opportunity. City department heads identified the pocket park as the number one priority for that money. Council Member Lorie Zapf agreed and the Peninsula Community Planning Board gave its unanimous support last September.

Community workshops have not been scheduled as yet, but it is anticipated they will be later this year, probably in the UPSES Social Hall on Avenida de Portugal.

“When it happens,” Linney said, “everyone is going to know. This is a community asset, a community effort and we want everyone to have the opportunity to speak to this park.”

To be on a notification list for future park developments, please email or

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Byron Wear March 9, 2016 at 2:52 pm

Great work done by Councilmember Lorie Zapf and the Peninsula community for following through with implementation of our 1987 Peninsula Community Plan. The view park site will create a great landscaped bike and pedestrian linkage to Canon Street and the Point Loma Village. A win for Point Loma!


Cynthia March 9, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Just wanted to comment that in ’06, myself and Margaret Valentine, then Planning Board members actually did the official ‘Park Survey’ for the City of San Diego, documenting it with photos (still have the CD) and written descriptions. At the time, the park deficit was nearly 100 acres per ‘City Municipal Code’ for ‘Neighborhood Parks,’ (2.8 acres per 1,000/population). Noting that the Roseville Community had ‘zero’ Neighborhood Parks, when a next door neighbor petitioned to ‘purchase that adjacent vacant street’ for a mere $3500.00 per (Coastal Property Values of near $300-500/sq. ft. now) section (and, did accomplish a partial purchase such with part of the present board), our board denied it…pushing for an addition to our ‘Neighborhood parks’, then.

In addition, another area that has also been ‘eyed, repeatedly for development’ that (after leaving PCPB as Chair) with the next PCPB board, we were able to ‘move from the DS department’, to the ‘Park & Rec Department’ of the City, another similar-sized acreage. When will this be recognized by the City for this community, as well-to be ‘added to’ our ‘existing parks’ so that the community can ‘replace acreage’ that has been ‘lost to public use,’ such as Dana’s ‘shared use fields’, removed, a few years ago?


Susie March 9, 2016 at 7:06 pm

Well as usual $$$ Talks.

All of this $$ $ could be used to help fund Homelessness & Maybe hire some more
School teachers.
So what if there’s a park deficit, it won’t matter when school children have No teachers &
& more people are camping out in the neighborhoods.

Too bad that ‘neighbor’ didn’t buy up all the land & build
some Homeless persons a place to live. That would be better for Humanity than a pocket park . Really.. Who cares about a silly park when there are such more pressing social issues? As usual politicians have their heads in the sand.
That includes former and present ones too. Shelter Island is park enough.
Ask your selves why Jon Linney & company wanted a park there?
Why ? What’s his motivation? Politics. Just so he can say I built a park.
Did an illegal & unauthorized cleanup too.
Give me a break. It’s All so unecesary too.
All that $$$ could go to help people who need it.
Point Loma does not need another pocket park where drugs can be bought and sold in private. Who will clean up all the trash when all the ner do wells show up ?
And show up they will. I am sure Jon Linney won’t as he will be busy politickin!
And his mentor will not be able to do so.
Yuk. Double yuk. Do Gooders… Go do some Good
Park not needed.
Go to Shelter Island or Kellogg Beach.


Byron Wear March 9, 2016 at 8:29 pm

The new Ave del Portugal park has been in our Peninsula Community Plan since 1987. Additional pocket parks and public spaces are needed in Roseville. Many community volunteers have worked toward this goal for a very long time. Complaining about drugs or homeless on our parks as an excuse to not have parks doesn’t make any sense. The Park is needed.


Susie March 9, 2016 at 8:34 pm

Never mind
Your opinion never mattered anyway


Byron Wear March 9, 2016 at 8:52 pm

I respect everyone’s opinion on issues, even when I disagree.


Susie March 9, 2016 at 8:57 pm



Susie March 9, 2016 at 8:59 pm

U don’t even Know what you don’t know
Go back back on your High horse. Ugh


Byron Wear March 10, 2016 at 6:59 am

We are so blessed to live in a wonderful community here in Point Loma and Ocean Beach with great people and rich diverse culture.


Fstued March 10, 2016 at 8:08 am

Great to turn à vacant lot into a park. That spot has been a bit of an eyesore for some time. yes there are pressing issues but this a a good cause and needed.
Thank you to all involved in making it happen. Another sausage almost completed
Stu Seymour


PL Local March 10, 2016 at 8:45 am

I understand what Susie is saying.

