Narragansett Project Not Ready for Prime Time Say Ocean Beach Planners

by on November 2, 2017 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

A project proposed for 5018 Narragansett is not ready for review, the Ocean Beach Planning Board told the developer last night at their monthly meeting. Also, no one showed for the condo project proposed for Abbott and Muir, plus the Board had a lively discussion about short term rentals and is considering asking a Board member to resign for lack of attendance.

5018 and 5018 1/2 Narragansett Project

Chair John Ambert informed the audience that an action item associated with this project on the 5000 block of Narragansett was changed to an informational item only as the Board had not received updated documents on the project. The Coastal Development Permit proposes to demolish and to remodel 2 single story units with a second story addition on each unit. This will result in a net increase of approximately 954 square feet per unit – or 1,908 square feet overall – on the .8 acre lot.

When the developer approached the Board, he said he had just met with city staff and the project supervisor. Yet, Ambert – after examining the paperwork the applicant had handed him – told him there were too many unresolved issues for the Board to take any action. “It’s premature,” Ambert said. “You need to re-submit, get your draft findings and assessment letter, then come back to the Board.” The applicant seemed confused by what he was hearing compared to what the city had told him. That’s a familiar story at these planning meetings.

Ambert pointed out the section in the paperwork that indicated applicants needed to pass through local planning committees. Board member Jane Gawronski then stated: “There’s not enough parking [in the design],” and explained the design calls for 4 bedroom and 4 parking spaces, yet according to the OB Community Plan, the project as configured is allowed only 3 spaces. Ambert said this was probably the biggest issue for the applicant.

Board members then spent some time going over the designs and making informal recommendations to the applicant. Many of the suggestions included ways he could break up the blank facades of the design. In the end, no action was taken, and the applicant now has to resolve a number of issues before returning to the OB planners.

See these drawings:

No Action on Abbott – Muir Condos

The applicant didn’t show for this project and hadn’t apparently submitted updated documents. Originally this 2-story project proposed 4 condo units and the applicant sought a variance that would allow him to build over the floor-area-ratio by installing “green building” elements. (It’s a longer and more complicated story than that – do a word search on our “search bar” and type in ‘Abbott and Muir’.) The Board nixed this effort and is waiting to review a new design calling for only 3 condos.

Board Member to Be Asked to Step Down

The Board is considering a rare move: requesting a Board member to step down for lack of attendance. Chair Ambert explained that member Richard Aguirre had missed 5 meetings out of the last 7. The Board’s bylaws call for removal of a member after failing to attend four meetings, and the issue will be placed on next month’s meeting as a noticed action item. Several Board members commented that the area Aguirre represents needs representation due to “lots of changes occurring ” in the area.

Status of Short-Term Rentals

Board members were disappointed that the October 23rd City Council meeting on vacation rentals had been cancelled at the last minute, due to a memo from the City Attorney’s Office raising legal issues with the various proposals. There was some discussion of what the Board do now, and Vice-chair Blake Herrschaft led a presentation on the effects of vacation rentals on the local housing market. The so-called Bry-Zapf proposal uses terms that need defining. The competing proposal by 4 councilmembers – including Alvarez and Ward – has also been questioned by City Attorney Elliott.

The City Council has set December 10th for the hearing (10 am in Golden Hall).  Ambert also  advised Board members and the public to attend Council Smart Growth and Land Use Committee and to put pressure on Ward and Alvarez with letters. Herrschaft – who has become somewhat of an expert on vacation rentals and who has been the most strident Board member against them (he recently penned an article at Voice of San Diego) – explained that OB has lost a thousand beds due to Airbnb and such sites, or about a loss in housing stock of about 600 units. “The  housing stock is disappearing,” he said. Herschaft complained Mayor Faulconer “is not asking or presenting any data on the crisis.” The city is not sending any info – except tax info – on how many vacation rentals exist in San Diego.

Blake and Ambert spoke of reaching out and mobilizing the community to these various meetings – “wear blue for the coast,” one of them said.  This reporter asked the Board about a “coastal exception” for the rentals but Ambert replied that neither Bry nor Zapf had bought into the concept. Conrad Wear commented that Bry and Zapf could see the “coastal exception” as an amendment or as a “last resort”.



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