‘The Emerson and Evergreen Project in Point Loma Is Where We Have to Draw the Battle Line for the 30 Foot Height Limit’

by on June 23, 2016 · 11 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, History, Life Events, Media, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

PL Emerson Project gp 05

Condo complex project at 3144 Emerson Street. All photos by Geoff Page

City Planners Allow Developer to Measure 30 Feet From Top of Retaining Walls – the Call Goes Out to Shut the Project Down

Editor: The following Call by Geoff Page to flood the mayor and city council with complaints is all about the approval by the City Development Services Department without a public hearing, of a large 4-story complex in Point Loma, at 3144 Emerson Street near Emerson and Evergreen – that, according to local experts, violates the 30 foot height limit.

By Geoff Page

This is it folks, this is where we have to draw the battle line for the 30-foot height limit.

Our own city, in the form of the Development Services Department, is leading the assault on the 30-foot limit.  They are working for developers, not the citizens who pay their salaries.

The project on Evergreen and Emerson in Roseville is a huge raspberry from the DSD to the community and here is why.

PL Emerson Project gp 01The DSD has developed a new interpretation of how to measure height that I explained in the OB Rag article recently published.  And I believe that they have taken this to a criminal level.

This project is on a flat lot with the same grade as adjoining properties.

PL Emerson Project gp 02But the developer has built eight to ten foot tall retaining walls on the south and east property lines.  They are currently back-filling the area between those walls and the garage walls.

The DSD is allowing them to measure the 30-foot height from the grade that will result.  The dirt elevation on the south and east behind these walls will be almost as high as the roofs of the adjoining properties.

PL Emerson Project gp 03Everyone Needs to Flood the Mayor and Council Offices with Complaints

We need everyone – and I mean everyone – the Peninsula Community Planning Board, the Ocean Beach Planning Board, the Point Loma Association, anyone and everyone with any connections to flood the mayor and the city council person with complaints.

We need the Reader, the SD Union-Tribune, the Voice of San Diego, and any other publications we can think of to jump in too.

This project needs to be shut down and it may take a legal injunction to do it.  If we all let this stand the new height limit will be 40 feet, then 50 feet, and on and on.

This DSD interpretation of the 30-foot height limit is indefensible and it has to stop on this project. The person who heads up the DSD is a pro developer attorney and he needs to go.  Look at the pictures.

PL Emerson Project gp 04_______________

Here are some details in Dave Schwab’s article at the Beacon:

Emerson Street Duplexes, currently under construction at the corner of Emerson and Evergreen streets, calls for two, three-story duplexes with garages beneath a total of four dwelling units.
Some Roseville neighbors fear a new condo development that recently passed ministerial review with the city, bypassing the local planning group, will exceed the 30-foot coastal height limit. …

Jon Linney, newly elected PCPB chair, said the duplexes may be yet another incidence of developer’s pushing the envelope with coastal height restrictions. … Linney claims developers are getting creative in finding ways to get around the 30-foot height restriction. … Linney insists “lax zoning rules allow many projects to go up without any public hearing or community review.” …

“Enough,” said Linney. “The public is fed up with forced density and planning by loophole. Citizens are pushing back and showing signs of being silent no more.”

Pointing out the Ocean Beach Planning Board “spent a dozen years on a new community plan only to see it about to be gutted when the Planning Department decided to allow unlimited exceptions,” Linney said OBPB is now pushing back. “Thousands of citizens signed petitions and the City Council unanimously decided against unlimited exceptions,” he said.

The Beacon tried to reach the Duplex developers, identified as permit holder Matthew Bartz from Pacific Enterprise Builders and property owner William Bartz, but could.

 San Diego Community News Group

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

RB June 23, 2016 at 1:53 pm

Building a wall and using fill to disrupt the 30 foot restriction should not be allowed.
While I am in favor of slight wavers for construction of much needed living spaces and parking on our small local lots, this unnatural height measurement and deceptive project should be stopped.


Geoff Page June 23, 2016 at 2:19 pm

There was a news conference on site at 11:30 this morning. Ed Lenderman from KUSI came and there will be a story on tonight’s news about the project.

I learned that the developer is the same one that built the Avenida de Portugal where the height was first exceeded by measuring from the earth inside of new planters around the building. And, there are at least two more sites in Roseville that look ready for the same thing. It has to stop with this project.


SaneVoice June 23, 2016 at 7:14 pm

The duplex developers are basically thumbing their nose at the residents in the area. Look at their FB page which has a link to the article in the San Diego Reader. They say “Want to build higher ? Ask us how!”



Byron Wear June 23, 2016 at 9:05 pm

This project does NOT conform to the voters intent of the Prop D 30 foot limit. Building a planter box and then measuring the 30 foot height of a building is crazy.

I am glad to see the neighborhood, the Peninsula Community Planning Group and Councilmember Lorie Zapf taking swift action now to prevent future abuses.


OB Dude June 24, 2016 at 3:51 am

Glad to hear you are NOT supporting this project. Now, if only the Mayor who also lives in Point Loma would speak up and take action!


Fstued June 24, 2016 at 8:08 am

Welcome to Marina del Ray South. If the project is allowed to go forward that’s what Roseville will become. It is a wrong interruption of the rules


Craig Klein June 24, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Frank: It might be time for a retrospective historical piece on how a certain apartment building in OB was dealt with in the early 70’s.


Local One June 24, 2016 at 10:57 pm

This project grossly violates the intent of the 30′ height limit approved by voters. The Developmental Services Department, on par, actively helps developers skirt the law but ironically are paid their salaries with your tax dollars.

Given the state of how this City conducts it’s own affairs, flouting laws and regulations when convenient for its political contributors (i. e. Lincoln Club, etc), why should I have to follow the City’s rules myself? Maybe stop paying my property taxes? Don’ follow the speed limit? Kevin Faulconer and Lori Zapf don’t enforce the rules, so shouldn’t we ignore them too?

When you finally say bye-bye forever to your unobstructed ocean and bay views, you can thank the Mayor and the staff at the Developmental Services Department. By then, it will be too late.


Elisa Brent June 25, 2016 at 8:13 pm

Community meeting Monday 6/27 at 6:30pm at the UPSES Hall, 2818 Avenida de Portugal. Invite your neighbors.


Jonathan Chapin June 27, 2016 at 9:36 pm
Byron Wear June 28, 2016 at 4:06 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.”



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