Reader Rant: ‘Sorry, Ocean Beach, your opinion doesn’t count.

by on May 12, 2016 · 9 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach, Reader Rant

OB Froude typ project parry

New proposed project

2 Multi-Story Residences on Border Between OB and Point Loma Approved by City Without OB Planning Board Input, While Peninsula Board Votes to Oppose Project

By Tom and Judy Parry

“Sorry, Ocean Beach, your opinion doesn’t count.”

That’s essentially what the city has told residents of a quiet Ocean Beach street where two multistory residences would be squeezed onto a tiny parcel and tower over the single-family homes on the block, if a developer prevails, . The ultra-modern architecture would blend in with Southern California Spanish style homes and graceful bungalows as well as a fisherman’s wading boots at a black tie dinner.

That’s the situation where we live, on Froude Street between Voltaire and Greene Street. The applicant wants two twin residences on two tiny lots, each just 25 feet wide.

OB Froude typical st scene Parry

Examples of current residences on Froude

There’s an imaginary line that runs down Froude Street – our side is under Peninsula Community Planning Board jurisdiction. The other side, though less than 50 feet away, belongs in the Ocean Beach Planning Board district.

So one side gets to vote. However, the city doesn’t care what the other side thinks.

The advisory Peninsula Planning Board voted 9 to 1 in January to recommend denial of the project. The proposal never went to the Ocean Beach Planning Board.

In February, the City Development Services Department in a meeting closed to the public voted to allow the project to go forward.

Appeal to Planning Commission on May 26th

The fight is not over yet. On May 26 an appeal to the Planning Commission at City Hall will be our last chance. Neighbors on our side of the street and representatives of the Peninsula Board will appeal the city staff decision.

The Ocean Beach Planning Board? Oh, that’s right, it was never allowed to get involved. The Ocean Beach Board cannot be a party to an appeal.

OB Froude typical parry

More typical residences on Froude

How would the Ocean Beach Board vote if given the chance? Valerie Paz, now a former OB Board member, attended the meeting of the sister board and was asked that very question. “Unanimously against,” she replied. The building, on this street, “would be like a red dot on a wedding dress.”

The building seems to meet legal requirements – if you don’t look too closely at how far the rules are bent:

  • The residences are allowed to exceed the 30-foot height limit, as we understand it, because they get a bonus for solar panels.
  • The buildings’ footprint cannot exceed 75 percent of the land area. The two residences of 1,814 square feet each over a 1,073 square foot basement would be squeezed onto two legal lots totaling just 4,618 square feet. This massive blot on the neighborhood would come in just 35.5 square feet shy of the maximum. That 35.5 square feet is about the area of a 10-foot couch in your living room.
  • The proposal meets city parking requirements – which conveniently ignore that on-street parking would be lost as 24 feet of the 50-foot combined front width would be curb cuts. (Our street, like much of Ocean Beach, rarely has an open parking space,particularly with clients of Voltaire commercial establishments spilling over onto Froude.)
  • Instead of front yards, picture windows and impressive front doors, this twin set would have garages jutting out and vehicles sticking up on sloped driveways.
OB Froude typ demoHaus perry

House slated for demolition.

We’re just laymen – not attorneys – dealing with the city’s very confusing rules. But the language of the city’s Municipal Code seems to state clearly enough that this project is NOT legal.

Section 131.046 (a) reads:

Purpose of the RM (Residential-Multiple Unit) Zones… The RM zones individually accommodate developments with similar densities and characteristics.”

No way will the densities and characteristics be similar on Froude Street.

OB Froude typical 3 ParryIncidentally, buildings this massive cannot be built on the Ocean Beach side of the street. The new Ocean Beach Community Plan bans structures from occupying more than 70% of the land.

We like our neighborhood. Sure, the lots are Ocean Beach small and the houses accordingly must be of modest size. But it is home.

