Three-Story Going Up on 4900 Block of Saratoga – Despite Being Denied by Ocean Beach Planners

by on September 11, 2018 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach

Apparently, a three story building is going up in the backyard at 4925 Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach. Despite any other 3-story residences in the immediate neighborhood and despite the project being denied by the Ocean Beach Planning Board on May 3, 2017.

Applicant-Owner Todd Schak applied for a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) to build a two-story house (okay, it’s a small house with only 918 square feet) on top of a 4-car garage. There’s already a rehabbed Craftsman 2-bedroom in the front which is 800 square feet.

When his architect representative, Scott Frontis of Frontis Studio went before the OB Planners last year to obtain a recommendation of approval, neighbors showed up with proof that the front house was being used as a short-term vacation rental. This was not good. The Planning Board voted 11 to 0 to deny approval. (Here’s the Minutes from that meeting, 5/3/17.)

4925 Saratoga Ave.

Now – as we realize now and then – the vote by the Ocean Beach Planning Board is only an advisory one – and developers can appeal their decision to the City Planning Commission.

This is what could have occurred with Schak’s project. A neighbor spoke to a Senior Building Inspector at the City’s Code Enforcement and was told the owner had a CDP to proceed with his construction.

And proceed he did. The structure is being built now. The new 3-story will be close to surrounding neighbors blocking bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen windows.

Neighbors still fear – as they did last year – that Schak will claim he or a relative will be living in the front house (or is it the back house this time?) and enable him to rent out the other as a vacation rental.

Early construction – which has proceeded from the time this photo was taken.

At least two trees have been chopped down for the rehab and the new construction.

When Schak’s rep Scot Frontis appeared before the OB planners, neighbors did show up with printed-out pages of VRBO with pictures of one of the front house bedrooms displaying bunk beds for 10 people. One of the neighbors read from the owner’s VRBO description:

Bunk beds from STVR ad for front house.

“I have other properties in Mission Beach and La Jolla so (I) have been a vacation owner for a number of years. All my homes are very successful rentals and I understand the needs of clients.”

The developer was “caught red-handed” as San Diego Reader writer Tony de Garate described the meeting, with a sub-head of “Mother-in-front-house turns out to be vacation rental”.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie September 11, 2018 at 5:58 pm

Frontis also on FROUDE property per their website

Two 1,900 sq. ft. row homes on 25’ wide lots in the Point Loma / Ocean Beach area. The modern design has a subterranean garage to attempt to eliminate the unsightly garage doors at street level and in turn helps to reduce the scale of the building. The main level is an open great room, with the bedrooms occupying the second level. A basement behind the garage allows for additional interior space and open out to the backyard.


Joey September 11, 2018 at 11:55 pm

I lived in the apartments across the fence from the property (4923 1/2 Saratoga Ave). This is no doubt a vacation property. There were different people constantly in and out every couple of days.


ZZ September 12, 2018 at 12:48 pm

The Upper Voltaire 28 townhouse project is almost finished and is listed on MLS.

Looks like the larger units are 1700sf with 3 beds 2.5 baths for $849,000. Smaller units not listed yet but are as small as 1150sf with 2 beds 2.5 baths.

Example MLS listing:


Vern September 13, 2018 at 1:54 pm

$849,000 – directly below the flight path – one way in, one way out.
Now that’s San Diego Living!


Eric September 12, 2018 at 6:44 pm

If you want to buy homes in residential areas then rent them to people that need a place to live. If you want to run a hotel then go buy a damn hotel or motel. The people turning entire residential properties into full time hotels are opportunistic parasites at best. The STVR owners and users are literally tearing apart the fabric of OB.


Val September 13, 2018 at 11:41 am

Eric – you are so right. All it is, is greed.


Vern September 13, 2018 at 1:56 pm

Residential zones are turning into commercial zones.
Homes become hotels, front yards become parking lots for scooters, bikes and various debris.


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