Angry Point Loma Citizens Fill Town Hall Meeting About Emerson Project

by on June 28, 2016 · 4 comments

in California, Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

PL Emerson proj meet 6-27-16

Screen capture from 8News showing town hall meeting about the Emerson project, June 27, 2016.

By Geoff Page

Last night there was a town hall meeting at the Portuguese Hall in Point Loma that was filled to capacity with a whole bunch of angry citizens.

The meeting was to discuss a project on Evergreen and Emerson in Roseville that is a 40-foot tall thumb in the eye of San Diegans.

But, the issue is much bigger than one project, it concerns all of the area affected by the 30-foot height limit.

Representatives from the mayor’s office, District 2, the City Attorney, and the Development Services Department (DSD) were supposed to be on hand.  Not one single City official showed up.  Let’s call that thumb in the eye number two.

The issue is the City’s new interpretation as to how the sacred 30-foot height limit is measured.  The City is allowing a developer to raise the grade on part of a flat lot in Roseville eight to ten feet and then measure 30 feet from there.  This had been tried in the past and was always disallowed but not anymore.

There were upwards of 200 people in attendance as were at least two news stations, KUSI and Channel 8.

The meeting was organized in a joint effort of concerned citizens and various community organizations including the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) and the Point Loma Association (PLA).  The purpose of the meeting was informational and to begin a fund-raising effort to hire an attorney to file a temporary injunction to stop construction.

It was pointed out that the mayor has the power to issue a stop work order, which would cost nothing, but so far, nothing from the mayor’s office – save a weak statement.  There is good information on a Facebook page devoted to keeping the 30 foot height limit.

The meeting was mainly run by Jon Linney, chair of the PCPB.  A short PowerPoint presentation was shown to provide information about the project and the problem.

Speakers included John Ambert, chair of the Ocean Beach Planning Board,plus the head of the Point Loma Association, the Sierra Club, among others.  Various members of the community also spoke.

The theme was the same, anger at the city for allowing this project to happen and anger at knowing several more projects are starting in Roseville that are believed to be following the same method for determining height.

There were calls to defend Roseville and there was anger at the developer.  I took a turn at the microphone to make sure everyone understood that the developer is not the source of the problem, the source is the Development Services Department (DSD) that has concocted a new interpretation of how to measure the 30-foot height of a building.

In a nutshell, the DSD says to measure after the design is done, not before. That is not what Proposition D and the 1970 Uniform Building Code (UBC) called for.  The UBC is a design document.  The measurement is supposed to be taken from existing ground to design building height – not from an artificial design grade and always has been.

The meeting lasted about an hour and a half and people left with blood in their eyes.  There was a plea from several citizens for everyone to flood the mayor’s office, District 2’s office, and the DSD with complaint emails and letters.

There is a Change.Org petition going around, here is the link.  Please sign it and send it to friends and family.



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Byron Wear June 28, 2016 at 4:03 pm


Statement just in…

“Mayor Faulconer and Councilmember Lorie Zapf strongly support the coastal height limit and protecting coastal views.

Further review of the Municipal Code has determined that this project does not conform to the City’s development regulations.

Today the City issued a stop work order on the project to ensure it follows all codes and regulations.”



Geoff Page June 28, 2016 at 4:54 pm

I agree that a Stop Work order is a victory but the battle is not yet won. Victory will be when the DSD is forced to return to the proper interpretation of Proposition D and the 1970 UBC.

There is to be a meeting with the City tomorrow and I asked to be included but have been told by a representative of the Peninsula Community Planning Board I will not be invited. I’ve spent 10 years on this issue and I believe my background and expertise would be valuable. The chair of the PCPB is a nice, intelligent young guy who means well but he was 13 years old when I had my first exposure to the height limit issue. I think the community needs more experience at that table.


Colin Purdy June 28, 2016 at 5:15 pm

I agree with Mr. Page when he says, “…I agree that a Stop Work order is a victory but the battle is not yet won. Victory will be when the DSD is forced to return to the proper interpretation of Proposition D and the 1970 UBC.”

And in terms of the subject E&E transgression, victory will really only be when that project is actually whittled down to that proper 30′ height limit.


Geoff Page June 28, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Agreed, Mr. Purdy, part of the settlement of this issue is cutting the top story off that building.


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