Why do we really need another park? There are seriously more parks in Point Loma than there are Grocery stores and Schools combined. Westminster, Point Loma Little League, Sunset Cliffs, Carrillo Rec., Shelter Island, Kellogg’s, and one right across the street from this site Canon st park.

Remember when the little girl and dad were hit while crossing Canon st, while not paying attention. And everyone got in an uproar and wanted Canon st CLOSED and a park put in. Who are all these people wanting parks? Do these people not know California is in a drought?

$11,000 annually. ~$1k a month. ~$250 a week or ~$50 a day! Seems like that money could be spent somewhere else and be way more beneficial. Like fixing pot holes and protecting the Cliffs.


Susie March 10, 2016 at 9:09 am

If a Park was necessary, it would have been on the ‘plan ‘ from the early days when Avenida de Portugal was known as Addison St & b4 the route was changed.
This is a recent decision by people wanting to seek office in the future and need a paper trail of doing something to show how good they are. All political
Where were they in 2007 when me & a friend spent Days cleaning up trash, Debri, wood, garbage, sleeping bags, sofas & filling in holes where bicycles wanted to make ‘jumps’?
Where were all the do Gooders then?
I couldn’t even get Anyone connected to anything with Pt Loma planners to even call me back. I called all city depts; Nothing.
I called the Fire dept for all the dead brush, Nothing.
Finally, a group came and took away some heavy furniture debri and some dead brush.
I made call after call. Over many days and weeks. This was in 2007 & until 4-2008.
So don’t tell me this park is Soooooo needed.
Where were u Byron ? Up on your high horse resting on your Laurels.
When you were on CC, we were all so ready for u to Go. If it wasn’t for your friend ship w Jeff, you would have Never been there anyway.
Now that the park is supposedly a done deal, you pop up. OMG
So unbelievable. There’s a pocket park in your neighborhood already. No body goes there by druggies.
San Diego $$$ could go to better causes than a very small pocket park that does not need to be built & to have ongoing fees & $$ spent every year. Put that money at Lincoln High. They need help over there. Clean up the Barrio so children don’t have to get Asta from all the pollution . So much good could be done.
You All should feel guilty about a Stooopid park when SD citizens are in such need and have died on the street since they have no where to go.
You all make me sick. Double yuk.
Ummm go have another garage sale Byron and over charge for your lovely chatzkies and give the $$$ to the poor. You are so selfish & self righteous.


PL Local March 10, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Sorry for being one of the ones who built bike jumps. We had fun building and jumping them, and we learned a lot. I would like to encourage kids to get out of their houses and go dig a hole!


Geoff Page March 10, 2016 at 4:49 pm

I agree, well said.


Susie March 10, 2016 at 5:38 pm

It is Illegal to dig those holes so no wonder you don’t write your name down
Lots of Bravado when you are Anonymous. So childish
Too. Go make your jumps at the beach unless now you are way too old for that.
I think you are the ones who also used to bring mopeds up to the field & tear up all the wild flowers and vegetation & left all hour garbage for others to clean up.
I used to collect many shovels, hoes & pitch forks over about 2 years. I sold them for $ in garage sales. So Thank you. It was my pleasure to always cover up those hazardous jumps. I do believe SDPD spoke with you to cease & desist as well!
Which you did finally. It gave us lots of good exercise to fill in those holes.
I was always Very Happy to do it too.
What have you done positive for your community besides vandalism mister pl local ?
If YOU are not part of solution YOU are part of the problem as evidenced by your own Admission. Loooooser


Jon March 10, 2016 at 8:37 pm

^Taken straight from the Donald Trump guide to political discourse Vol. 2.0B


Susie March 10, 2016 at 10:16 pm

One thing is for sure, Jon, You have being a Yes man down pat.
State taught u well. Umm consider Grad school & drop out of politickin;
U R not really cut out for it. Someone always had to Lead you. Sad


Jon March 11, 2016 at 9:35 am

Lol… Mr. Susie, promulgator of folderol world champ 2016!


Susie March 11, 2016 at 11:28 am

Jon, Jon, Again, You are being lead !
Do not Believe everything you read, ok. Life rule # 1.
And no, Not a mister ! Silly !
Go back to school. Get out of politics. It’s not for U


Jon March 11, 2016 at 12:45 pm

You’re so right. I’ve been lead all my life! Where to? Who knows. But at least I made it to OB! And at least I’m not cookoo for coco puffs. Although I am engaging in a blog post scuffle with a crazy person. Anyway…Put away the crack pipe and come on back when you can string together a coherent sentence. Peace.


