More Beach Will Appear Once Bluff Repair Is Completed at End of Point Loma Ave – OB Planners Approve Project

by on April 5, 2018 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

The Ocean Beach Planning Board met last night, Wednesday, April 4th, under the guide of its new chair, Blake Herrschaft, and easily approved one project on the 4700 block of Pescadero, okayed a bluff repair – that promises to provide more beach once completed, extended T-Mobile’s term for its antennae on the Masonic Center, and went through an exercise in efforts to make meetings more efficient.

Board members also recast their votes for the Executive Committee, after complaints were made by board member Richard Aguirre that last March’s selection process was flawed. The election results from March remained the same: Herrschaft as chair, Andrea Schlageter as vice-chair, Craig Klein as treasurer and a floating secretary role begun by Dan Dennison.

Photo of model for new structure.

Small 2-Story Approved for 4763 Pescadero

When the project for 4763 Pescadero had come before the Board’s sub-committee, the Project Review Committee, there wasn’t a quorum but everyone pushed the project to the full board.

Roger Bennett made the presentation on behalf of his family, Michelle and Zak Bennett, the owners of the property which is .16 acres (6,970 sf) and currently has an existing 955 square foot residence on it.

The elder Bennett showed the board a 3-dimensional model of the project, “a 465 square foot, 2-story residence over a 493 square foot garage”; the model displayed an elliptical roof that faced the ocean, not Pescadero. Some may call it a “granny flat” as there is no livingroom – just one bedroom, like a studio.

The new structure would sit on a 2-car garage off the alley, with 1 bedroom, 1 bath and a kitchen on the 2nd floor. The new structure would be 26 feet high and have a very low FAR (floor-area-ratio) of .29.

The younger Bennetts, who were in the audience, said they weren’t certain what the back house would be – whether for relative or as a rental. This reporter politely gave them some reasons not to consider bringing in Airbnb and using it as a short term rental.

With much praise, the board voted unanimously to approve the project, 8 to 0.

Photo of current state at end of Point Loma Ave. and Houton property. Old seawall and rip rap will be removed.

Houlton Bluff Repair Promises New Beach

Bob Trenton presented the Houlton Bluff repair at 4820 Point Loma Avenue, on behalf of the Houltons. It’s an application for a permit to remove the existing rip rap and the old seawall approved by the city back in the Eighties, and allow a new wall for the bluff, a project that has had an 18 month process so far. Trenton also stated once the new wall is completed and all the old stuff removed, there should be an additional 400 square feet of beach for use by the public (at mean high tide).

Trenton complained about the city engineer’s proposal to simply find a temporary measure, to put up cement in a seacave at the site and leave all the rip rap. Why would we do something that won’t be approved by the Coastal Commission, Trenton asked. “Our project is more expensive,” he said, but a much better and appropriate build.

In the end, Trenton asked the board for approval – as well as for opposition to cement the seacave and leave the rip rap. Which the board did in a 8 to 0 vote for approval.

Process for Board Efficiency

Chair Herrschaft led the board through an exercise in order to tighten up the board’s process when projects are before it.  One stated goal was to return board meetings to only 2 hours. The exercise – which the board used for this issue – had 4 steps.

  1. The presentation of the project, 5 -10 minutes; during which board members can ask clarifying questions, but not long comments or diatribes;
  2. Public comment – 1-2 minutes each comment from the audience; board responses to those comments are not required;
  3. Board comments; 2 minutes with flexibility; members can cede their time to other members; motions may be made during comments;
  4. Motion – a motion on the project, and seconded in order to proceed to a vote; chair is not allowed to make motions (although the chair can ask for others to make motions, obviously).

Blake’s process appeared to work for the issue at hand, and would if employed cut down on extraneous comments by board members and audience members that fly out often these days.

Asking for audience comments, one man raised the issue of democracy, that efficiency cannot trump democratic processes. This reporter also raised several ideas to improve procedures and community involvement (from an earlier post, entitled “Friendly Suggestions …” -) which a number of board members thought should be used again.

There was some board discussion on who or what process sets the agenda, whether to allow 2 or 5 minute comments, to have the chair maintain control of the meeting – not to allow developers or the city take over – and to utilize a “consent agenda” to further along meetings (but how can an item be on a consent agenda unless consent has been reached somewhere and at sometime by board members?).

Extension of Wireless Facilities at Masonic Center

Finally, the Board approved an application to extend the existing wireless communication facility of T-Mobile at 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, which is the Masonic Center.




{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael April 5, 2018 at 3:11 pm

I’m a little surprised the board rubberstamped this development considering the home is currently for sale and the living area is so miniscule it would only be used for an AirBnB. Ive considered just moving to a cheaper part of town and doing an AirBnB once a month at the beach. The comparative costs certainly support this approach and I wouldn’t have to worry about my car getting broken into constantly.


kh April 6, 2018 at 10:50 am

Well it seems improper to deny a project because it might get used as an Airbnb. Especially if it’s a 2nd unit where the host would be on site, which is probably going to end up being allowed.

Perhaps if they had some proof that the owner is an absentee Airbnb superhost or something…

Also the new junior companion unit category is prohibited from being rented short term. That is current law. I’m not sure if this project fits in that category or not.


Frank Gormlie April 5, 2018 at 7:20 pm

A commenter to a related post stated: “… the address the board listed for the property was transposed. The address 4736 Pescadero had a noticed posted concerning an addition to the garage.” If this is true, the agenda and the notice are incorrect. Does the Board have to have a redo vote?


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