Reader Explodes ‘Bombshell’ on Latest Developments of Notorious Ebers Project in Ocean Beach

by on October 11, 2018 · 14 comments

in Ocean Beach

The San Diego Reader – in today’s cover story – exploded a bombshell of news about the latest developments to the continuing saga of the project at Ebers and Greene in northeast Ocean Beach. Dave Rice meticulously pieced together the entire story and history of the project and explained in detail all the financing of the project and all of its unraveling.

At the end of his story, Rice explains how finally a prominent Los Angeles area businessman who created a bakery mini-empire, bought the property for $925,000. And the new owner has a new contractor with new plans and new permits to finish the project – as a single family home. Plus, the new owner has NO plans to bring his project before the Ocean Beach Planning Board.

Does this sound familiar? Nelson, the original owner, also failed to present the project before the community Board. This is horrendous and appears another chapter on this mini-castle is about to be written. Meanwhile Rice reports:

Boyajian, reached by phone in late September, says he has a total of $1.2 million tied up in the property, and is working with a new contractor to complete the construction — as a single-family home. He reports that new permits are currently being reviewed by the city. The project, once again, will not be presented to the community planning board.

This latest bombshell will be unsettling to the property’s immediate neighbors, as the monstrosity has just sat there on a busy corner. They had hopes the city would force any new owner to demolish what was there and start over. Doesn’t sound like the new owner agrees.

Dave’s piece is certainly worth the read, especially for OBceans. He starts:

A long-derided construction project at 2269 Ebers Street in Ocean Beach, spearheaded by Curtis Nelson of Nelco Properties, officially suffered its death blow this spring; after failing to attract a buyer at a foreclosure auction, ownership of the property reverted to Center Street Lending, an Irvine-based hard money lender that specializes in providing financing to “property flippers” seeking to buy low, complete a quick remodel, and resell properties at a significant profit.

Nelco’s ownership of the property – two short blocks off West Point Loma Boulevard and a block east of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard – was frequently controversial — at times the developer bragged on social media about his disregard for the coastal height limit, advertised his development as a two-unit property (it was permitted for only one residence), and drew fire from the community for allowing the property to fall into disrepair after illegal construction was halted by the city. But a dive into the financial history of the property offers an interesting look at how a simple fix-and-flip deal can go horribly wrong.

Nelco originally bought the four-bedroom, two-bath fixer for $645,000 in mid-2015. The home, built in 1927, sits about five blocks from Dog Beach and nine blocks from Newport Avenue, OB’s main drag. Residents here tend to be quieter and more entrenched in the OB lifestyle than the younger, more transient denizens of the neighborhood to the west locals refer to as the “war zone.”

The OB Rag has long covered this notorious project – and Dave acknowledges and applauds our coverage. He quotes this reporter extensively:

“I first learned about the place in late June, early July 2016,” explains Frank Gormlie, publisher of the Ocean Beach-centric OB Rag blog. “Some neighbors had put up a sign and a mannequin wearing a mask to complain about the way demolition was being handled on the smaller existing house.”

After meeting with the neighbors, Gormlie’s site took on a muckraking role, digging up dirt on the owners, the project, and the city. His activities, Gormlie explains over a mug at the Newbreak coffeehouse on Abbott Street where he’s greeted as a local by staff and patrons alike despite having moved from the neighborhood earlier in the decade, would result in increased scrutiny from the local planning board and protesters taking to the street. The topic was his site’s biggest draw for nearly a year.

“We eventually came up with a laundry list of issues — first was parking and whether it met the floor area ratio [a regulation that restricts improved square footage of a building to 70 percent of lot size, significantly lower than in other San Diego neighborhoods], it looked like it was over 30 feet high. But as we looked into it, it turns out there were all kinds of problems. Was this truly an addition, or was it two units?”

The project didn’t appear before the OB Planning Board, which usually offers input on proposed construction in the neighborhood, because it was represented to the city as a remodel of an existing single-family residence in permit applications. Such a classification would have allowed the project to dodge a coastal development permit typically required of beach-area development.

Thing is, Nelco never saw the property as a simple single-family remodel. In a failed attempt to sell the property in early 2016, notes on the expired listing state that the property “will be re-listed once 2nd unit is completed.”

“When you went to Curtis Nelson’s website, there he was very proudly talking about two units. But this was never supposed to be a multi-unit development,” Gormlie argues. “You’ve also got to consider the role of the city’s Development Services department, and the allowances they’ll give developers. Someone was asleep at the wheel on this project to progress to the point you could go in, pull a permit, and a new structure going up three stories before the community wound up feeling so violated they started demanding oversight on their own.

“It turns out there were two sets of plans submitted that didn’t match — and [Development Services] was asked how these could have gotten through and their response was ‘Oh, well they must have been reviewed by different people.’”


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

not far off October 11, 2018 at 2:44 pm

Just wondering how others perceive the Ocean Beach Planning Board?


Jon Carr October 11, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Undervalued, unappreciated, under attack by developers and ‘city planners’ (aka, developers doing time masquerading as public servants).


OB Mercy October 12, 2018 at 3:41 pm

No disrespect, but I feel that the OBPB has absolutely no influence on any project. And even though I have friends on the board who have told me they can only recommend…..why even exist then??

