OB Planning Board Approves Santa Monica Remodel – Praising Owner for Keeping His Single Family House

by on March 2, 2017 · 1 comment

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

Meeting Wednesday night inside the community room of the OB Rec Center, the Ocean Beach Planning Board found themselves with a full agenda.

By the end of the evening, they had approved a remodel / addition to a single family house on Santa Monica, formed a sub-committee on short-term vacation rentals, reviewed recent applications for alcohol permits, enjoyed a full discussion on a proposal to modify their bylaws about signature gatherings, and confirmed their upcoming annual election details.

Discussion on Bylaw Modification

The Board held a robust discussion of a proposed modification to one of the Board’s bylaws, namely Article 4, section 2, having to do with signature gatherings. The proposed change would allow individuals to gather signatures as board candidates in districts outside where they live.

Currently, the Board – made of 14 seats, 2 from each of the 7 districts – has bylaws that require prospective candidates to gather at least 35 signatures of residents (or business or property owners) of the district they seek to represent.

During the discussion, the current system was called “cumbersome” for people who work full-time, that it took too much time going door-to-door, and if implemented would aid the Board in filling vacancies.

Most board members who spoke on this issue were opposed to the modification. It was pointed out several times that the attitudes and issues of one district are not the attitudes and issues of other districts. “The ‘War Zone’ issues are very different Orchard up the hill,” Numan Stotz said.

The most recently installed board member, Spencer Scott, recalled that when he went to collect signatures, he did it in both District 3 and in District 7, and said that the conversations he had with people “were entirely different.” He added:

“It took a long time but the time is worth it.”

Craig Klein said:

“District 4 is a commercial district, and merchants have interests that are different than residents.”

Chair John Ambert informed everyone that “OB is the only planning board with district elections.” Voters in the OBPB election may only vote for candidates in the district where they live, or own a business or own property.

Nanci Kelly suggested that the bylaw could be changed to allow only 25 signatures were needed from the district represented. (Nanci is leaving the Board to focus on her work and activism.)

Andrew Waltz commented that because OB is such a walking-community, people walk through all the districts, and know them anyhow.

No vote was taken by the Board, as this was an information item only.

Alcohol Permits and the ABC

The Board engaged in a discussion about recent applications to sell alcohol. Both the OB Shell and a new brew pub, Little Miss Brewing Co., coming in at 4861 Newport, have applied to the ABC for licenses.

Ambert turned the discussion over to Kelly McKay from Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) who has been protesting various licenses and instructed the audience of a couple dozen people how to file complaints and what to expect in response from the state agency, which makes its money from the applicants.

ABC goes by census tracts, and one of OB’s tracts has 34 establishments that sell alcohol, but by statute is only supposed to have 6. McKay stated that the agency goes by language that determines what is necessary and convenient.

Klein informed that the new beer tasting rooms coming into OB are not getting new licenses as they are running off the original license of the brewery. He suggested that the community can get conditions added to the license, such as having to close by 11pm or more restrictive parking requirements. “The idea is to curb it, not stop it.”

Meanwhile, often the ABC buys the argument that the micro-brewers are correct in saying that they’re the only ones that sell their product. ABC also looks at crime statistics, particularly alcohol-related crime.

The couple who own Little Miss were in the audience and responded that they love OB and OB is not the same as PB, and that customers only come into their establishments for a couple of brewskies and then leave. Go to another beer tasting place. “People come to OB to have beer.”

Ambert iterated that because the process of approving liquor licenses is not working on the community level, and because there’s no process for the community to have real input, the Planning Board members as individuals have been protesting every new ABC application.  There was no vote taken on anything as this was an information item.

Sub-Committee on Short Term Rentals Formed

After some discussion, the Board voted to form a sub-committee to research and delve into the issue of short-term vacation rentals. Ambert pointed out that OB has an extremely large rental population, with 1700 rental units – and when there’s a high number of STVRs, the number of rental units available decline.

“It will be good to study this issue,” Ambert said, “and quantify the number of STVRs – to give City Attorney Mara Elliott feedback and information.”

Blake Herrschaft added, “Getting addresses is a big task and is the starting point,” and that websites need to be scoured and a database of addresses, an inventory be established. Blake will head up the sub-committee, and along with Andrew and Dan Dennison – and this reporter and a new applicant for the Board, will start up the research project.

4655 Santa Monica Re-Model

The only project on the agenda was a remodel and small addition to an existing single family house at 4655 Santa Monica. The Board reviewed the permit application for a remodel and small addition of 350 square feet with a roof deck to an already existing house – a house that is only 975 square feet large.

The owner/ developer was actually praised by Board members for keeping the single house, as its surrounded by large condo units. He was advised by the Board on how to increase the green-ness of his project. Other comments: “I’m thrilled,” and “A lovely project.”

By an unanimous vote, the Board approved the permit.

Presentation of Historic Banner with maybe the wrong year?

At the top of the meeting, Conrad Wear of Councilwoman Zapf’s office, presented a special banner to the Board commemorating the establishment of the OB Planning Board back in … 1977? Well, the banner says “1977” as the year, Wear said, that the City Council voted to authorize the Board.

Yet OB historians know that the Board was actually established in 1976. The first community-wide election for the first Board drew thousands of voters, and was held on May 4, 1976. Within a month or so, the Board began meeting and making decisions. That was 1976.

March 15th Election Confirmed

The Board also confirmed details of its upcoming annual election on March 15th. It will be held that Wednesday, from 4 to 6 pm in the Craft Room of the OB Rec Center. An election sub-committee was firmed up. It was also decided that the results would be posted immediately after the vote count.

OBceans who wish to vote, vote only for candidates in their district, and must bring proof of residency and identity. Any resident, tenant, property owner or business owner is eligible to vote.

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Avatar Conrad March 3, 2017 at 2:50 pm

See the link below for Resolution No. 218995 which records the City of San Diego’s official recognition of the OB Planning Board. It was passed and adopted by the Council of the City of San Diego on August 3rd, 1977 with a vote of 8 in favor and one absent.

http://docs.sandiego.gov/council_reso_ordinance/rao1977/R-218995.pdf

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