Jim Bell’s House and Dover Plumbing to Be Demolished – 3-Story Mixed Use with 10 Units and 3,000 Sq Ft of Commercial Coming In

by on August 29, 2018 · 12 comments

in Ocean Beach

3D view of the 2 properties, Jim Bell’s house on the right, and the former Dover Plumbing building and yard to the left.

Unfortunately, we predicted it back in February that big changes were coming to the 4800 block of Voltaire Street in north Ocean Beach. And it looks like they are. We predicted that somebody could come in and purchase both Jim Bell’s old house and the old Dover Plumbing building – and make way for a huge complex.

It’s happened.

The city has posted notices that Jim Bell’s former house at 4862 Voltaire and the former Dover Plumbing at 4870 will both be demolished, to make way for a 3-story mixed use building, with 10 residential units and near 3,000 square feet of commercial space.

Right now, the notice states there is a Coastal Development Permit – a Process 2 – to demolish 2 existing commercial buildings and construct the mixed-use with a total of 20,553 square feet. The applicant is Mark Brencick.

The bottom of the notice directs one to contact Blake Herrschaft, chair of the OB Planning Board, to inquire on meeting dates, etc for the community planning group’s recommendation of the project. (Blake is no longer chair, it’s Andrea Schlageter).

Combined, these properties form a significant chunk of Voltaire.

Back in February, we stated:

One or more developers could eye the combo of these properties as a delicious profit center for future condos, mixed use, 2 storied commercial buildings. The current buildings on both these properties would be demolished to make way for whatever proposals the elite developer class has in mind. There may be an attempt to have Bell’s center made into a historic structure, but in this reporter’s opinion, there’s been too many additions and add-ons to the original structure for it to qualify.

The building itself does have some local flavor – part of it was the site of one of the Hodad’s restaurants.

And in May, we reported Jim Bell’s house was, indeed, up for sale.  (Go here for a tour of Jim’s old house by Kip Krueger.)

This project, if built, will forever transform for better or worse the 4800 block of Voltaire Street.

Here is a bad reproduction of the notice, posted Aug.  27:


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

ZZ August 29, 2018 at 12:45 pm

Jim’s illness is unfortunate, but the development proposed sounds great. Housing for 10 families and more new businesses will be great.

Mark Brencick looks like he works for a living and not the one with the $$$ and ultimately behind the project.


craig klein August 29, 2018 at 1:32 pm

It’s a Proceess 2, so it should be coming before the OB Planning Board for review.


OB Mercy August 29, 2018 at 3:25 pm

Let’s just hope the residential units aren’t going to be STVR’S. Coastal Commission permits aren’t that easy to buy…ER, I mean get. They gave one to the STVR next door to us to build ANOTHER STVR in the backyard. This is the one our planning board voted against last year. Also just heard that the parking laws are no longer valid as it pertains to providing more parking. You thought it was hard to park in OB before??


kh August 31, 2018 at 1:50 pm

There’s plenty of parking loopholes that could be applied, but not the one for companion units, since that’s not allowed in commercial.

Hotels are allowed, so the objection to vacation rentals seems overzealous.

Also this is in the beach parking overlay zone which has stricter requirements.


Tyler August 30, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Wish they’d cut the commercial space and up the number of units. The only things that will go in are more bars or restaurants that cater to alcohol. What else could possibly open in that much commercial square footage?


ZZ August 30, 2018 at 3:57 pm

I am pretty sure the zoning on both Newport and Voltaire requires new construction to be commercial on the ground floor. Residential rents and values are higher than commercial around OB, they’d probably make it all residential if they were allowed to.


Frank Gormlie August 30, 2018 at 12:24 pm

Do you think editordude likes Google Maps 3D?


Debbie August 30, 2018 at 5:10 pm

Hopefully the proceeds from the sale give Jim the medical care and facility that is best for him.


kh August 31, 2018 at 1:41 pm

How do 10 dwelling units fit on a 10,000sf property, when the zoning allows a max density of 1 per 1,500 sf?

And why are some disputing the development on behalf of Jim?


ZZ August 31, 2018 at 2:15 pm

It would require a variance, which are given out like candy. You round up, so they start with 7 allowed. 1 more for green construction, another for affordable housing (on site or donating to an offsite project), and then they are already up to 9.


Frank Gormlie September 6, 2018 at 7:23 pm

We learned at the OB Planning Board meeting that Jim has moved back to his house and will attempt to negotiate some kind of arrangement with the other parties involved.


ZZ September 6, 2018 at 8:28 pm

If he has recovered I hope he stays, as his house is, or in one of the planned condos.


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