Peninsula Planners’ Sub-committee Meeting on Famosa Property in Doubt – Still Set for Wed., Aug. 29

by on August 28, 2018 · 6 comments

in Ocean Beach

UPDATE: Long Range Planning sub-committee meeting set for Aug. 29 has been cancelled.

It appears that the Peninsula planners’ sub-committee meeting on the Famosa property scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 29, is in doubt. The board’s Long Range Planning sub-committee was due to begin a discussion of possible additional action items to be recommended to the full board about the Housing Commission Project and/or other alternatives for the Famosa site.

After an outcry from certain quarters of the Peninsula about a “lack of notice” for the meeting, Board chair Robert Goldyn questioned whether the action item regarding the property ought not to be cancelled. In an emailed shared with a number of people, Goldyn stated:

I will leave this up to the Chair of Long Range Planning, but due to the recent outcry, looks like we may want to cancel the action item of this meeting for tomorrow and attempt to coordinate again at a later date where hopefully the community can check the website or the library posting in advance of the meeting. Only hesitation again is that this may drag the item a couple months down the road.

Board member Jim Hare is the chair of the sub-committee.

Yet, the meeting itself is still scheduled.

At least one member of the board has complained about a lack of notice to the city’s planning department and City Attorney’s office. Board member Don Sevrens has even called it “a violation of the Brown Act” in his email. Sevrens states:

Neighbors along the Voltaire Corridor of the Peninsula Community Planning Board have been asking for months for a meeting of the board’s Long-Range Planning Board on an issue dear to them: a desire to keep public land in an open space or park status.

Apparently a meeting has been scheduled for Aug. 29 but the public is not aware of it.  There has been no posting on the board’s website. More important, according to the City Attorney’s interpretation of “public notice,”  there has NOT been any paper posting in a place visible to the public for the 72 hours prior to the meeting.

A public, noticed meeting is a good thing and something clearly the public has been demanding. The way this has been handled, however, appears to be in clear violation of state law. I formally request that you give this matter your immediate attention.

Chairperson Goldyn was quick to respond, calling some of what Sevrens stated as “false”:

As Chair of the Peninsula Community Planning Board, I would like to respond to this email and the false statements therein.

Agenda for the LRP [Long Rang Planning] meeting scheduled for Wednesday, August 29, 2018 was distributed to the LRP team and only a couple community stakeholders regarding the Famosa property (those leading the charge in Park Point Loma) on August 15, 2018.

So some community stakeholders were notified directly. The agenda was then posted at the library (a public venue and location where all meetings of the PCPB occur) on Sunday Morning, well in advance of the 72 hour deadline.

Yes, the agenda had failed to make posting on the website previously. But as Don Sevrens (sender of this complaint) has always stated strongly, “posting at the library is the official posting considered by the PCPB”.

Many of the board members consider any public posting (website or physical posting at the library) adequate for compliance, but I wanted to point out that we had met the single criteria that this complainant requires for notice.

In a later email, Goldyn added:

Typical practice of the PCPB and its committees is NOT to provide direct notice to community stakeholders, and leave notice up to the standard posting of the agenda.

ALL meetings of the board and its committees are open to the public, and ALL are encouraged to attend. Intention was not to limit number of attendees. In fact, we appreciate a larger group to ensure that all voices are heard.

I could only assume a small group of stakeholders were notified because that may be all the contacts that the chair of the committee had available, and there would have been hope that the small stakeholder group notified would have spread the word to any other stakeholders or community members wanting to be involved.

With that said, there is difficulty with larger attendance, for one, we must find a venue that can accommodate the larger attendance which takes a couple months prior to reserve the large community room as we have done for the meeting tomorrow.

Goldyn weighs the pros and cons of cancelling the meeting:

If we are to cancel this meeting, we would likely need to wait another couple months before we are able to reserve this room and plan forward to discuss the Famosa Property.