Chuck March 11, 2016 at 6:28 am

Susie, kids really like bikes and dirt…you’re ignorant on the subject


Susie March 11, 2016 at 9:01 am

We can All like bikes and dirt too
Just don’t do Vandalism to property that’s not yours.
Whose Ignorant now?


Chuck March 11, 2016 at 9:14 am

I really don’t consider kids taking vacant lots not being utilized and turning them into something useful vandalism? You stated the lot was full of trash and had no purpose before this park idea came to light… But there were kids trying to make it something and you stole their equipment and kicked them out of property that wasn’t yours either. Can you explain why that was necessary and what that provided the community?


editordude March 11, 2016 at 6:55 am

“Susie” – I’m stepping in here, especially after “Susie” accused someone else of not using their name. “Susie” is not the name of the male making comments under this moniker, so we’re calling Susie out on his/her hypocrisy.


Susie March 11, 2016 at 9:05 am

Oh Contrare:
That’s my nickname to all people who know me !


PL Local March 11, 2016 at 9:33 am

Sue me!

The lot has never been used. The best use was when their were bike jumps there. What’s better, staring at a TV screen or playing outside. Outside.

This is the internet. I can be anonymous or not. I choose to be anonymous (PL Local) years ago. Some people still know me. But who cares about names. And you seem pretty anonymous yourself “Susie __?__”

Sorry, beach sand isn’t all that great for build with. I do visit the quarter pipe from time to time down at the cliffs. But, like all of us, as we get older we learn we ain’t unbreakable.

Sorry, don’t own or have never owned a moped.

Sorry again, never left any trash or tools. But good job on you for stealing tools and selling them.

SDPD never talked to me, and I feel it would be a waste of their time. I once had a homeowner (from Concord/Bangor st.) talk to me saying he owned the property. Told me if we were to get hurt we could then sue him. I told him he better fence off the entire trail since people can easily twist their ankle walking the trail.

Good job on your exercise. That was our exercise as kids. Better than being stuck in a room getting fat and dumb.

I have done lots of positive for my community. I may be young, but I have done positive, and am always looking to improve my neighborhood.

Susie from all of your comments I find you very hostile and a little uneducated. It seems you have a problem with someone / something. I can’t really tell because you cannot form a readable sentence.

Also, why do you want Point Loma funds to go to Lincon High? Are you yourself high?


Chuck March 11, 2016 at 9:59 am

Youth led involvement and development on this piece of property when no one else had a vision for it should be applauded. Some direction and support from the community adults could have made it in to something very special. Riding bikes on these types of trails/jumps literally feeds the US Olympic Teams. To treat these kids as criminals is very short sighted and again just plain ignorant.

Starting a “bike club” that provided a safe place to ride and enjoy excessive outside would have been better use of your effort. To not support and develop these kids energy and vision was wasted opportunity. Here is another example of what you call vandalism…


PL Local March 11, 2016 at 2:22 pm

Seriously. WTF are you saying. I can’t read your gibberish.

Lincoln High has nothing to do with Point Loma. Same with Barrio Logan.

You must be high. Please sober down and write so that others can read it, otherwise we won’t read it.


Susie March 11, 2016 at 10:29 pm

Read or Don’t
Makes No Difference at all to me
It is what it is
You sound very under educated.


Geoff Page March 10, 2016 at 9:42 am

While I like parks as much as everyone else, my problem with this process was devoting all of the available developer fees from this one condo project to this little park with no community input. They say they are going to hold workshops for public input on how the park should look. What they really needed to do was hold community meetings to find out how people in the peninsula thought this nearly a million dollar pot should be spent. One poster here talked about the homeless.

There are a lot of other possibilities. I live near Collier Park and it used to have play equipment that was all taken out some years ago. I’d like to see some of that come back for the kids that come to the park This park is used by a a large number of folks and could have used some of that money and it is very accessible. I’m sure others have suggestions. This little pocket park is nice but has no parking and access for anyone but those in the immediate neighborhood will be very difficult. Clean it up, do some landscaping, but spend $840,000, I think that is overkill by a large margin.


Geoff Page March 10, 2016 at 10:49 am

There is a line in this story that is entirely inaccurate. This line is:

“The current board, however, felt that actual creation of a park strayed from its main mission and should instead be a matter for community activists.”

