Planning Commission Approves Froude Project – OB Planning Board Chair Blasts Process

by on May 27, 2016 · 8 comments

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

OB Froude New Design project redIf the Planning Commission does not listen to the voice of the Peninsula Planning Board or the Ocean Beach Planning Board, then what is the purpose of having community groups speak on behalf of the communities they represent.”
–  John Ambert, Chair of OB Planning Board

On Thursday, May 26th, residents along Froude Street in northeast OB received bad news. The San Diego Planning Commission had approved the controversial project where 2 two  large homes with 2 stories and underground garages is planned for 2 small lots. A single-family residence is currently on the lots.

Part of the problem, as we have reported, is that the property is just a few yards from the formal Ocean Beach planning district line – and if it had been in OB, it would not have met the more restrictive requirements that the OB Community Plan. But it was in the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s jurisdiction. Yet, the Peninsula planners voted 9 to 1 against the project and some of them called it “sore thumb” because of its relatively large size and flashy, more modern architecture.

And the OB Planning Board didn’t have a say at all.

John Ambert, chair of the OB Planning Board, blasted the Commission’s decision and the entire process.  He said:

“Approval today will allow developers to use the same project as a benchmark to knock down buildings and redevelop them in a similar style, thereby gentrifying the Ocean Beach community.

“The project proposed is grossly out of scale. It does not make an effort to blend into the surrounding community at all.”

Today’s San Diego U-T article by David Garrick quoted Ambert questioning the city’s approval process for project, raising the issue whether the process is flawed because it appeared that community opposition makes no difference. He said:

If the Planning Commission does not listen to the voice of the Peninsula Planning Board or the Ocean Beach Planning Board, then what is the purpose of having community groups speak on behalf of the communities they represent.”

Jarvis Ross, a member of the Peninsula planning committee said:

“This project would open the door to destroying the existing character of the neighborhood.”

The Planning Commission approved the project with a 5-1 vote, despite several of the Commissioners describing the design as “stark”. The lone “no” vote came from Theresa Quiroz, who said her opposition was based not on size but on the architecture and lack of trees in the proposed design.




{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page May 27, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Mr. Ambert’s quote is right on the mark. Having been through these processes with the same outcomes for other projects, I came to the same conclusion. The Planning Commission is a joke, they do not listen to the community. Just Google the names on the commission and you get the idea and these are Appointed positions, not elected one. For instance, Stephen Haase, the Vice-Chairperson works for a big real estate developer, Baldwin and Sons and before that, he worked for Sudberry Properties, the company that brought the huge Civita development on Friars Road in Mission Valley. The problem with the people on this commission is that they have no accountability as do elected officials. It is a ridiculous step in the process.

The appeal should now move to the City Council, don’t stop.


Geeta May 27, 2016 at 1:38 pm

Geoff – Please describe the next step so that we in O.B. can show up in force to protest.


Geoff Page May 27, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Muncipal Code §112.0508 Process Four Appeals – spells out how to do it, there is a little too much information to post here. Go to page 7 of this link:

Go to The OB Rag story at this link – – to read about a City Council Appeal of a Planning Commission decision that went against the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s denial of a project. The City Council reversed the Planning Commission decision, the appeal was successful. Remember, the City Council consist of elected officials, not appointed ones. If that appeal fails, another can be made to the Coastal Commission.


Deiter May 28, 2016 at 7:18 am

Mr. Page, I believe this already was an appeal from a Process 2 (staff decision?) so the matter is DONE at planning comm. I believe the only way to stop this now is to file an environmental lawsuit challenging the projects conformance with the Community Plan.


Jarvis Ross May 29, 2016 at 11:25 pm

Mr. Dieter you are incorrect.
As Geoff Page correctly pointed out under Muni code 112.0508 Process Four Appeals within ten days f the Planning Commission decision it can be appealed to be heard before the city council.


Lyle May 30, 2016 at 8:59 am

The Notice of Decision of 8-16-15 says this is a Process 2 project. I could find no document saying this is a Process 4; perhaps Geoff or Jarvis could provide that.

The Notice of Public hearing of 5-12-16 says “The decision made by the Planning Commission is the final decision by the City.” And that it is not appealable to the coastal commission.


Jarvis Ross May 30, 2016 at 2:01 pm

The hearing was a process 2 it’s the Appeal that is a process 4….look it up in the municipal code 11 appeal number 4 (Note there are 5 different appeal processes.)
I the past developer projects have typically been opposed by community planning boards and approved by developer services department. Then they were appealed by Planning Boards to the Planning Commission. The latter being comprised of realtors , archectects, and former Planning Department members typically supports ( no surprise) supports the developer. Then it can be appealed to the city council. If the city council supports the developer as in a recent case it did . Then it went to court and the court ruled against the city and the developer.


Geoff Page May 31, 2016 at 9:05 am

Jarvis has it correct Lyle and Dieter. In addition to what he described, the project may also be appealed to the Coastal Commission if it required a Coastal Development permit and I’m sure it did because of its proximity to the ocean.


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