The PCPB has been accused of not acting or moving forward with this item, so we are hesitant to cancel the meeting when we meet simple compliance required for notification.

The agenda was posted to the PCPB website. Plus word got out via other social media. Again, from Goldyn:

Again, the PCPB and all its committees deals with numerous issues and concerns each month, and due to the large number of stakeholders requesting awareness and the fact that we are a volunteer board, we have relied on our public posting of the agenda and social media distributions as past practice to provide notice to interested community members.

On a final note, it must be recognized that there are factions within the Peninsula community which are reflected on the planning board, and at times these factions battle it out. Don Sevrens has been a visible fellow in one faction allied with former chair John Linney. Linney, clearly strong-willed and a little too cozy to the city for some, pushed others into another faction. That faction likes the new chair, Goldyn.

As far as we know, the meeting is still on and the agenda has not been changed. They meet at 5:30 pm at the Point Loma Library/ Hervey Branch Library (Downstairs) 3701 Voltaire Street, San Diego, CA 92107 .

Here is the official agenda:

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie August 28, 2018 at 7:18 pm

We just received this: “We have received word from Tony Kempton, a planner assigned to our board, that there was a failure to post public notice of a meeting of the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s Long-Range Planning Committee in accordance with state law.

The public must be given 72-hours’ notice. That is 72 hours of continuos notice accessible to the public. The state attorney general has opined that it cannot be in some interior space closed to the public after business hours. planning board leaders you mentioned apparently knew of the meeting two weeks ago but did not inform the public.

Mr. Kempton said the meeting must be rescheduled.”

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie August 28, 2018 at 7:20 pm

Then this: The chair of the sub-committee confirms the meeting has been canceled. Chair James Hare :

LRP Committee and Others,

With regret, this message is to inform you that the meeting of the Long Range Planning Committee of the Peninsula Community Planning Board [PCPB], scheduled to be held a the Point Loma Branch Library tomorrow, August 29, has been canceled. The Planning Department of the City of San Diego has issued a determination that the meeting was improperly posted.

Reply

Robert Goldyn August 29, 2018 at 9:00 am

The actions as presented and discussed in this article are an excellent example of the interaction and process a community elected board should follow. All elected PCPB members (as any other board or group) have different views, insights, and opinions; and with that background we must challenge each other to move and act towards what is best for the community now, and for the future of the Peninsula. We are rarely 100% right, but this process allows the team to work together through varied opinions to find a better solution and allows the team to ensure we are considering the larger audience, different perspectives, and actually listening to what the community has to say. I am proud to serve as chairman to the PCPB and look forward to what it is we will accomplish together for the greatness and preservation of the Peninsula.

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Paul Webb August 29, 2018 at 9:12 am

The Ralph M. Brown Open Meetings Act is a very important and powerful piece of legislation that requires that any government meetings be properly noticed so that the public can be made aware of them and attend. Unfortunately, it is very easy to get the notice requirements wrong, even if the organization holding the meeting tries to comply with the act. This is particularly true of volunteer organizations like the community planning boards. The planing boards do not control the places where meetings are held which are typically libraries, recreation centers, etc. I have myself posted notices as required by the Act, only to have them removed by a library employee or a private citizen. I know that the Peninsula Community Planning Board members take the notice requirements seriously, and try to comply with those requirements.

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Jim Hare August 29, 2018 at 10:23 am

Thanks for the signal boost, Frank.

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Geoff Page August 29, 2018 at 10:23 am

I was told the meeting was cancelled because the subcommittee chair did not get the posting on the PCPB wbsite. While this is a clear by-law requirement for full board meetings, there is nothing in the by-laws that requires such a posting for subcommittee meetings. Posting at the physical site is all that is required. Paul Webb is correct, the PCPB volunteers try to do their best but mistakes are made. There is no reason to suspect that any agenda was in play here. Don Sevrens should be severely censored for making a complaint to the the city about this matter. Sevrens has been a disruptive presence on the PCPB ever since he was elected.

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