After fighting hard on a STVR project currently being literally built just feet from our faces and proving to the board last year that the owner was lying that it would be a family residence, because the house in front was already an STVR, they denied the project and the owner just went to the Coastal Commission after that and got a permit. When I talked to the Code Enforcer for the Coastal Com to let her know what it was being built for, she said, don’t you know the CC is FOR STVR’s? WTF?!

Beach cities are doomed as I can see it happening right before my eyes. And btw, this will be the FIRST new STVR being built right behind another one being used for an already existing STVR in OB!


retired botanist October 12, 2018 at 5:34 pm

OB Mercy-
The whole Ebers/Greene St site saga is a debacle to be sure, and so is the City’s Development Services Department. Frankly, I think some strong flashlights need to be directed at the Coastal Commission b/c it sure looks like people are asleep at the wheel down there…hullo, its called “coastal” for a reason…
I get the impression that the City’s Development Service Dept just doesn’t give a f@#$ anymore. My understanding is that the OBPB has consistently tried to engage with the City on review of these projects, and I support the idea that the OBPB should be reviewing ALL projects, ministerial or not-ALL projects should be presented to the Board. Otherwise, what’s the point in having a Community Plan document if it only gets considered for some projects? It is the responsibility of the DSD to ensure that projects are compliant withe the Plan and yet they continue to fail miserably at this function!
I get your frustration, but without the OBPB, the community would have zero access to information about what’s being built and what conflicts with the Plan. I think the Board would benefit from stronger action, and more administrative record of the colossal failings of the Dev. Services Dept in meeting the needs and directives of the community.


triggerfinger October 12, 2018 at 10:59 pm

The city is moving further in the direction of removing the community boards. When boards do vote against projects, the city goes to great lengths to dispute the board findings, rather that corroborate. They will use our own community plan to tell us the many ways in which our board is full of crap.

Regardless, an STVR is probably the worst example to follow, as the city seems to be afraid of them. The coastal commissioners do generally have a perverse obsession with STVR, but they are dead wrong on the issue and their jurisdiction over it, and cities are beginning to understand this.

But don’t lose faith, you have allies on your side, including those on the Board who are learning how to adjust and increase their effectiveness.


korla October 11, 2018 at 6:47 pm

This ministerial approval needs to STOP! Local planning boards should have the opportunity to review every project within their boundaries. The PCPB has been working to try and implement “incentives” so that the projects can be reviewed. La Jolla has done so already and I think it works.

Good luck OBPB!


Richard October 12, 2018 at 8:11 am

Just wanted to add the 4651-4653 Orchard Ave remodel which is now two separate lots a total of 5 bedrooms 3 Bathrooms and only two off street parking spots. This was also a ministerial permit. The plans submitted and the end product are completely different. I have been asking why the OBPB refuses to review all permits and its always the same answer. It’s not our pervue. Then I read about la Jolla carve out for all project reviews and it pisses me off. So I vent. It’s to late to stop the orchard remodel, what can you do?
How do you add off street parking when the far is maxed out. OBPB needs to be way more proactive, like La Jolla. Somebody should document the orchard permit. I’m sure architect Scott Frontis wouldn’t like that.


MuirAvenueAle October 15, 2018 at 10:13 am

Not sure what you mean by OBPB “refuses” to review all permits. Also like to know more about this La Jolla “carve-out.” Please don’t misunderstand my tone — I’m not challenging; I’m intrigued and want to know more.


Richard October 12, 2018 at 8:15 am

Correction. The 4652-4653 remodel is 5 Bedrooms 4 Baths Two off street Parking Spots.


OB Mercy October 12, 2018 at 3:42 pm

I’m betting it turns into another STVR.


Allie October 12, 2018 at 4:25 pm

The first time the so called “project manager” showed up on 2269 Ebers St. and told our tenants he was from the city of S. D. and that the city was planning on building low income housing on the site. This was in late July. On 08-13-18 he returned he now told us (my husband and myself) he was the owner of the property and he planned on moving the original house to another site and tearing down the huge structure, because it was built by people who had no idea what they were doing. Well my husband recognized him as someone who had work there and was a friend of Curtis’s. He admitted that was true. He then shared a few more lies with us including that he wanted to go to the OBPB meeting’s and asked if I could text him and let him know when the meeting was. On Sunday September 9th he was the “project manager.” While he was snapping pictures that day, I called him a liar and asked him why do you lie? He quickly split with some gal. Here we go all over again. Never ending story. Jerk


Allie October 12, 2018 at 4:29 pm

I forgot… His name is Joshua Cline


Geoff Page October 16, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Retired botanist, you wrote “It is the responsibility of the DSD to ensure that projects are compliant withe the Plan and yet they continue to fail miserably at this function!” Sadly, that is not the case. The DSD and the plan checkers only check for compliance with the Municipal Code, they do not check projects against any community plans. The community plans are not part of the MC. The only entities looking at the community plans are the planning boards. They are able to influence some development but there are no teeth in the plans or in the planning boards. The city often ignores the planning boards when they deny a project but they will wave and proclaim loudly any approvals they get from those same boards. OB Mercy is not correct they they do no good at all, the boards just can’t do as much as people think they should.


retired botanist October 16, 2018 at 6:33 pm

Geoff- thx for the correction, and I’m most disappointed to learn that! With the amount of work ad thought that goes into drafting these Plans I’m shocked that there doesn’t appear to be any enforcement mechanism behind them, if all the Boards can do is recommend…or not.


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