The Gentrification Machine Marches On – 5 Condos Planned for Lotus Street

by on May 16, 2016 · 19 comments

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

OB Lotus 5064 front

Single-family house at 5064 Lotus. New owner wants to build 5 condos.

Residents in and around the 5000 block of Lotus Street have just been notified of a development application to build 5 condos on a lot currently holding a single-family residence. Some of those residents contacted the OB Rag out of extreme concern.

OB Lotus 5064 sideIn the Notice of Application, see below, the City announced that an application has been filed for the construction of 5 residential condominiums on the .15 acre site at 5064 Lotus.  The five condos will total 10,560 square feet. The application also requests that the requirements to underground existing utilities be waived.

No reason for the request for a waiver was on the face of the Notice, but new developments these days are encouraged by City staff to obtain “waivers” on code requirements if they conform to the City’s Green Building Program.

OB Lotus 5064 aerial

Aerial view.

The existing structure, a single-family residence with attached garage, would presumably be demolished – although there is no mention of that in the Notice. There is a large backyard and in the front there must stand one of the tallest Palm Trees in all of Ocean Beach. The house is surrounded by apartments on both sides.

With several questions in mind, I called the Project Manager Derrick Johnson with the Development Services Dept. After assuring me that he’d get back to me with more info and answers once the staff has made their review and report, he did say that he believed the 10,560 square feet number would require multiple stories, perhaps two or three.


With the 10,560 square feet the total livable space of all the units combined, that’s an average of 2,112 square feet per unit. Yet the site is too small for that, if that location has a floor-area-ratio of 0.70 – which by far most of OB has. Yet an acre is 43,560 square feet, and the lot is .15 acres which is 6534 square feet.  It appears that the application is way over the FAR – unless this part of OB is in a special zone that allows for a higher ratio.  But the present application has an FAR of 1.62.

Local residents are concerned because, of course, they’ll be directly impacted by such a development.

Some of their immediate concerns are what happens to parking on that street, as one resident at least felt that the new development would be allowed to have minimum parking. Another concern is that nearby rents will go up with the addition of newly-minted condos.

Another concern is that here we go with more condos for Ocean Beach. Condos are very controversial – especially condos made from existing apartments. Here, there would be one unit lost and 5 built.

An overarching concern, however, is that this development represents more gentrification for the area, as northwest OB has been taking the brunt of gentrifying new constructions. This project will be very close to the new construction of two-storied condos across from Pat’s Liquor.

This project will invariably reach the OB Planning Board’s sub-committee and then the full board at some point. Perhaps this particular project will need to be re-arranged and revised if it has a chance with the local planners.

In the meantime, stay tuned, contact the project manager if  you have questions or concerns, be involved, organize your neighbors, and also make sure you get in touch with your OB Planning Board representative. (Here is the OBPB site.) Don’t wait until the last moment, or it’s too late and don’t be uninformed about how development is decided in OB.


OB Lotus 5064 Notice of App


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Natasha May 16, 2016 at 1:41 pm

No, no, a thousand times no.
Between gentrification, and Air B & B (sometimes used as a way for people to pay high rents, but even more done by investors who couldn’t care a fig about our community), O B continues to be under siege.
Fight back, Obeceans!


RB May 16, 2016 at 1:59 pm

A sure hope the five condos are not going to negatively impact the many large multi unit apartments in this area…… The current one unit cottage on valuable land wedge between several large apartment complexes doesn’t make much sense to me.


GMAB May 16, 2016 at 2:28 pm

RB- do you live on this block? You aware of the density all ready in place? Or are you just a contrarian bootlicker of absentee property profiteers?


Christo May 16, 2016 at 3:11 pm

On the basis of FAR alone, it should be denied.


Debora greene May 16, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Listing in 2012 said build 3 units on the back – 3 bed, 2 bath, 1167 sq. ft. house located at 5064 Lotus St, San Diego, CA 92107 sold for $670000 on Nov 1, 2012. MLS# 120046462.

On May 22, 2015 is sold for $870,000 3 bed, 2 bath, 1167 sq. ft. house located at 5064 Lotus St, San Diego, CA 92107

Don’t forget to thank your real estate agents for encouraging the development!!


kevin sanders May 16, 2016 at 5:22 pm

Time to buy in OB or get a U-haul. Nothing is going to change but the prices. SEEYA!


Zen May 16, 2016 at 10:56 pm

The most units that lot could have is 4. And it only gets 4 because of rounding up. It is not in a special zone.

All I can think they are doing is asking for something so crazy, more than double the permitted FAR, the “compromise” will only be 20% over FAR.

Lotus St really has the combination of the most charming cottages and most ugly apartments in OB. Right next door to the doomed house is an apartment complex that looks like a run-down motel.


