Update on the Emerson Project in Point Loma

by on June 30, 2016 · 10 comments

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

PL emerson Faulconer screenThis is an update on what’s happening with the controversial Emerson project in the Point Loma neighborhood of Roseville.  The 40 foot duplex has been under siege ever since neighbors and Peninsula activists took notice of its construction and of its clear violation of the 30 foot height limit.

The only real news is that on Wednesday, June 29th, Mayor Kevin Faulconer met with a few Peninsula Community Planning Board members and a local resident who organized a protest rally at the project, at 3144 Emerson Street, near Evergreen.

Afterwards, the mayor held a press conference to pledge that he would ensure that the city and developers follow the rules and that “we protect our coastal zone and height limit.”

The day before – on Tuesday – Faulconer had ordered a Stop Work Order on the project being built by Pacific Enterprise Builders.

According to Peninsula Community Planning Board chair Jon Linney, he and Brad Herrin, Robert Tripp Jackson and Babita Souza met with the mayor, his staff, Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, her staff, along with representatives of the City Attorney’s office.

In comments to the OB Rag, Linney stated:

The Mayor and his staff provided a briefing to us on possible short term and long term solutions which public input will be sought.

Additionally, the Mayor and Councilmember Lorie Zapf pledged to work closely with the community to permanently resolve the 30 foot height limitation issue.

Here is Faulconer’s statement as quoted by Ch8News

“My job is to make sure that, as we look at it city-wide, the city is following the rules, developers follow the rules and we protect our coastal zone and height limit. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

Neither Faulconer nor Linney disclosed what the “possible short term and long term solutions” are. Do they include requiring the builder to remove the 4th floor? Do they include reforms in the City’s Development Services Department – where the problems stem from?

Has Faulconer and staff now provided Peninsula planners with the details and plans of the project?

Can Faulconer – and Zapf for that matter – ensure us that this doesn’t happen again?

Meanwhile, there isn’t much to report on about the developer, Pacific Enterprise Builders and its owner,  William “Bill” Bartz.  They have offices at 5709 La Jolla Boulevard (310- 650-3866) and describe themselves as –

” … a full service real estate development and general contracting firm known for its technical ability.”

The company does have a facebook page. And we do know that earlier before the protests broke out, it appeared that the company was basically thumbing its nose at the residents in the area with their facebook page having a link to an article in the San Diego Reader about their own controversy, plus a statement that said: “Want to build higher ? Ask us how!” The post on fb has since been taken down.

On his Linked-In page, Bartz is listed as the Executive Director of Pacific Enterprise, which is 3 and a half years old. He also lists himself as a Senior Construction Manager for 5 Star Construction Consulting – an out in the Greater LA area – , where he’s been since 1990. So, Bartz boasts that he is now in his “hird decade of building and management of high valued properties”.  He says he was a general contractor from 1989 to 1990 and that he went to Long Beach State for 2 years.

There is an allegation out there that Bartz was also the developer of another controversial Point Loma project, Avenida del Portugal, but as yet have not uncovered any proof of that.

Not to mention, that there are now over 630 signers to the online petition against this project and in favor of enforcing the 30 foot height limit.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page June 30, 2016 at 1:56 pm

Short term and long term solutions? Two or three weeks to investigate? The solution can be done in a minute, make the DSD retract its ridiculous interpretation of how to measure height and make all current projects adhere to it.


Ian June 30, 2016 at 9:46 pm

Hi Geoff,

Can you help explain the law, the building codes and the DSD interpretation that you are speaking of?

I am having a hard time formulating a clear understanding of the whole situation. I am sure others are, also.



Geoff Page July 1, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Ian, The Rag reran an article I wrote a year ago that explains it, there are several parts of the issue. Look for How to Measure the 30-foot height limit in The Rag’s search box.


rick callejon June 30, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Future projects too.


OB Dude June 30, 2016 at 6:39 pm

This Mayor needs to clean house and stop the madness that is taking place in hopes the residents and taxpayers are not paying attention. Check out our how staff changed Hillcrest’s Community Plan in the story below:


Strong leader is essential. The mayor should be formally announcing who gets fired and why and set an example so such nonsense will stop.


Local One June 30, 2016 at 10:07 pm

San Diego is known for its sunshine. Right?

Unfortunately, insiders within the old Republican establishment, and too many developers, continue to cast a big shadow over our own City Hall and the Developmental Services Department. Let’s continue to let the sunshine brightly on City Hall and, even more so, the Developmental Services Department’s approval processes.

The Mayor is part of the old Republican guard, but more recently has committed to improving Mission Bay, Balboa Park, and supporting the voter-approved 30′ coastal height limit. Time will tell whether Kevin Faulconer is sincere, but San Diego’s recent history indicates the loophole to the 30′ height limit is about to be codified “by exception and discretion” of the Planning Commission, and De Anza Cove will be commercialized, by justifying Doug Manchester’s new hotel as contributing to Mission Bay lease revenues that will surely pay to improve Balboa Park at no taxpayer expense (except at the expense of Mission Bay Park land).


Local One June 30, 2016 at 11:11 pm

Unfortunate that I can answer these very important questions about Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s underlying intentions, only minutes after raising some very valid concerns……..


The old Republican establishment forecasts the continuing June gloom presently hanging over City Hall, and the DSD, to last well into July and beyond.


Rufus July 1, 2016 at 6:17 am

Local One…you are doing a disservice when you blame the short comings at city hall on the “Republican old guard”.

The Republicans are an easy whipping boy, and pointing a finger at them may make you feel better by making them the enemy, but the ugly truth is that once elected politicians of all stripes quickly lose their respect for the voters and work very hard to consolitate their personal power.

You may have a favorite politician or party, but trust me, your interests take a back seat to their interests.

Please hold all politicians feet to the fire. Don’t be a sucker for their words, rather judge them on their votes and their actions. Get engaged, ask questions, don’t let them take your freedom from you. (I’m calling out Todd Gloria…but that’s another story).

Resist the bastards! It works.


PL Lifer July 1, 2016 at 11:13 am

This builder did do the condos at the corner of Locust & Ave. de Portugal. I saw them on their other website, watchmebuild.com, a few weeks ago. However they have since taken it off there. BUT if you Google the builder a link to the Buildzoom website will come up and the permit history for all of this contractor’s projects comes up. The condos are actually two separate buildings one is on Locust and the other is on Ave. de Portugal so you’ll have to scroll through all his permits to find them. Also, there a page on that site that shows what other permits have been pulled for our neighborhood an who pulled them.


Jarvis Ross July 22, 2016 at 12:10 am

It is time for the residents to take back this city from the money grubbing developers and their servants AKA the planning dept, Development Services Dept, and the Planning Commission.
Hopefully it doesn’t require a French Revolution like action to accomplish this.


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