Ocean Beach Town Hall Demands “Stop Work” Order by Mayor for Ebers and Greene Project

by on October 20, 2016 · 0 comments

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


Town Hall meeting on Ebers and Greene project, Oct. 19, 2016. Photo by John Loughlin

Close to 70 people crowded into the Ocean Beach Recreation Center’s meeting room last night, Wednesday, October 19th, for a special Town Hall meeting on the controversial construction project at Ebers and Greene Streets.

The town hall-type gathering was called for at last weekend’s rally against the project, and the heads of both the OB and Peninsula Planning Boards had committed to help make it happen.

After nearly an hour and half of discussion on ‘what to do?’, the assembled residents fairly-unanimously decided to demand a “Stop Work” order by Mayor Faulconer on the project.

No city official appeared – despite being invited – and no one from the developer was in attendance.



John Ambert, chair of the OB Planning Board, opened the town hall meeting by declaring that the purpose was to find a solution. Other members of an assembled panel were introduced, and then the floor was opened for discussion.

Besides a stop work order, people also want to see the construction plans for the site, as they have been unavailable for review – and in flux, several speakers mentioned.

Underlying everything, is an additional demand by the community – as expressed many times during the Town Hall – for the project to be forced to go through the usual review process. This means the project must go before the Ocean Beach Planning Board for review and comment, and also importantly, it means that the owner Curtis Nelson of Nelco Properties must apply for a Coastal Development Permit and be subject to a review by the California Coastal Commission.

ob-ebers-townhall-fg-1-edNelco Properties originally applied for a Process 1 permit as it claimed it was only adding an “addition” to an already existing single-family house. Builders do not have to go through the normal process if the project only is an addition or rehab.

Yet, clearly, what Curtis Nelson built is not just an addition; it’s a full fledged 3-story, 3 or 4 bedroom house.

The demand on Mayor Faulconer for a stop work order by the town hall meeting was made in the hopes of pressuring San Diego’s top executive into moving in a similar direction as he did on another project in Roseville in Point Loma. In the case of the Emerson-Evergreen project, the Mayor did order such a directive, and eventually the developer was forced to remove the top floor of the 4-story project.

At the front of the room, the panel included, besides Ambert, Craig Klein and Marissa Spata – both OB Planning Board members, Jon Linney – chair of the Peninsula planners, this writer representing the OB Rag, and resident Allison Graf Rush – who along with her husband Mick – had made the original complaints about the project to the OB Planning Board.



During comments from the panel, Sparta read notes from the October OB Planning Board meeting where the Board had voted to send a letter to the city which outlined problems and issues with the project. There has been no response as yet.

Ambert spoke of the construction project itself. It sits on a 5,000 square foot lot, where the existing house is 1200 square feet and the so-called addition is 1900 square feet. The zone, Ambert explained, allows 1 unit per 3000 square feet, but Zillow and other online property advertisers, had promoted the project as 2 units on 1 lot. Plus signs had been seen by many on the site advertising it as “2 on 1”.

“Thousands of dollars were spent on the remodel of the original house,” Ambert said. He continued, “the height and FAR [floor-area-ratio] are not the main issues.”

Geoff Page, a former chair of the Peninsula planners, spoke to the assembled crowd on his analysis of the Notice of Correction that the city has issued on the project, repeating the claims made in an OB Rag article recently. Essentially, Page believes the owner-developer, Nelson, and the city are making adjustments to the plans and that they are very possibly changing the original house into “guest quarters”. The developer would have to remove the kitchen, Page asserted, and reduce the older building to 935 square feet.

To a comment from a woman in the audience that the project “is setting a trend”, Page replied, “DSD [Development Services Department] knew it wasn’t an addition.” DSD, he believes, “wants to defacto rezone the entire area.”

Someone asked, “What’s the endgame of a stop work order?” Ambert responded that the project would be required to apply for a Coastal Development Permit and a Process 3 site permit application.  These would force the project before the OB Planning Board and the Coastal Commission.

Another comment: “We need a clear definition of the project,” which many agreed with. Also someone offered that we need to look into the fees spent for the application by the developer, as they would be more if it was more than an addition.

Someone yelled out: “We should picket the mayor!” and someone else mentioned that he lives in Point Loma.

Another: “One of these homes has to go.”

And another: “Stuff gets built under a lie.”

Linney spoke of what happened in Roseville on the Emerson and Evergreen project. He said his planning committee had been pressured by the local community to vote on that project, even though it had – like the Ebers project – had been approved by DSD without review. “We held a rally at the site,” he said, “150 people.” But there was “no response” from the city. “We urged the mayor to issue a stop-work order – no response.”

They had a town hall meeting, he said, with 300 in attendance. They discussed taking legal action and $8,000 was raised that night for such an effort.

Then the Mayor texted him, Linney said, stating that he was issuing a stop work order on the project’s FAR – not on the issue that neighbors had complained about – its 4 stories.  “The top floor was removed,” he said.  “This project looks like Emerson.” Linney urged the crowd to take action, to email the mayor and Lori Zapf – “you guys make it happen.”

“We never saw the [Emerson] plans,” Linney said to astonishment.

After it was clear that the crowd had formulated its direction with a demand for the stop work order, Ambert told everyone that the November meeting of the OBPB will be taking the issue up.

So, the assembled group of residents had in the end asked for the order to stop work, and demanded to see the project’s plans, and demanded that it be required to be reviewed by the Coastal Commission.

The ball is now in the Mayor’s court.


Here’s the CBS8 reportNBC7 report



{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: