Peninsula Planners: McMillin Company and Liberty Station Improvements

by on April 26, 2017 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

Rosecrans and Nimitz intersection at top.

By Geoff Page

There was another good sized crowd at the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s regular monthly meeting on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at the Point Loma Library. But, as it turned out, many of those attending were presenters.  The biggest group was from the McMillin company, there to show the public plans for improvement at the intersection of Nimitz and Rosecrans.

The improvements were only on Rosecrans north and south of the intersection from Jewell Street to Jarvis Street, nothing was planned for Nimitz. Traffic lanes will be redone to make two left turn lanes from Rosecrans to east and west Nimitz.  The plans will also include a dedicated right turn lane from southbound Rosecrans to westbound Nimitz, bike lanes, energy efficient streetlamps, and water treatment for storm drainage. The project will take about one year.  There is a website at with maps and more information.

The McMillin company explained that its role was to “facilitate” the project by handling the construction.  Bids have already gone out.  They explained that this was a “cost reimbursable” project that the City will pay McMillin for.  The project was described as the final off-site mitigation project required by the City as part of the Liberty Station Development.  It was not explained why the City was reimbursing McMillin for a development project that was required in the development agreement that McMillin made with the City and has profited well off of.

There was more Liberty Station news when the Mayor’’s representative, Anthony George, said that one million dollars was set aside in the new budget to fund an athletic center and a long awaited aquatic center at the former Naval Training Center.  This was also supposed to be a McMillin responsibility in the redevelopment agreement and the community has been waiting for years to see the facility built. Money that was originally dedicated to this kind of a facility was re-appropriated to build the Liberty Station parks years ago and progress on the aquatic center stalled.

George’s other major piece of news was that the city has experienced a spike in what it needed for the pension fund resulting in a need to cut the budgets of all city departments by three and a half percent.  The problem apparently arose when revenue predictions fell short.  George said that certain departments and services would remain intact naming the Sunset Cliffs ranger staff as one and including libraries and rec centers.  PCPB board member Bruce Coons then asked why the arts funding programs were being cut by 33% when all the other departments were only asked to cut three and a half percent.  George said the city was working to reduce that figure.

During the action items portion of the meeting, the first project to come up generated a discussion of tentative map waivers, which was what the first project had applied for.  In a nutshell, the map waiver mechanism is used by developers to both reduce review time and to avoid public review.  Multi-family projects are permitted as apartment buildings with only ministerial approval, meaning there is no public review.  While under construction, the map waiver is sought to turn the project into condominiums, which as the original plan. The developer for the first project said this saved a whole year in the development process and this was why it was done.  That extra time would be devoted to a public review process that the majority of board members felt was being circumvented.  The board voted to deny the waiver on principle.

The next two projects were also applications for waivers, however, the second project, a redevelopment of the old Blockbuster video store location on Roscrans, had come before the PCPB before only because it required a site development permit.  Because the PCPB had seen it, made suggestions for changes, and the developers had listened, the map waiver was approved.  The third project simply asked for a time extension on an already approved map waiver, which it got.

The PCPB elected new officers, something that occurs every year after the March election.  Only one new officer was elected, Magaret Virssimo, a newly elected board member, was elected secretary.  The incumbent chair, vice chairs, and treasurer were all re-elected.

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