Looking Deeper Into the Plans of the Ebers and Greene Project

by on October 31, 2016 · 2 comments

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


Other than maintenance work, there should be no new construction at the site until the city issues a permit to build.

By Geoff Page

After finally getting a chance to review the plans for the Ebers and Greene Street project, I got the story behind the requirement that the developer execute a habitable accessory structure form.  It wasn’t quite what I expected – but the reality is very odd.

For starters, there is no approved permit on the project so the developer is not supposed to be doing any construction – but clearly is.

The Inspection Notice that was issued on the project required the developer to make an “angled building envelope” on the front and the Greene Street side.  As I described in my first report on this project, this entails going to the front and side setback lines, going up 19 feet in the front and 24 feet on the side and drawing a 45-degree angle upward to 30 feet.  The new framing on the Greene Street side shows this change but the work is premature.

The plans do not show a habitable accessory structure. What the city is doing is unusual and, in my opinion, won’t fly.

The project remains an addition and a remodel, that has not changed.  The city is apparently concerned that the developer may later turn the project into two units by blocking off the hallway between the existing home and the addition and changing the “wet bar” in the addition to a full kitchen.

They have decided to get the developer to sign an amended habitable accessory structure form stating that the owner will never rent, sell, or lease the addition.  The amendment will allow the form to apply to this structure.

Frankly, I don’t believe they can compel the developer to sign the document because there is no precedent for this.  That form is for construction of a guest quarters and there is no guest quarters on the site.  The developer can refuse and I know of no way the city can make him sign it.

The plans for the addition had some problems, most notably – the architectural sheets and the structural sheets do not match.  By that, I mean that the structural drawings do not show the interior walls on the second and third stories and some other details.

I apprised the city of this and they agreed they needed to look at the plans again.  The addition consists of a garage for only two cars and storage on the first level, an open “great room” with a bathroom on the second story, and a master bedroom, bath, and deck on the third. The framing plans, though, show another room on the second floor that is not labeled as anything.

The remodel of the existing house consists of a few interior wall changes expanding one bathroom, adding a tub and vanity to a second bathroom, and most disturbingly, a wall across what was a sitting room to create an “office,” which will be a bedroom for sure. The existing house will have two bedrooms and two full baths and an office.

I asked the city three questions:

  • how was the angled building envelope issue not caught in plan review?  The very helpful person I talked to said he did not know but added the plan reviewer was no longer with the city and retired a few months ago.
  • I asked about the habitable accessory building form and he provided the explanation I’ve already described.
  • why didn’t the architectural and structural plan sheets match –  the explanation was that the sheets were reviewed by different people and probably were not compared.  This lack of drawing coordination is a very big problem in the construction industry today, the architect should have coordinated the drawings and did not.

Finally, the good news is that I was told the city is re-examining this project closely because they think there may be additional problems with the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) calculation and maybe the 30-foot height limit.

For now, anyone who sees any actual construction on the project needs to alert the city.  Other than maintenance work, there should be no new construction happening until the city issues a permit to build.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page October 31, 2016 at 12:35 pm

I talked to the city this morning and the person I talked to said he believed they could work on some things but there was still not an approved permit so there would be no inspections. I am trying to reach the inspector to see what he has to say.


Geoff Page October 31, 2016 at 1:05 pm

I just talked to the Inspection Supervisor Sean Jones who said the project is under an inspection hold while the city is reviewing the plans. Contractors often go ahead with work taking a chance that everything will work out and the permit will come. Once it does, they will call for inspection immediately. If changes are required, they run the risk of having to redo what they have done. My guess is that the developer has gotten some assurances by DSD that have given him the confidence to proceed. If anyone is interested, here are Mr. Jones’s numbers. 858-573-1218 and 619-980-8534. He started getting a little short with me giving me the impression that he has heard more about this project than he would like to. That is no reason to avoid him though.


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