Why Protest Ebers and Greene?

by on October 14, 2016 · 3 comments

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

ob-ebers-house-100916Neighbors of the construction project at the corner of Ebers and Greene streets are calling for their fellow OBceans to rally and demonstrate against the project on Saturday, October 15th. A rally and informational picket line will begin around noon right at the site itself.

So why protest this project at Ebers and Greene?

The owner-developer of the land is Curtis Nelson of Nelco Properties, and his project has had many problems and issues since its beginning, multiple investigations by city, county and state agencies, from the asbestos exposures, to the unlicensed contractors directing the work on the 3-story structure, still in its wood-frame, from the lack of scaffolding, to the underpayment of the workers – and to much more.

There are questions about sufficient parking, whether it’s 2 buildings, or one multi-family structure, whether its bulk and scale fits with the neighborhood, its possible violations of the 30-foot height limit and floor-area-ratio and other possible code infringements.

But one of the central issues and complaints of the project – raised by neighbors and local planning veterans –  is really a question of process.

The owner did not take the project through the proper process. The project should have gone before the Ocean Beach Planning Committee, which definitely has jurisdiction at the site.

And it should have been reviewed by the California Coastal Commission.

So, why didn’t it go through these procedures?

Simply put, Nelco Properties – when it brought its plans forward – claimed the whole project was just an addition. “Additions” do not have to go through the local planning committee process. They become ministerial or Process 1 permits.

But why didn’t the city’s Development Services Department catch this? The DSD vets all these projects and gives them the initial thumbs ups or downs. Why did DSD give Nelco Properties the thumbs up?

That’s the million dollar question.

Some OB planners suspect that city staff at DSD knew what they were doing, knew the project was not just an addition and approved it anyway. One former member of the city planning department said of staff, “they’re blinded by the deceptions of the developers.”

This project should never have been approved by city planning bureaucrats – without any input or even review by community members.

Nelson built a 3-story house, after demolishing the garage to the already standing single-family house next door. And there is no way that this structure is an “addition.”

This rally Saturday at noon was planned by neighbors of the project who have become fed up with by getting no answers from the city after months of complaints. They took the issue to the OB Planning Board, and even the Board couldn’t get answers. After the last Planning Board meeting, in frustration the neighbors and the OB Rag planned the protest.

Sometimes, public protests, with media attention, on simmering issues that the city ignores are the only answer for citizens. Sometimes that’s the only time the city and our elected officials listen. Sometimes that’s the only way the bureaucracy moves, when pushed by those politicians who are being pushed by the citizenry.

Join your neighbors and fellow OBceans at Ebers and Greene – noon, Sat., Oct. 15th – bring your signs.



{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

retired botanist October 14, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Yep, it really is about the process. That’s why there IS a Community Plan and and Coastal Development Plan. Whether one likes the design or not, whether one feels sympathetic to the developer, or frustrated by the onerous and expensive task of getting permits, its a process that is meant to reflect the community’s guidelines. In the absence of the process, citizens need to speak up and speak out!

Got my sign ready. :-)


kh October 16, 2016 at 8:22 am

The city is asking the owner to sign an affidavit for a habitable accessory building, which is a pinky promise that it won’t be used as a 2nd unit. These are the other requirements. In particular, see section (b), (e), (f)

§141.0307 Guest Quarters or Habitable Accessory Buildings

Guest quarters or habitable accessory buildings are attached or detached accessory
living quarters developed of habitable construction, and located on a lot with a single
dwelling unit that do not provide complete, independent living facilities and do not
have direct access to the primary dwelling unit. Guest quarters or habitable accessory
buildings are solely for the use of the occupants of the primary dwelling unit or their
guests or employees.

Guest quarters or habitable accessory buildings may be permitted accessory to a
single dwelling unit as a limited use in accordance with Process One in the zones
indicated with an “L” in the Use Regulations Tables in Chapter 13, Article 1 (Base
Zones) subject to the following regulations.

(a) A primary dwelling unit must exist on the premises. Concurrent construction
of the primary dwelling unit and the guest quarters or habitable accessory
building is permitted.

(b) Guest quarters or habitable accessory buildings may occupy a maximum of 25
percent of the allowable gross floor area of the premises.

(c) Guest quarters or habitable accessory buildings may be attached to or
detached from the primary dwelling unit on the premises.

(d) The gross floor area of the guest quarters or habitable accessory buildings
shall be included in the floor area ratio calculation for the premises.

(e) The guest quarters or habitable accessory buildings shall not contain a kitchen
or facilities for the storage and preparation of food. A bar sink and miniature
refrigerator may be permitted.

(f) For guest quarters or habitable accessory buildings located above a garage or
other accessory building, the maximum structure height for flat-roofed
structures is 21 feet. For sloped-roofed structures with a roof pitch of at least
3:12 (3 vertical feet to 12 horizontal feet), the maximum structure height is 30

(g) Decks and staircases of not more than 3 feet in height may encroach into
required yards.

(h) Roof decks, including railings, shall not exceed the height limits in Section

(i) Occupancy of a premises containing guest quarters or habitable accessory
buildings shall be subject to the following:

(1) Guest quarters or habitable accessory buildings shall not be rented,
leased, or sold as a separate dwelling unit.

(2) Before a Building Permit is issued for a guest quarters or habitable
accessory building, the record owner shall submit a signed agreement
with the City that specifies that the guest quarters or habitable
accessory building shall not be used as, or converted to, a companion
unit or any other dwelling unit. The agreement shall include a
stipulation that neither the primary dwelling unit nor the guest quarters
or habitable accessory building shall be sold or conveyed separately.
The City will provide the agreement to the County Recorder for

(3) Guest quarters or habitable accessory buildings shall be used solely by
the occupants of the primary dwelling unit, their guests, or their


Debra October 16, 2016 at 1:11 pm

In addition to this structure being way too large and ostentatious for the lot, I find it extremely obnoxious, when someone builds a huge house that towers over the neighboring homes, especially with balconies, that eliminate any semblance of privacy for the neighbors.


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