OB Planning Board Approves Del Mar Project; Takes on Ebers and Greene Project

by on October 6, 2016 · 0 comments

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

obpb-meet-10-5-16-boardBarely able to scrap together a quorum 15 minutes into his meeting, veteran OB planner and acting-chair Craig Klein (chair John Ambert and vice-chair Blake Herrschaft were at an architectural conference in LA) finally got the ball rolling at the Ocean Beach Planning Board meeting last night. The Board ended up appointing a new board member, approving the project at 4768 Del Mar Avenue, and taking on the controversial project at Ebers and Greene.

Appointment of New Board Member to District 5

Numan Stotz was appointed to District 5 by an unanimous vote of the Board last night. Stotz, having completed all the requirements for the appointment, is an OB local, a realtor and has worked at the Olive Tree for over 20 years.

obpb-meet-10-5-16-crowdLack of City Representatives

The disappointing aspect of last night’s Board meeting was the visible absence of any representatives from the City of San Diego. Neither Anthony George of the mayor’s office nor Conrad Wear of Councilwoman Zapf‘s office were present to answer questions about the project at Ebers and Greene – or other questions for that matter.

Acting-chair Klein said he found it “distressing” that George in particular was absent because at the Board’s September meeting, George had promised the Board that he would look into the matter of the controversial project and come back with some kind of report.

Nor were there any city representatives present to discuss the City’s Tree Canopy program (Info Item No.2 on the agenda). The report and discussion was tabled to the November meeting.


Allison Rush speaks about the project at Ebers and Greene.

Nelson “Addition” – at Ebers and Greene

For the third month in a row, the controversial project at 2269 Ebers was discussed, but this time it was on the agenda. Allison and Mick Rush, who have been leading a neighborhood campaign against the project, gave a presentation complete with poster boards, photos and copies of documents on its controversies. Allison said that “construction is continuing” in response to questions from the board.

A number of city, county and state agencies have opened investigations about different elements of the project; some have now closed – and it’s unclear just which are still on-going. But these agencies run from the city’s fire and bomb squad (the site suffered a very small fire over the summer), to the county’s Department of Environmental Health because of asbestos exposure, to the Employment Development Department, the state’s OSHA division, and the Contractors State License Board.

ob-ebers-gre-sept016-1The Rushs presented paperwork on complaints they’ve made – one in June about the asbestos and a violation of the 30-foot height limit, and the latest one in September about insufficient parking, excessive noise, and contractors working on the project without licenses. They knew of at least one more complaint.

Allison told the board, “I’ve been downtown numerous times,” and “the city is not doing a thing about [the project].” She said she was told that “the cases are closed,” by city staff.

The people coming in to work on the project, the Rushs continued, made mistakes on the plumbing and the framing as they have observed. None of them have licenses, they asserted. And this is why the project continues in fits and starts – the owner, Curtis Nelson, of Nelco Properties LP – keeps hiring people without licenses, then firing them and new ones are then brought in.

During the discussion on what could the board do is when Klein’s “distressing” comment was made.  He also complained about “when someone games the system.”

A former board member with experience in the city’s planning department and who was in attendance also asserted that city staff “knew it was not an addition” when they determined that the project did not need to go before the OB Planning Board or the California Coastal Commission. City staff “is tied by the deception of the developers,” the former board member said.

Another member of the audience, Kevin Hastings, told the board that he had done some investigating of his own on the project, and that he had viewed the original drawings which are posted online, and they “show separate structures” he said.  There have been changes since then, he added. But a spiral staircase to the 3rd floor appears to violate the code.

Hastings also asserted that since the project is a multi-family structure now, it actually violates the multi-family building code. But he said, the original house has 2 bedrooms and the new one only has 3 bedrooms with a den without a closet, which makes 5 bedrooms; the upshot is that there is no parking issue.

Finally, after some discussion by the board that displayed a genuine frustration with the project and its owner/ developer, the board passed a motion – unanimously –  that called for some kind of meeting with city representatives who would attend a meeting in November, possibly, and be prepared to discuss the project and come with answers.

obpb-meet-10-5-16-delmar24768 Del Mar

After hearing a presentation by the owner’s rep about what is being proposed at 4768 Del Mar Avenue, many of the board members praised the project. The project includes the demolition of a current 2-car garage off the alley and its replacement with 3-stories that include a 3-car garage as the first floor, and a 2nd unit on the second floor. On the 3rd floor is a common deck and small room. The front house will remain – but a previously converted garage will the “undone” and reconverted. The project will have a total of 5 parking spaces – one in the front garage and 4 off the alley.


Close up of the proposed project at 4768 Del Mar.

On the height of the buildings, they are just short of 30 feet. Solar panels will produce 50% of the site’s juice, and the FAR is a reportedly 0.50.

One of the drawbacks of the project is that a large pine tree will have to be removed. Its canopy would ironically interfere with the solar panels. The Sattlers – the owners – a young family present at the meeting – live in the front house.

Comments from the board: “a little boxy”, “a good project”, a “worthy project”, a “lost opportunity to put together a 3rd unit,”. Finally the vote: 7 for, 1 opposed.

Other News – Archtoberfest Celebration

The Board is collaborating with the OB Mainstreet Association and AIA of San Diego to host 2 events during October as part of the “Archtoberfest” celebration. The first is a “meet your design community” and will be held at Culture Brewing on Tuesday, Oct. 11th from 6 to 8pm, and the 2nd is on Tuesday, Oct. 25th, 6-8pm as an OB Design Charrette at Steve Lombardi Architects.

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