Peninsula Planners Take Up Recycling Center, 30-Foot Height Measurements, Upcoming Election

by on February 20, 2018 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

From Peninsula Community Planning Board website

By Geoff Page

The Peninsula Community Planning Board had a lean agenda for its regular monthly meeting February 15 at the Pt. Loma Library but it still allowed for controversy anyway.  One issue was the Prince Recycling Center next to the Stumps Market. The other issue was a request for support of a letter asking the city attorney for an opinion on how the Development Service Department is measuring the 30-foot height limit.  The second attempt to get PCPB support for this letter stalled.

Prince Recycling Center

The Prince Recycling Center has been the focus of a quickly organized and contentious move by some people to get rid of the facility.  The three leaders of this push are members of the Peninsula Community Planning Board, including the board’s chair, Jon Linney. The problem is that the PCPB has never discussed the recycling center and so has never taken any action on it.  Because the PCPB members were constantly referred to as members of that board in the media, the distinct public impression was that they were representing the PCPB when they were not.

Apparently, one of the board members felt a need to provide the members with a friendly reminder of the rules planning board members must abide by. This was a copy of Council Policy 600-24 Administrative Guidelines, Article I, Section 2 that states:

When expressing opinions on matters outside the community planning group’s responsibilities, individual group members should not identify themselves as members of the group, unless it is to qualify that they do not represent the group. Misrepresenting the community planning group in any way can jeopardize an individual’s eligibility for legal defense and indemnification pursuant to the “Ordinance Providing for Defense and Indemnification of Community Planning Groups” (O-19883 NS).

Suffice to say that the three members did not agree they had done anything to violate the rule. The chair stated that he could not control how the media referred to him but did not explain how the media found out they were board members or why they did not offer the disclaimer.

The mood got worse when it was learned that the Midway Planning Board was upset with Point Loma over the recycling center as well.  The Midway board members had learned that the organizers of the recycling center protest were saying the recycling facility should be moved to the area behind Big Lots in the Midway district.  Midway was not happy because no one had discussed this idea with them and they did not appreciate what looked like Point Loma pushing its perceived problem into their district.

Board member Jim Hare attended the Midway meeting and he made it clear to the Midway board that the PCPB had never discussed the issue and the recommendation did not come from the PCPB, confirming what this reporter had just told them.  The problem was public perception because the three leaders were referred to as PCPB members everywhere.

So, the mood was not good regarding the recycling center issue, unfortunately, for Jaime Prince, the owner of Prince Recycling.  Mr. Prince spoke during non-agenda public comment right after all of this had been transpired.  Mr. Prince was not treated well. The chair told him he had three minutes to speak and this reporter started a stopwatch.  Mr. Prince was interrupted twice, once by a board member and once by the chair, and, at two minutes and seventeen seconds the chair told him his three minutes were up.

The rules governing non-agenda comment are simple.  Speakers are allowed to talk for three minutes on anything that is not on the agenda for the evening.  People use this time to make announcements, ask for help, bring a problem to the board’s attention, or to complain.  No discussion is allowed.  Board members may only ask clarifying questions, which was not the nature of the comments that interrupted Mr. Prince.  It was clear that the board and some members were defensive about this issue and violated the non-agenda public comment rules.

30-Foot Height Letter

The 30-foot height letter came as the first action item.  The letter was originally written by this reporter. (This information is now offered because one of the board members has made an issue of a person writing about something and not revealing their involvement.)

After waiting over a year for the PCPB to act on how the Development Service Department (DSD) is allowing developers to measure the 30-foot height limit, and not seeing any action, I started an effort on my own.

Simply put, the DSD says Proposition D, that established the height limit in 1972, allows a developer to raise the grade on a lot first and then measure the 30 feet. Taking that interpretation a step further, the DSD is allowing developers to measure the height from the inside of tall planters the developer plans to build.  This saves the effort of having to raise the grade on the lots, a much more expensive undertaking.

Believing the DSD interpretation is not correct, I have written a brief letter that simply explains how the DSD is interpreting Prop D. The letter then contains a request that the city attorney look at the DSD interpretation and Prop D and provide an opinion on what the DSD is doing.  I am taking this letter to all of the beach planning boards seeking support. As of the February 15 PCPB meeting, I have obtained support from the Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach Planning Boards.

This letter came before the PCPB in January and generated criticism and discussion that resulted in another PCPB action item that received no action.  It appeared that the major criticism was the mention of the DSD Director’s name, so the letter was edited to remove those references and presented again last Thursday.  This was the version that Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach approved.  But, the PCPB still had problems with it and thought it should go back to one of its subcommittees for further review.

It is this reporter’s opinion that the PCPB is not reacting positively to this effort, as did two other planning boards, for two reasons.  The first reason is personal animosity some board members have toward me that is getting in the way of supporting an issue that I am sure Point Lomans are behind.

The second reason is that these same board members are attempting to protect the city from criticism.  In other words, it appears that the city’s interests are taking precedence over the interests of the Peninsula Community.

I am going to take the letter to the subcommittee, as suggested, in another attempt to get support but I am not optimistic because of the severe edits that have been suggested so far.  The letter is going to La Jolla and Midway in March.  The hope is to get the letter out by the end of March showing planning board support throughout the Prop D area.

Amendment Proposed to Peninsula Community Plan Re Roseville Height and Bulk

The second action item for the night was board approval of a letter from the PCPB Long Range Planning subcommittee.  The letter is about Roseville height and bulk and proposes a “limited amendment to the Peninsula Community Plan.” The details of this letter can be found here.

Draft Comments to Midway EIR

The last action item was about PCPB draft comments to the Midway EIR that Jim Hare had proposed.  The letter can be found here.

New Noise Study by Airport

During the subcommittee reports, it was learned that the airport is conducting a new noise study.  The Airport Noise Advisory Committee is forming a citizen’s advisory subcommittee.  Applications to be on this subcommittee must be received by February 28.  Here is the link to obtain an application.

Planning Board Elections March 15 – Candidate Forum March 1

Finally, the PCPB elections will be held at the March 15 monthly meeting from 4:00 to 8:00 at the Point Loma Library on Voltaire Street.  There are five open seats.  There is a candidate forum on March 1 at the library from 5:30 to 7:00 where the public can meet the candidates.  It is recommended that applications be submitted by March 1 because the PCPB has to prepare ballots for the elections. Applications can be found on the website on the elections page .

Everyone should come out and vote, the planning board is an important local community body and it makes decisions and speaks for the people who live on this Peninsula, except for Ocean Beach and Midway which have their own board.



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

micporte February 21, 2018 at 11:01 am

nice article, the 30 ft height limit is a real challenge to developers who so wish to depose it by any mean$… whatever happened to “small is beautiful?”


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