Housing Commission Accuses Point Lomans of NIMBYism in Opposing Huge Housing Project on Open Space

by on June 15, 2018 · 19 comments

in Ocean Beach

Point Loma residents at Special Meeting, June 14, 2018. Screen capture from KUSI

Last night, Thursday, June 14, about 80 Point Lomans crowded into the meeting room at the local library and gave representatives from the San Diego Housing Commission a piece of their collective mind about the proposed 78 units on the table to be built.

It was a special meeting of the Peninsula Community Planning Board on the open space land at Famosa and Voltaire – and although the Board failed to manage a quorum – they really didn’t need one as it wasn’t a voting meeting for them. What it the meeting represented was another chance for the Housing Commission to explain their project and get feedback.

Apparently, the discussion became testy – as different sides were being heard – some were there to protect their backyard, some were there to protect one of the last pieces of open space in Point Loma, some were there to question the Housing Commission’s authority, some were there as they had just heard about the huge building project being planned by the Housing Commission a few weeks ago, even though the Commission has been planning it for a year.

Many were upset they hadn’t been notified about the plans by the City or the Housing authority. Many were upset about the potential loss of this space that has been used for decades and by generations of locals. Some were upset thinking about the impact that many units would have on the neighborhood, the congestion, the increased traffic. Some were thinking where the next dirt track could be. Some were upset when the Housing Commission threatened to sell the land to a private developer, despite the restrictions on the deed that it would revert to open space if a move was made like that.

(OB Rag readers are familiar with the issue as we have been covering it since mid-March when Darren Miller stood in front of a small bulldozer as it was tearing up the Famosa Bike Track. Geoff Page last covered the issue in his report from the last Peninsula Board meeting.)

At one point one of the Housing Commission reps accused the crowd of NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard) – which produced a rumble of grumbling.  Some of the local media billed the meeting as’ locals opposed to affordable housing’.

But there are too many issues surrounding this debacle to easily label it. And it ain’t over yet. At least two groups have been reportedly formed over the issue – a new Point Loma Town Council and a Point Loma homeowners group based out of Park Point Loma. The Housing Commission came for community input – and they got it.

And this is not the last we’re see of this showdown. Stay tuned to this station.




{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page June 15, 2018 at 1:11 pm

A minor correction, the PCPB did not have a quorum when it first began but within minutes, some tardy members showed up and they did achieve a quorum. The article is correct in that they may not have needed one because they did not take a vote, but, if they had not achieved a quorum, the meeting would have had to be cancelled. Fortunately for all, the meeting was held and everyone had a chance to participate.


Frank Gormlie June 18, 2018 at 10:03 am

Geoff – thanks for the update. Obviously I wasn’t there and relied on my report from first hand accounts and the mainstream media mentioned.


amanda June 15, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Let’s see – PL has the airport with all its noise, pollution & congestion, the military base – causing gridlock on all of Rosecrans for hours in the a.m. and p.m, as well as residential side streets being overused as detours for Rosecrans, County Mental Health building (and all it’s glory), homeless tent shelters, etc etc etc. Let’s not forget the proposed massive development plans for the Midway/Sports Arena area and old Post Office acreage. Call it whatever you’d like – NIMBY is fine by me, since we in fact have more than our share already IN OUR BACKYARDS, thank you! Shall we propose such things to La Jolla, RSF, etc? The housing commission would be laughed out of …..or escorted right out of those neighborhoods and we all know it. It’s way past time for PL to stand up the way other communities do. Improvements and smart re-development is one thing but careless and rampant densification is another – especially considering the lack of infrastructure and current issues we’re dealing with.


tennyson clark June 15, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Amanda: Thank You !!!!


RB June 15, 2018 at 5:43 pm

Amanda, we need you on the city council.


korla eaquinta June 15, 2018 at 8:04 pm

I would like to point out that this Point Loma Town Council has been trying to get off the ground for quite a while now. It was NOT formed as a response to the Famosa Open Space.


Frank Gormlie June 18, 2018 at 10:03 am

Korla – thanks for the correction.


Michael Winn June 21, 2018 at 5:44 pm

We launched the town council in May of 2017. The website is pointlomatowncouncil.org. We haven’t met our goals yet but we have had an small impact on the transparency of PCPB activities and make an effort to support all PL communities. Take a look at our website. You’re welcome to participate.


