OB Planners Give Initial Green Light to Commercial Project for 4870 Voltaire

by on December 20, 2018 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Last night, Wed, Dec. 19, the Project Review Committee of the OB Planning Board gave a commercial project slated for Voltaire a green light to proceed to the next step. The next step is being reviewed by the full board at a future meeting.

The review panel also gave tentative approval to 2 other projects before it and asked the owners of another project to return to the drawing board.

The Project Review Committee is a sub-committee of the Board and gets first crack at reviewing projects that come before the Planning Board, and usually gives a recommendation of thumbs-up or thumbs-down to the full board which carries substantial weight.

Project Review Com. members, from L to R: Virginia Wilson, Craig Klein, Kevin Hastings, Elizabeth Felando, Dan Dennison and Richard Merriman. Photo by Frank Gormlie

The committee, chaired by newly-elected vice-chair Kevin Hastings, sat before nearly 2 dozen people in attendance in the Community Room of the OB Rec Center. Usually there’s only one or two in the audience along with a handful of developers and their reps at these sub-committee meetings but tonight, it was different.

And mainly because members of the Planning Board had distributed door-hangers announcing the various projects in the immediate neighborhoods of those projects.

Commercial Project at 4870 Voltaire

The largest project to come before the review panel was a 2-story, mixed-use commercial project for 4870 Voltaire Street – the former Dover Plumbing property next to the Jim Bell property. Mark Brencick is the owner-developer and made the presentation for the revised project scope, now calls for the demolition of the former Dover building and the construction of 2-story, 7,430 square-foot, mixed-use building consisting of 2 for rent dwelling units and 2,380 square feet of commercial space. The dwelling units will have 2 and 3 bedrooms.

Rear and side views of project.

Brencick, a civil-engineer told the Board he plans to utilize the commercial space for his offices and rent one of the residential units to his daughter. The front of the building will be 16 feet high, and the unit above set back from the edge. One of the main issues was parking, and he explained he’s putting in 9 spaces, 5 commercial and 4 residential, by using a parking lift.

The Board voted 6 to 0 to approve the project for the full Board (no date has been set).

Owners of 4744 Cape May Ave Requested to Return to the Drawing Board

The owners of the vacant property at 4744 Cape May made their own presentation, a husband and wife team. They had purchased the property back in 2015, they said, and bought the plans for a new 3-story residence with a new granny flat as well – which had supposedly been approved. Then, the plans called for the 3-story to be at the rear of the narrow lot.

They wish to build a new 1,974 square-foot, 3-story residence with decks along with a new detached 2-story “guest quarters” with decks for approximate 656 square foot. “Guest quarters” is synonymous with “granny flat” or the new “companion unit” description.

The owners claimed the city told them they couldn’t build the 3-story in the back and must have it in the front; so they had the plans changed. Yet when they reached the review panel, they were told that the OB Community Plan preferred the taller structures to be at the rear of a property in order to avoid the urban canyon effect.

Even though the final vote on the project was cased in the language “approval if …” the real intent of the planners was to have the owners return to the drawing board and reverse the position of the structures.

5018 Narragansett Gets the Go-Ahead

The sub-committee also voted 6 to 0 to send the project at 5018 Narragansett to the full board. It’s an application for the demolition and remodel of 2 single-story units and the construction of a second story addition on each unit. There are plans for roof decks and 4 parking spaces in a 2-car garage and tandem spaces.

A number of neighbors to the project attended the meeting and voiced some concerns; there’s not enough space in the alley for the trash cans to the property with the new design, there’s already parking problems in the alley; if the new structure is 2 stories (it is) it will be extremely close to the 2-story, 10-unit apartment building next door; in general, the project is “pushing the envelope for the size of the property.”

5026 Saratoga Ave

A CDP for the construction of a garage addition, and the construction of a 2-story residence above the garage for 913 square feet, with an existing detached residence on the site was approved by the review sub-committee and punted to the full board (date unknown) by a vote of 6 to 0. The owner admitted he plans to move into the larger and new residence and continue renting out the front unit as a short-term vacation rental.

The front building was built in 1938-39 and will not be touched by the new construction, if approved.



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

ZZ December 20, 2018 at 3:51 pm

These all sound like great projects, especially on Voltaire. More mixed commercial means more opportunities for people to live close to work and not commute by car.

When I was looking for a site for my business, my first choice was walking distance to my house in OB. I looked and looked, but there just isn’t much office space here. The library expansion reduced the amount of office space as well. I think PB and La Jolla do a better job of providing office space for small businesses than we do here. There is so little here that you see businesses in ground floor retail storefront spaces that normally would be normal office suites, for example the accountant and the bookkeeper around Bacon and Santa Monica.

Part of the problem is the excessive parking requirements. I’d like to see them waived, reduced, or eliminated in future projects. SF is leading the way and has done this on many great developments.


Vern December 21, 2018 at 11:24 am

Darn thing is the renderings do not depict busy people riding their Bird Scooters to and fro, nor are any scooters laying around blocking the front, side and rear paths. How old are the renderings?
Another darn thing, the bicyclist riding on the sidewalk depicts negligence and lawlessness.


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