The current Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) has been involved in this park issue all along. Most notably, the PCPB voted in favor of spending the $840,000 in developer fees on the park, that is in their public record. The PCPB would not agree that creating parks is straying from its mission, there is a standing subcommittee codified in the PCPB By-Laws called Parks and Recreation. On top of that, both of the people mentioned in this effort, Jon Linney and Don Sevrens, are on the PCPB.

After rereading some of this article, I have to agree with one poster, although not as stridently, that it appears a few individuals who do deserve recognition are being cast as the only ones who brought the park to this stage. That is obviously not so. Where the writer got the idea that the PCPB left this to community activists bears clarification from the writer.


fstued March 10, 2016 at 11:15 am

Amazed at all the negative comments. Maybe the city should have sold it to a developer they could put 18 units there easy, have room left over and made some money.

Well I guess SD would have given it to a developer with tax incentives


unwashedwalmarTHONG March 11, 2016 at 11:31 am

Retaining wall & xeriscaping, that’s all that is needed to improve the lot. $800K! Sounds like that BR built over by Brighton St.


Debbie March 11, 2016 at 4:25 pm

I hope they maintain it better than the OB entryway that looks like crap…how much did WE pay for that? Should have left the pizza parlor there!


Jon Linney March 11, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Good Afternoon

I just wanted to thank everyone for thier support even the people that are second guess the project that will bring the community together. Together we will make it happen!


Muir Avenue Ale March 12, 2016 at 1:09 am

Curious about the photo . . . was a drone used?


La Playa Heritage March 12, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Great work getting the Peninsula Development Impact Fee (DIF) Cash Reserves Fund Balance flowing.

See Pages 17, 48, and 69 for FY-2015 Peninsula DIF Fund 400118.
Beginning Balance $722,162 + Fees Collected $931,417 + Interest Earned $10,172 – Expenditures $73,181 = Ending Balance $1,590,570 as of June 30, 2015.

The Peninsula DIF fund had +$446,100 in Cash Reserves over 5 years old, which had to be expended ASAP. If the City hoards Cash Reserves in Fund Balances, then new DIF Fees are not needed, and in theory should not be collected.

$750,570 = $1,590,570 – $840,000.

There is still +$750,570 Cash left in Peninsula DIF Funds available immediately that can be used during the upcoming FY-2017 Budget.


Dudley Street 92106 March 12, 2016 at 9:55 pm

So excited this project is taking off! Looking forward to taking my sons to this location. Will there be name plaques available for donors and contributors?


korla Eaquinta March 13, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Thank you for this clarification. It is use it or loose it with those DIF funds.


unwashedwalmartTHONg March 13, 2016 at 10:32 pm

Of course you can buy a plaque, but everybody must sign their names as Ozymandias.
$840K for a lil park is ridiculous. Feckin’ eejits & politicians runnin’ reckless.


Byron Wear March 14, 2016 at 8:28 am

Just a note of City of San Diego Capital costs. Unfortunately the City charges a 40% overhead on capital projects. In addition the City must build facilities, such as parks and recreational facilities to high standards, ADA, retaining walls, planning and architectural, public review process, etc. So the actual capital cost may actually be less in the $450 k range. For exame the cost for the North OB restroom was $1.4 million. Lifeguard Station $4 million, etc.


Geoff Page March 14, 2016 at 9:09 am

The Brighton Street bathroom at $1.4 million is THE perfect example of why the City should not be allowed to build anything. That structure should have cost a third of what it did.


unwashedwallmartThong March 14, 2016 at 7:22 pm

Exactly, Geoff. As I recall, one of my first posts for the OBRag was regarding the cost of the restrooms. As I recall, I found some portable restrooms on line at a fraction of the cost.
Fine, install a Keystone type retaining wall w/ ADA compliant ramps & some xeriscape.
Oh, & maybe some lighting & perhaps a bit of irrigation, palm trees, eucalyptus, & then– You see, it may never end. Before we know it, the $840k will be a distant & fond memory because the project will balloon up to boondoggle proportions.


Geoff Page March 15, 2016 at 9:32 am

We are in agreement UWT.


plsinz68 April 23, 2016 at 11:17 pm

Co Founder
Point Loma Community Park
June 2014 – Present (1 year 11 months)Greater San Diego Area
Founded a dirt lot that has been vacant for 28 years. After 20 months myself and the other co-founder were able to lock in $840,000 from the city to fund the park. ANOTHER NOTCH ON JONNY’S GUN…………….. STRANGE MOTIVE , LOOKS PRETTY ON THE POLITICAL RESUME.


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