Peninsula Planners Balk at Idea of Town Council for Point Loma

by on May 23, 2017 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

Here is a report of the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s regular monthly meeting on Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Board Opposed to Sponsoring Town Hall Meeting on Forming Point Loma Town Council

The agenda item that seemed to have generated the most interest was a presentation on creating a town council for Point Loma.  Peninsula resident Michael Winn is spearheading this effort. It appeared that this was Winn’s idea that came about because Winn and others had seen that the community planning board was unable to deal effectively with some community issues due to various restrictions the board is bound by.

Winn’s main point was that a town council could do more because it was independent of the city, unlike the planning board.

Winn’s purpose at the meeting was to see if he could get the PCPB to sponsor an event, like a town hall meeting so the issue could be discussed with a wider group of Peninsula residents.  (Winn had a Power Point presentation that he was unable to make work so his presentation was not as organized as he had planned.)

Winn explained some of the town council advantages such as its ability to fund raise and to back political candidates, both of which the planning boards are prohibited from doing.  Many town councils are registered as 501 (c) non-profit corporations and can have money to use for various efforts. Planning boards only have enough funds to operate the boards themselves to pay for things like websites or post office boxes and some office supplies.

Although Winn gave an enthusiastic presentation of the idea, the comments from the board members were not supportive.  It was clear that some board members felt a bit offended by the idea that the board was not able to be effective in representing the community.

Others felt that what the town council would be doing was already being done by the PCPB and that this was just a repetitive and unnecessary effort.  The smell of territoriality was in the air.  A former chair of the Point Loma Association sat in the back of the room and did not enter the discussion even though there was talk of how the town council would also be duplicative of what the PLA does.

Board member David Dick said he did not think the PCPB sponsoring an effort like this was appropriate but was positive about the idea and offered to personally help Winn with his effort if he could be of assistance.  In the end, the board decided not to take any action on the proposal.  The board’s reluctance to support Winn’s simple request appeared to result from a perception that this idea was, in and of itself, a criticism of the PCPB and that it would be duplicating what the PCPB believes it is now doing very well.

Winn was not asking for the PCPB to support the idea of a town council, Winn only wanted help in getting a town hall event going to discuss the possibility of creating a town council and to see what the community thinks.  Winn’s reasoning was that the PCPB could be a big help in that it had community recognition and had the ability to reach more people than Winn and his supporters could reach.

City No Show on “Granny Flats” Presentation

What might have been the most interesting item on the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s agenda at its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, May 18, 2017, was not heard because the presenter did not show.  This was to be a presentation by the City of San Diego’s Municipal Code changes regarding “granny flats.”

This discussion about State Bill 1069, that contains some mandates regarding what are technically called “accessory dwelling units,” is important to everyone in a single family neighborhoods because it will defacto rezone those neighborhoods into multi-family neighborhoods.

Because it did not get discussed, the only information available right now is the bill itself and a February 10, 2017 Memorandum to City Council about the proposed changes. This information is eye-opening and it needs to be the subject of separate article.

One project came before the board for a companion unit and it appeared this project was taking advantage of certain changes that SB 1069 allegedly allows, such as less than normally required parking.

Bus Route Elimination Opposed

Another item of interest to some Peninsula residents was a kind of emergency addition to the agenda having to do with bus route #84.  Conrad Wear, representing District 2 Councilmember Lori Zapf, explained that the Metropolitan Transit Authority was going to decide on eliminating the bus route and Zapf’s office was trying to protect it.  This bus route runs out to Fort Rosecrans and Wear explained how a certain segment of the community depends on the line.  The board voted unanimously to send a letter to the MTA urging it to keep the route open.

Other News

Arts Funding Restored. Wear also announced that $2.3 million of the money slashed from the arts funding during the recent budget cuts was being restored.  The original hit was for almost 35 percent of the department’s budget, when the other city departments were only cut 3.3 percent.  Although money was restored, it still left the arts department with the biggest cut of all at 15 percent.

SeaWorld’s Proposed Roller Coaster

Jarvis Ross spoke during non-agenda public comment complaining about Sea World’s proposed roller coaster and the noise it will bring to the north area of the Peninsula and urged someone from the board to attend the City Council meeting on May 25 at 9:00 to speak for the community.  The chair asked for a volunteer and no one appeared interested in attending. Before he spoke, Ross asked for a show of hands to see how many board members lived in the northern section of the Peninsula and no one raised their hand, which may have explained the lack of interest in his request of the board.

McMillin memo

New Signage Proposed by McMillin Co. Is Missing Something

The McMillin Company came requesting a letter of support for new signage at Liberty Station and “way finding” highway signs off the 5 freeway.  The signs are used to direct people to historic sites.

The Naval Training Center is designated as an historical site, with that name. McMillin’s proposed sign abbreviates that to NTC and emphasizes the new name Liberty Station.  This does not appear to conform with the practice of placing the full name of the historic site on the highway signs.

Daniel Smiechowski, a candidate for the District 2 council seat, introduced himself during non-agenda public comment.

By-Laws Revision. Finally, the board voted to create an ad hoc subcommittee to revise its by-laws.  Board member David Dick proposed the subcommittee and its inclusion to two community members.  There was a bit of a discussion as to why community members would be included and David Dick explained that there were community members with past experience serving on the board and with revising by-laws.  The chair spoke up and stated that any community members included on the subcommittee would have to agree to respect all board members on social media.  When asked what he meant by that, the chair did not respond.  The subcommittee was created with two slots for community members.


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