More Questions About “Villa Famosa” on Camulos Drive in Point Loma

by on April 3, 2017 · 6 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach

After a closer look at the site of the planned project called “Villa Famosa” on Camulos Street right off Famosa Slough, this reporter, at least, has more questions about the project.

On March 28th, we reported:

The “Villa Famosa” project is slated for a remodel of one already existing 2-story apartment building at the site on Camulos Drive, the 90 degree “turning” of the other already-existing 2-story, and the construction of a brand new third 2-story building that will hold 6 units.

The plans also call for a underground parking garage that will include 22 spaces for cars, and an additional 2 for motorcycles and 8 for bicycles.

And it also calls for a new driveway into the lot at Temecula Street.

Several green notices calling attention to the new project were stapled to posts at the property when this reported visited the site last week. There is a good hill on that block of Camulos Drive.

Looking into the back portion of the lot. Camulos is off to the left.

I took a dozen photos or so on what I found – and it’s these photos that demonstrate what a challenge it will be to construct this project. Take a look at them and tell us what you think.

Here’s the back parking lot and Famosa Slough not too far away.

One thing I noticed right away: the photos we posted of the site on March 28th showed Famosa Slough at a much lower level than the current one is.

There’s not much between the lagoon and the parking lot of the property.

How would a 22-car underground garage be built here – so close to one of the last natural vestiges of one of the largest lagoons on the West Coast?

On the north side of the property, Temecula now is a dead end. Plans call for a new drive-way off Temecula.

On the north side of the lot, there’s a good thicket of small trees and brush that leads down to the Slough. Some or all of that would have to be removed in order to extend Temecula Street so the project can have a new drive-way.

But just where and how will that underground garage go?

A view of the extent of the foliage adjacent to the property fence. How much would have to be removed?

I spoke to several neighbors – none of whom had heard of the new project. One actually stated that the property had just had a rehab – perhaps less than a year ago.

Somebody with an engineer’s license needs to explain all of this.



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

john April 3, 2017 at 4:23 pm

From photos some guesses on requirements.:
1. In order to extend Temecula the owner will need City Council approval. (vacation of public roads are a process 5, City Council approval.)
2. Biological report is necessary being adjacent to lagoon. (sensitive biological land) Water quality mitigation measures need to be addressed.
3. Height limit is 40′ from lowest point of site (draw this line horizontally over the whole site. …and draw a second line 30′ above existing and /or proposed grade (which every is lower) . The building envelope must not cross above either line. including chimney or vent pipes etc…
4. ADA access to current code will be required for site.


Frank Gormlie April 3, 2017 at 7:43 pm

john, thanks for the update . We don’t know when this project will be reviewed by the Peninsula Community Planning Board.


Dave April 3, 2017 at 5:53 pm

More units next door to me? This should make street parking as fun as it was when I lived in the war zone!


Frank Gormlie April 3, 2017 at 7:44 pm

It’s nice to know that such an enterprising young reporter lives so close to this potentially controversial project.


Geoff Page April 3, 2017 at 5:57 pm

My many years in construction have showed me that anything can be built if there is enough money. In order to build an underground parking garage, the builder will have to create a dry space in which to work. My guess is that they will need to solid sheet the entire area with interlocking sheeting considering how close to the water it is. Then, they will have to install dewatering equipment to keep the water from coming up through the bottom. Once a bottom slab is built they may or may not be able to abandon the pumping. If they don’t build a stout enough slab, permanent dewatering will be needed or the water pressure will uplift the slab. It may be needed anyway because once they stop pumping, the water will rise outside the poured concrete garage walls and will eventually seep into the garage.

Two concerns I see. If they do solid sheet the excavation, it will be very disruptive to anyone or anything nearby. There are some other methods but they are very expensive. The pumping cold also be a concern as it will affect the surrounding waters.

I think this kind of construction so close to a fragile habitat like the slough is a bad idea. If it were just near the bay or the ocean, these concerns would not matter a lot but this place is very special. I would not recommend approving a project like this at this location unless they did away with the underground parking.

The water level difference in the pictures is probably due both to the tides and the recent rains.


Frank Gormlie April 3, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Definitely the water level difference could be tides and the recent wet Spring. The photo used in the earlier report was from google maps.

Agree with you wholeheartedly Geoff, this project is a bad idea so close to this Slough.


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