By the way, do you know how wide a 25-foot lot is? If a Chargers player were running the ball, it wouldn’t be a first down. If a Padres player were legging out an infield hit, he would have to run across four lots to get to first base. In Ocean Beach, apparently, 25 feet is enough for half of a mega- matched pair.

OB Froude typical 2 ParryThe city’s rules are complicated, so complicated the city staff can get confused. When the Development Services Department voted to allow this project to go forward on Feb. 17, it issued a Notice of Decision. The fourth line of that notice states:

“COMMUNITY PLAN AREA: Ocean Beach.”

Which raises the question, did Development Services just approve a project not knowing what community plan area it is in?

What would we like to see happen?

We are asking the Planning Commission to reject the project while suggesting to the developer to work with the neighbors on something more appropriate. Ignore the imaginary line running down Froude Street and allow both boards and residents of both sides of the street to voice their opinions.

Oh yes, suggest the developer save the ultramodern design blueprints for a different neighborhood with larger lots and this century’s architectural styles.

That would be a win/win for everyone, not a way to ruin home values on a quiet Ocean Beach street lined with graceful homes.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar kh May 12, 2016 at 11:07 am

I don’t see how it complies with parking.

(8) Number of Driveways Permitted on a Premises.
(A) For properties with no access to an alley, there shall be at least
one driveway opening permitted per lot. An additional
driveway opening may be permitted subject to approval by the
City Engineer for a lot with at least 100 feet of total street
frontage. For corner lots, the length of the street frontage may
be combined for the purpose of this calculation. (This lot only has 50 ft frontage)

Also, the maximum driveway width is 20 feet for a 2-unit multifamily on a 50′ lot. This photo looks like it has (2) 16′ garage doors on it. That’s much larger than the 24′ mentioned in the article. Plus you need 3 ft on either side of each driveway for the transition.. that’s another 12′ total of curb removed.

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Avatar tennyson May 12, 2016 at 1:03 pm

In addition to all of the above these structures -I refuse to refer to them as “homes”- are just basically ugly. The jarring design, being seen more often around here, is one I refer to as “early firehouse”.

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Avatar Debbie May 12, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Scot Frontis is the architect http://www.frontisarchitecture.com is doing a ton of this design/build in PB and MB. Just curious, who is the owner and developer for 2257 Froude which was purchased Mar 2015 for $615,000?

The planning board needs to change the agenda to have neighborhood/land use items come first in the agenda not at the end so that the residents can weigh in. The government officials can stay and do their reports at the end of the planning board meeting. https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/160218minutesp.pdf

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Avatar rufus May 12, 2016 at 3:58 pm

This is the kind of crap that is ruining Coronado. Speculators are digging holes in the ground and parking a two story house over a subterranean garage, then putting the commercial looking structure on the market. With no chance for a front yard and high floor/area ratio, these houses are better suited for Miami Beach and not San Diego, or Coronado for that matter.

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Avatar Jeffeck May 13, 2016 at 8:04 am

All the trees will be gone too I suppose. I can understand when some trees go for construction purposes but this will block the view, so I bet they all will go.

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Avatar Judy Collier May 13, 2016 at 8:46 am

This action confirms my suspicion that the advisory planning boards are simply window dressing, to be ignored by the real decision makers in San Diego.

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Avatar RogueFive May 13, 2016 at 8:50 am

And I’m sure that these will be for OB permanent residents instead of another vacation rental.

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Avatar Kathy Blavatt May 24, 2016 at 3:21 am

This DePuy area is very historically important to OB and PL. It has some of the oldest homes on the point. The deed for the former Door if Hope read “Ocean Beach” (where the condos are in the middle of Collier Park ). Also, the State Density Bonus Plan is suppose to adhere to height limits not break a peoples initiative that was voted in and upheld by the courts. As far as taking out trees/yards, how is that helping our City Climate Action plan?

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Avatar Alex Alexander June 1, 2016 at 3:28 am

Keep them coming…….or create a historic zone…..heck !….even the owner of this site does not live in OB……..he used to live here…..no longer.

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