Tyler June 16, 2018 at 9:02 am

It’s interesting seeing progressives divide on this issue by age. I’ll leave it at that


Frank Gormlie June 18, 2018 at 10:04 am

Tyler – hopefully open space is not just a “progressive” issue.


Tyler June 19, 2018 at 9:43 am

Of course not. And this is one of the first cases where “open space” is the issue at hand, rather than the usual traffic, eyesore, doesn’t fit with the community, etc.

While I’m sympathetic to the fact that this area has been used by kids to ride BMX for decades… it’s ONLY used by them. So like 20 kids. The net benefit of having more middle class housing, IMO, is far greater than any negatives like increased traffic and a loss of an awkward topographical “park.” There’s a very large open space park across the street.


Dave June 16, 2018 at 3:08 pm

There were a lot of opposition points on display here, but to say that a NIMBY characterization was wholly inaccurate is off-base. There were plenty of people, including board members, who had negative things to say about affordable housing and the people who inhabit it, as well as stating that their primary opposition was in the interest of protecting home values or keeping those “problem people” out of the neighborhood.

The biggest issue for most, though, was probably traffic, given the two new projects on Voltaire and the coming improvements to the Correia sports facilities adding to what any local knows is already a horrendous situation on Nimitz and/or Rosecrans. Open space concerns, the Housing Authority’s actual authority, and the fact that the project progressed so far under the radar were probably vying for spots 3-5 on the list of overall complaints.


liz June 17, 2018 at 8:33 am

funny how when the usual luxury projects are proposed all you hear about is how it is driving out affordable housing… now there is an actual affordable housing project proposed in a beach community (how dare they!) the community should be proud that the city is offering housing that the teachers that teach our children and the firefighters that save our lives, not to mention the military personnel, could actually afford to live here and not have to drive from El Cajon to get to work in Point Loma (part of the traffic problem isn’t it?).. but yes there was plenty of “those people” sentiments in the crowd which by all means IS nimby (and classism). The solution to the traffic problems is not to stop this and other housing projects but to insist on better public transportation that everyone can use that will be faster, healthier and more convenient than using our cars.


nostalgic June 17, 2018 at 8:58 am

The property was contributed by Collier for a public park. The city chooses to think otherwise.


John O June 17, 2018 at 10:26 pm

Not sure that any opposition matters when people can’t afford to live in San Diego. I say build, build, build… and include La Jolla, RSF, anywhere you want.


amanda June 18, 2018 at 1:17 pm

@Liz, don’t forget the city has approved countless tear downs of small (relatively affordable) homes in both PL & OB in favor of approving multi unit “luxury” condos which at around $1mm, don’t fit the “affordable housing” criteria. I think people are tired of the shady way things are done as well as disregard of height limits and purposes of land – i.e if the Famosa land grant in question was indeed designated as park use, then the city should honor that. While I’d love to have a teacher or law enforcement as a neighbor, considering those salaries and benefits packages often outshine my own, not sure they’d qualify under the city’s criteria. I’ve spent a decade working in La Jolla and now Solana Beach, a good 2 hrs / day commuting – never crossed my mind those areas should build something more affordable for me. Yes, affordable housing is a big problem for sure – but densifying neighborhoods that are already bursting at the seams isn’t the answer. And the burden needs to be shared amongst other communities as well.


Angela January 26, 2019 at 2:55 pm

Very well stated Amanda, thank you.


Michael Winn June 21, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Frank, in May 2017, we began the formation of the town council. We now know this was about a month before 2 planning board members, with previous relationships with the Housing Commission and probably in violation of both the Brown Act and city regs for planning boards, invited Housing Commission staff to move submit a development for this parcel. No consultation with community. No public hearing. The community was never informed about this by PCPB. In March, bulldozer drivers were ordered off the site with help from SDPD. They had no permits and no authorization to touch that property. A neighbor, who saw what they were doing, had blown the whistle. Frank, there are at least three interesting stories in this PCPB fiasco but NIMBYism may be a distant 4th.


Doug Blackwood June 22, 2018 at 8:25 pm

Having lived in OB since 1991: I need affordable housing!
Still working at 73: majority of my income goes to rent!


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