Ocean Beach Review Board Assured All Palms to Remain on Froude Street Condos Project – Punted It to September

by on August 20, 2018 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

Artist rendering of condos project at 1750 Froude – with the palms.

By Geoff Page

We can’t be positive, but it looked as if the OB Rag had some influence on the presentation of a project that came before the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s Project Review subcommittee August 15 at the OB Rec Center.

An August 13 Rag story titled “Planning Panel to Review Two-Story Condo Project on Froude- If Built OB’s Largest Oasis of Palm Trees Would Be Destroyed,” expressed a concern about a unique collection of palm trees on the property.  It appeared as if the presenters had heard this concern and they immediately explained that all of the existing vegetation would remain.

The project under review was 1750 Froude Street on the corner of Froude and Del Monte Ave.  The plan is to build two condominiums on the roughly 9,000 square foot lot.  The owners plan to live in one and sell the other.  Each condo will be two stories over a basement level. The basement will house the garage, a laundry room, and a gym.  The first floors will be a living room and kitchen and other space and will include a deck.  The second floor will be for the bedrooms and bathrooms.  The exterior will be stucco and stone.

Artist rendering of condos project at 1750 Froude – without the palms.

There were only three OB Planning Board members at the meeting, the current Vice Chair Andrea Schlageter, who is serving as the chair because the former chair resigned recently to move to northern California.  The other two attendees were Tom and Jane Gawronski.  The OBPB website does not detail how many subcommittee members there actually are so it was not clear if this was the whole subcommittee.  The audience consisted of this reporter, the project owners, and their development team of four.  No one else in the audience was there for this project.

The architect spoke first explaining that the project met all city requirements for floor area ratio, height, parking, and setbacks and was not asking for any variances.  A curb cut on Froude will be closed and one will be opened on Del Monte so the project will not impact street parking.  The zoning in this area is RM-1-1, a multifamily zoning designation.  The zoning allows for one unit for each 3,000 square feet.

There was an odd moment.  At one point, the architect said he was “commissioned by” and gestured toward a couple sitting in front, the project owners.  He then hesitated, said something quietly to them, and then continued without identifying them as if they did not want to be identified. That information is available on the permit record: the owner is listed as Richard Harmon.

The presenters provided two renderings, one showing the development without the palm trees and another showing with the trees.  They explained the reason was to show how the project will look without the trees because it could not be seen with the vegetation.  The second rendering showed how the project would look when completed and it showed the buildings largely obscured by the palms and vegetation.

The Project Review subcommittee asked a few questions but there did not seem to be anything controversial about the project once the existing palm trees issue was settled.  Jane Gawronski asked if it was to be a vacation rental and the owners replied in the negative.  No action was taken by the subcommittee.  It was unclear if the problem was that there were only three board members present or that there was some information lacking.

Schlageter mentioned that they needed to bring documentation to the full board meeting showing an analysis of how the project conformed with the OB community plan. The presenters did not appear to understand and asked if this was something they needed to get from the city.  Schlageter explained that they could do this and they seemed relieved to hear that.  It did illustrate that they had no idea about the community plan. And it appeared as if some of the city review information was needed as well.

The project will come to the full board at its next monthly meeting in September.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

kh August 20, 2018 at 4:48 pm

Horseshit… there’s no way those condos could be built while preserving the palms.

They take up a majority of the footprint of the property. Not that they’re irreplaceable or anything. If someone loves the palm garden so much they should buy it.


Vern August 21, 2018 at 7:13 am

Need more trees!
The darn thing about building “up” in the Point Loma and Ocean Beach areas is that each “heightened” building creates multiple sound-reflective surfaces which amplify the increasing airplane noise. The noise bounces off the surfaces and travels quite freely throughout the communities.
It is quite the fact that one could be literally looking north and hear a departure in his/her left ear first as the plane noise reflects off a building. More surface area, more reflected noise.
More trees would help mitigate some of the noise of the lower, louder commercial departures, but some might complain of an “obscured view”. Regardless
Palms are okay but non-native to SoCal (except for the Washingtonia filifera).


retired botanist August 21, 2018 at 10:43 am

Ok, so keeping the palms is a good thing. True, they are not native, but they do support some of the bird populations, like the parrots, soften the corner optics, and absorb some measure of ambient sound, as well as the other functions and services we know about that urban trees provide-
What astounds me is that this is maybe the fourth time this year I have read about an OB developer who has never heard of the OB Community Plan! For Pete’s sake, what’s it going to take to educate these folks?! Maybe a flyer to the American Building Association, or some local chapter of same? Or a memo to the City’s Development Services Department (presumably these builders need to go through that Dept) that the developer should be REQUIRED to review and consult the Plan for project compliance?
EVERY SINGLE time a project comes up for review at OBPB, this document also comes up, as it should. I just don’t understand how these developers can be so ignorant about OB’s most important guidelines!


George August 21, 2018 at 1:14 pm

If I’m not mistaken that house was where Frank Day lived. Frank was a fixture in Ocean Beach in the 60s. He was crazy about tropical fish and had over 100 aquariums in his house. He later switched his hobby interests to palms and planted hundreds of them in his yard. I miss old Frank.


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