It’s Starting to Heat Up Around Controversial Ebers and Greene Project

by on October 13, 2016 · 2 comments

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

ob-torrey-ebers-houseCity Issues Inspection Correction Notice to Owner Nelco Properties

It’s definitely starting to heat up around the controversial construction project at Ebers and Greene in northeast Ocean Beach.

For one, the City of San Diego issued an Inspection Correction Notice to the owner-developer, Nelco Properties, run by Curtis Nelson, with offices in Vista. There is already push-back on the Notice – dated October 6th – that it does not address at least one of the main issues, plus an anonymous group of locals sent the developer a letter warning him that the people of OB are watching the project.

ob-ebers-inspect-noticeIssues brought up with the Notice from the city for a new assessment include certifications that the project complies with the Land Development Code, an approved construction change is required for the “angled building envelope” the Notice states, as well as a building height certification, a floor-area-ration calculation among others.

Anthony George, senior rep of Mayor Faulconer’s office, stated in an email to OB Planning Board head, John Ambert, that the Notice –

“was issued for the Ebers project to remedy some discrepancies that was found. The corrections will address many of the issues that the community brought up during our conversations.”

Ambert, meanwhile, has been attempting to set up a meeting to discuss the project between him, people from the city’s Development Services Department (DSD), and Anthony George along with Conrad Wear from Councilwoman Lori Zapf’s office.

In fact, Ambert, as head of the OBPB, sent Wear a letter expressing some frustration with the city and that the Notice was not sufficient. Here is the letter, with Ambert’s permission, below:

Hi Conrad,

The concerns at 2269 Ebers are similar to those by citizens for the Emerson street project. This project slipped through DSD as a Process 1 without the level of scrutiny needed, and as a result, will set a dangerous precedent for the surrounding community.

In this case, this is a builder developer who is bragging on social media that they found a way around the building code and DSD to build two units on one lot, marketing the project on Zillow, Redfin, and local realtors as a two-on-one, and building multiple units on one property in a RM-1-1. See attachments for more info.

While the Notice of Corrections provided attempts to investigate the calculation of the 30 ft, the angle of the building envelope, and the requirement of a habitable accessory structure agreement, it does not address the main issue at hand: that a developer has successfully gamed DSD to build multiple units on a single lot and avoid the CDP/SDP process. This project is clearly being build at two separate structures and the builder’s attempt to connect them with an “after the fact” hallway (which actually connects to a storage closet in the main house) is not an acceptable mechanism to address the issue.

Additionally, the city’s efforts to rely on Code Enforcement to police this property once completed is also not an acceptable solution. As we have seen time and time again, Code Enforcement is overwhelmed and is not able to engage with issues of this type until it is too late, if at all.

While I appreciate the intent of the Inspection Correction Notice issued by Sean Jones, and respect his professional opinion, I have little faith that the Code Enforcement department will be able to deter this project from being utilized as two units, and even less faith that DSD recognizes the mistake that has been made in this case.

The intent of the meeting is to identify the issues with this project, to ensure DSD is aware of the shenanigans being pulled here, and to take action that ensure the issue is not repeated in the future.

I recognize I have requested two meetings in the same number of days, but I feel that it is my responsibility to speak on behalf of the community to ensure an equitable process is being implemented for all.

Please reach out to me directly if you have any questions, and let me know when staff would be available to meet.  Thank you Conrad.
John Ambert

Speaking about letters, the OB Rag received a copy of an anonymous Letter sent to the project’s owner, Nelco Properties, from “Informed and irate OBecians with lots of time on their hands“.

In the letter, the anonymous group accuses the developer of attempting to build 2 units on a site for 1, and of avoiding the California Coastal Commission and the OB Planning Board, and that people are on to him and are watching him. It states:

“This charade is fooling no one. Development Services, code enforcement, and the citizens of Ocean Beach are all watching the project closely.”

“Even if you are able to complete construction,” the letter warns, “the instant you (or future owners) decide to bootleg in a second kitchen, laundry, and otherwise divide the structure into separate dwellings, the city and the citizens of Ocean Beach will shut ou down. You will be forced to tear it back out, or remove one of the dwelling units entirely in order to comply with the code.”

If the owner attempts to open a “mini-dorm”, the letter continues, it will be shut down due to lack of parking.

“It will forever be a joke of a house …,” the letter sums up, “your reputation will suffer, and the end result will be worth a fraction of your investment,” and cautions, “you are wasting your money,” and offers that the developer ought to cut his losses “and cease construction … immediately.”

Then, of course, there’s the rally and picket line that local residents and the OB Rag are organizing for this Saturday, October 15th, at the site, for noon. Fliers have been distributed throughout the area of OB, and lots of neighbors have reportedly told organizers that they’ll be there.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page Geoff Page October 13, 2016 at 1:43 pm

The letter from the anonymous group stated:

“This charade is fooling no one. Development Services, code enforcement, and the citizens of Ocean Beach are all watching the project closely.”

Sadly folks, the DSD and Code Enforcement are not watching this project. The DSD permitted this knowing full well what was happening. Code Enforcement doesn’t pay any attention to a building under construction, if you call them, they will tell you they will not respond if there is an active construction permit. Complaints have to go to the DSD, which is, surprise, how we got here in the first place. Then, once the permit is finaled, Code Enforcement will only act on a complaint. The only part of the quote above that is true is that the citizens of OB are watching the project, and frankly, that’s the best watchdog of all.

Reply

Lana October 13, 2016 at 5:04 pm

Do you think this sore thumb of a project has been proceeding at a snail’s pace to test community reaction?

Reply

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