Tyler May 17, 2016 at 6:35 am

Oh no! More units so people won’t ACTUALLY be gentrified due to a lack of availability. What ever shall we do!


Oh jeez... May 17, 2016 at 11:26 am

Tyler, get a clue. In theory this works, but it really doesn’t. Do you believe in trickle down economics too? In the 6 years I have lived on this very street, my rent has gone from 975 to 1600. Why do you think that is? More apartments and condos have been going up the last couple years. So why the severe price hike? One word, GENTRIFICATION. Do you think once these 5 condos are up that everyone’s rent on the street will not go up as well? It happened when the studios on the corner of the street got a face lift last year or so. So before you start trolling and taking the energy to spew your negativity, have an idea to what you are talking about. Thank you Rag for getting the word out on this. You are invaluable to our community. Word.


RB May 17, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Paying $1600 to rent…….means time for a new plan……….
A $1600 a month payment with 4% interest rates covers a $340,000 mortgage….


Tyler May 18, 2016 at 5:56 am

I didn’t realize a simple supply and demand curve issue was trickle down economics. My apologies oh great one.


John May 22, 2016 at 6:08 pm

The reason your rent increased is the demand for housing outstrips the supply. Not because some other fancy buildings went up in your neighborhood.
This is not a McMansion being built it is condos. Condos that may be lived in or bought then rented out, thus increasing the supply. Yes they will be new and pricey now. In 20-30 years their tenants will be funky eclectic laid back obecians.
Some people really need to think through their agendas and pick their fights more wisely. The typical OB ideology of standing in the way of everything that is change often sees counterproductive results.
Gentrification can come in many ways, getting priced out of the rental market because locals obstructed every new build project is one of them.
The author raises fair questions about the FAR that need to be answered, and it is true that is a dense block with little room for more cars. The new project will not be allowed to be built without some parking.
That seems to be an issue often raised when new builds come up. News flash: The four McMansions on W. Pt. Loma actually eased on street parking demands on that block. Those residents always park in their own carports. Residents of the four duplexes they replaced usually owned 3-4 cars per building, usually 2 spaces off street. (when utilities got buried some owner-residents converted to 3. Those who were landlords retained the 2 spot status quo. The racoon living in the bushes in front of ours was, alas, rendered homeless)


John O. May 17, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Every single beachside community in California has gone through this… fight back? Good luck on that. We’ve all seen it happen. California is marketed around the country and world. There is an endless supply of people that want to move here, and many of them with much more money than you or I.
Owner occupancy is low because the demand is high and rental owners want to make as much money as they can… thus, the people that can afford to buy in OB are the “gentrifying” ones. In reality, they are just people that see a sound investment.
What I would like to see happen is for the city to pass a law that states that when owner occupancy drops below an agreed upon percentage that the sale to an investor is prohibited (to protect from over selling to investors). Of course, existing owners won’t like this as it slows the appreciation of their properties. So it’ll probably never happen.


kh May 17, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Don’t shit where you eat. Investors are bad for the neighborhood, whether they live here or not.


M May 19, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Totally disagree. I’m an owner of a small complex in OB and live in one of the units. Prior owners/property managers let the place crumble and corrode. The tenants thank us for addressing issues. It was the only way we could afford to own in OB, the community we love. We don’t do AirBNB, and we keep rent a bit below market.


Christo May 19, 2016 at 2:35 pm

ANY rental unit is owned by an “Investor”.

Those like M that choose to live here are the good guys- they are a much greater part of the community than someone who is renting month to month or even leasing.


kh May 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm

You’re either bad at investing, or it is less important to you than the character of your neighborhood. Either way kudos to you. But wouldn’t it be nice if properties were affordable enough that you weren’t forced to rent part of it out?


Geoff Page May 20, 2016 at 5:05 pm

The only way to exceed the FAR is by providing underground parking. Here is what the MC says, look at the last sentence.:

In the RM-1-2, RM-1-3, RM-2-4, RM-2-5, and RM-2-6 zones, a minimum of
one-fourth of the permitted floor area ratio shall be reserved for required
parking. The maximum floor area ratio for all structures on the premises,
excluding underground parking structures, shall not exceed the maximum
permitted floor area ratio for the zone as identified in Table 131-04G, except
that a floor area ratio bonus shall be provided equal to the gross floor area of
the underground parking structure.


TD August 3, 2020 at 10:22 pm

I live about 4 units down from this place. It was bound to happen as it’s a tiny home on a giant lot. Yes. They need to work out the FAR but this place will by no means be unusual for this street as every place in this block is a multi residential rental complex and as far as I know, most are all long term rentals.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: