Coastal Commission Still to Rule on Huge 63-Unit Project Slated for Mission Beach School Site

by on May 3, 2016 · 0 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Politics, San Diego

Mission Beach dev map 1 edThere’s a whole bunch of Mission Beach residents who have been questioning and challenging a proposed 63-unit development project being slated for the community’s former elementary school site. As the LA Times reports, they are now pinning their hopes of blocking it with the California Coastal Commission, which still has not finalized any decision on the 2 acre project.

Mission Beach Schoolsite02With the Coastal Commission raising some issues about the development, the stakes just got higher for the developer, Chris McKellar, who is currently resting his laurels on the fact that the City Council voted 6 to 2 in favor of the project. Residents are banking that the Commission will overturn this decision in early 2017.

During a four-hour hearing before the council vote April 11, dozens of residents criticized the project over park space, traffic and concerns that the scale of the development would be too intense for the mostly residential area.

Alexander Llerandi, an analyst for the Coastal Commission emphasized the residents’ concerns in a letter submitted to the City. In the letter, the coastal program analyst for the commission’s San Diego district, said Coastal staff have ” identified several areas of concern regarding the project as currently proposed.”

Among these areas of concern are:

  • the size and location of a park included in the project,
  • whether the project adheres to the community’s character and
  • what potential negative effects the 63 new housing units could have on public coastal access;
  • also questioned are plans to put the alleys and passageways running through the project under private control, which could jeopardize the public’s access to Mission Bay from Mission Boulevard;
  • concerns about the development being approved in two pieces — a 53-unit project and a 12-unit project — even though it will occupy a site that has historically been unified as the former location of Mission Beach Elementary; and residents contend the developer wanted the projects approved separately to reduce some city requirements.

In response, the developer McKellar says:

the 0.22-acre linear park along Mission Boulevard he is proposing would be less likely to exacerbate the area’s problems with homelessness than a more secluded and larger park, which residents had suggested.

Regarding the project’s size and community character, … the project would be 20% less dense than the zoning allows and would feature fewer housing units per acre than any of the surrounding development.

Making the alleys private could be viewed as a positive, the developer said, because the city won’t have to pay to maintain them and the public would be granted a permanent easement guaranteeing passage through the project.

The residents fear this project, because if “it goes forward, it would probably be the last large project built in Mission Beach for many years because of a lack of available land.”

Commission staff have not reviewed the project thoroughly nor meet with the developer.

The OB Rag has been following the issue of this property and any development on it; we reported on the sale of the school property to developers 3 years ago. A couple months ago we ran a Reader’s Rant entitled: “The Case of the Shrinking Park : Where Is the Park Promised to Mission Beach in New Large Development at Former School Site?”

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