Fourth Floor of Emerson Project in Point Loma Coming Down

by on September 13, 2016 · 9 comments

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


The Emerson project. Photo by Barbita Souza.

By Don Sevrens

Scaffolding is going up at the four-story Emerson duplexes. The scaffolding is in preparation for removal of the controversial fourth floor and for the project to go forward according to a redesign recently submitted to the city.

That’s the word according to Jack Straw of the Mayor’s Office. Delivery of the scaffolding ignited reports that the project was going forward and fears the fourth floor might remain.

The project has been in the news for more than two months and led to town hall meeting attended by 250 persons. Curiously, the Mayor’s Office did not see this development as being newsworthy enough to merit an announcement. Straw said it would be up to individual reporters to seek out information.

Straw committed to either himself or another representative of the Mayor’s Office being present at the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s meeting to take community questions (6:30 p.m. Thursday Sept. 15, Point Loma branch library, 3701 Voltaire St.)

Jon Linney, chair of the planning board, said:

“Removal of the fourth floor will be a major victory for the community as will new rules when adopted to make the height limit 30 feet period. The city has committed to making those revisions as quickly as possible.”

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page Geoff Page September 13, 2016 at 10:37 am

Keep in mind everyone, the removal of the top floor has nothing to do with the 30-foot height issue. The DSD re-evaluated its own permitting of this project and reduced the floor area ratio (FAR) allowed by determining that the “subterranean” garage was not really subterranean after all. Once the garage was counted in the FAR, the top floor had to come off. Don’t celebrate yet. The DSD still believes this building could legally be 40 feet tall as long as it didn’t go over the allowable FAR. The Stop Work Order had nothing to do with height. And, the current proposed language addition to the Municipal Code will not affect this project or any others incorrectly permitted at 40 feet high. The new language needs to be rejected, it says what the MC already says. It is only intended to get the city out of re-examining all the projects it has incorrectly permitted.

Here is the latest from the city on OpenSD:

from OPENSD: Project 507462 – Const Chg to Project 475473 Const Chg to Project 475473 Approval(s) 1664647 & 1664642. Redesign to comply with stop work notice issued. Habitable sqft reduced from 8,309 to 6,000. Fourth floor removed and replaced with roof deck. Reconfiguration of 3rd, 2nd and garage floors.**See diary entry for affected sheets** Delta 1.

Construction Change ‘A’ to PTS# 415278, Approval 1453382. Scope includes change of grade elevation between structures, curb cut and driveway location revised at Emerson St., curb cut and driveway enlarged at Evergreen St., and modifications to multiple retaining wall locations. Sheets Voided: 3, Sheets Added: 9.
Approval Details | Open DSD


kh September 13, 2016 at 11:25 am

Good info. At least they found a way to stop it. I had my doubts, but I guess the city has decided which side it’d rather be sued by. If I were the developer, I’d leave the design as-is and figure out a way to sink the building about 5 feet down, making the garage space exempt from FAR.


RB September 13, 2016 at 10:59 am

Congrats to our Point Loma neighbors for working with the Mayor and Councilwoman Zapf to once again resolve a local problem.


Geoff Page Geoff Page September 13, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Councilwoman Zapf deserves ZERO credit for anything, she contributed nothing to any of this. As for the mayor, he is in charge and the DSD is his responsibility. So, if you want to give him credit for a problem he made, well then go ahead but don’t expect anyone who understands the issue to join you.


rick callejon4 September 13, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Coucilmember Zapf does not resolve local problems. Zapf IS a local problem.


RB September 14, 2016 at 8:29 am

I am sure for some Zapf is the local problem because she is a Republican. But why is she here? What is the history?

Well, Zapf came here to replace Faulconer. Faulconer left to replace Filner, a womanizer, who was removed as mayor. IMO, Filner was the problem which the voters, other than OB, fixed.


Geoff Page Geoff Page September 14, 2016 at 10:55 am

You might want to check the definition of “womanizer,” it really doesn’t apply to Filner. And your history is incorrect, the voters did not “fix” the Filner problem.


Ben September 13, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Hope this represents future progress one reducing the size of the monstrosity on Ebers Street…saw workmen there today.


OB Dude February 24, 2017 at 4:35 pm

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