OB Planning Board Approves Project on Coronado, Re-elects Leaders, Ponders 3 Controversies

by on April 4, 2019 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach

The OB Planning Board did not support a proposed ordinance to ban unaccompanied adults from children’s play areas. Above, outdated children’s equipment at Robb Field. (Equipment was installed in early 1970s.)

It was standing room only at one point during the OB Planning Board meeting Wednesday, April 3, as a presentation was being made on a project at 4645 Coronado.

The Board had a full agenda at the Community Room at the OB Rec Center; it re-elected its leadership and held presentations on three controversies – safe parking lots for homeless, safe walks to OB Elementary for children and whether to ban unaccompanied adults at children’s playareas.

4645 Coronado

Architect Bruce Peeling made the presentation on the project: a demolition of existing structures and the construction of two, 2-story residences. All the issues – including a late request by the city to push one of the fireplaces back – were resolved, claimed Peeling.

The height of the buildings is 26 feet, parking is off the alley – 2 spaces per unit, on the 7431 square foot lot. Even though there were many people in the audience who had attended for this project, the Board easily approved the Coastal Development Permit by a vote of 12 to 1, with one abstention.

New Members, Appointments and Election of Executive Committee

The board seated the 2 new winning candidates in the Board’s March election: Bo Willsey for District 1 and Jenna Tatum, one of the 2 at-large members. The volunteer panel then appointed Anthony Ciulla and George McCalla to two of the vacant seats in unanimous votes.

Then in swift succession, the Board re-elected its Executive Committee; Andrea Schlageter as Chair, Kevin Hastings as Vice-Chair, Craig Klein as Treasurer and Tracy Dezenzo as Secretary.

Dreams for Change – Safe Parking Lots for Homeless in Cars

Teresa Smith of Dreams for Change gave the longest presentation and sparked the longest discussion. They operate 2 of the city’s 4 safe parking lots, and they’ve been doing it for 9 years now, a lot on 28th Street and the other at Imperial and 53th. Check in time is 6 to 8:30pm; they provide a grill and microwave, restrooms and a safe environment for the entire night. Women and children have priority for the case managers who maintain the sites 7/24.

The program requires people to be sober when they show up in their vehicles; no registered sex offenders are allowed in; there’s a zero tolerance for violence and drugs. People who do come in also agree to be on track for housing or work at jobs. Access is easy; call and just show up.

In answering questions from the audience and board, Smith made these points:

  • Teresa said no tents are allowed; people have to sleep in their vehicles.
  • Also people cannot cook by their cars. The site does not provide food but there is usually emergency food on site.
  • They also provide counseling on such issues as landlords and finances.
  • Dreams for Change are funded solely by private donations; they receive no city money. Their annual budget is around $70,000 – not much.
  • in terms of occupancy, the 28th Street site holds 30 cars – and it’s full all the time, whereas the Imperial site could hold 50 cars – and there’s usually about 25 there.
  • A good percentage of these folks are working – about 55%; also a good number are seniors. Their biggest increase recently in families and seniors.
  • Less than 10% are from out-of-town.
  • The organization partners with 20 groups, some medical and dental.
  • They don’t need to do outreach; people come to them; they have 80 calls a day and sign-up lists.

On the issue of how many are sleeping in cars around the city, Teresa estimated there’s probably 500 vehicles, and with an average of over 2 people per vehicle, that’s 400 to 500 people. And less than half were counted by the Point in Time annual count.

During discussion, many Board members congratulated Teresa and the group for the good work they’re doing and voiced opinions that the group needs more government funds.

One issue raised was future lots; Smith said that the lots cannot be on city park land – they’re looking at private plots of land or unused city property.

They are running a pilot program, Smith said, involving 5 RV’s and hope to be able to establish whole lots for RVs that can be left on the site. One goal is to find lots for the Safe Parking program in every one of the city districts.

In the end, the Board voted to send a letter to the city supporting the Dreams for Change program and other points in Mayor Faulconer’s recent proposal to bring back the ban on vehicle habitation along with expanded parking lots.

Safety Issues for Children Going to OB Elementary

Mandy Havlik was the next presenter. She’s leading a campaign to get the city to make access to OB Elementary safer. She believes current traffic safety control measures near the school are inadequate and need addressing. She has 2 kids of her own at OBE.

One of her main issues is that cars traveling on Sunset Cliffs Blvd during school hours disregard current traffic safety measures on a daily basis putting kids and pedestrians at risk. Particularly from 7:30 to 8:30 am. Cars routinely run red lights, she said.

There’s only a few adult volunteers currently helping with the crosswalks. Because OB Elementary doesn’t include 5th and 6th graders, it’s ineligible for student crosswalk guards. She wants city or school-funded crossing guards and for the city to install permanent lighting on the mid-block crosswalk on Santa Monica. Havlik also claimed that on January 31st of this year, a police officer ordered the volunteer crossing guards to get rid of their hand-held caution signs due to liability.

Mandy wanted a letter in support from the OB Planning Board – and she got it when the Board voted unanimously to send such.

Ban Adults from Play Areas?

The last presentation was by Sandy Algra who is making the rounds of planning boards and town councils to drum up support for her proposed ordinance to ban unaccompanied adults for children’s play areas. In order for an adult to be in a play area, they must be accompanied by a child.

Her 2-year old was scratched by a hypodermic needle at a NTC park and that forced her into her campaign. It’s mainly a signage issue, she said. Plus she’s had bad experiences, she said, at Robb Field with people taking over play space.

Sandy said a similar ordinance is on the books in New York City and also in San Francisco. One aspect of her proposal limits a child to the age of 12, so older kids would also be banned.

There were just so many questions and concerns raised by board and audience members about the proposal that the Board did not draft a letter of support; clearly disappointed, Algra left the meeting before a final vote by the board was even taken.

The meeting went late and everyone had to be kicked out by Rec staff.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Jeffeck April 4, 2019 at 3:26 pm

Hey this may be one of those dumb questions, but here goes.

At least for now, why can’t a corner of the biggest parking lot west of the Mississippi be used for homeless parking? The SDCCU Stadium Lot.

Not too many events happening there. We lost our football team -again :(

Maybe one of the corners that aren’t used too much for anything else like car sales or actual event parking.

At least until SDSU figures out what to do with it?

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Avatar Ruchard April 5, 2019 at 8:01 am

Unrelated thought.
I’m disappointed that once again the planning failed to even discuss or put on the agenda the failing grade for OB’s infrastructure/beach access. The planning board needs to focus on OB. Yes homeless people are a concern and the city will resolve the issue as the mayor has already expressed. I want the planning board to broaden there focus on OB. Open up our beaches. Demand more from our city elected officials. That’s time better spent.

Peace

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Avatar kh April 5, 2019 at 4:45 pm

Board members have been pushing this issue directly with city council and it is discussed at most meetings, and was an action item at the March meeting as part of capital improvement recommendations.

Here’s an update on some of them:

The pier repairs are slated to be completed by Memorial Day. Note that this does not address underlying damage that will be much more costly to fix.

Salt pool stairs have to start over due to inadequate design. Street closure and Narragansett closure has been removed in the meantime.

Orchard sidewalk repair is complete. If the fencing hasn’t already been removed I will followup.

Bermuda is funded for construction in 2020.

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Avatar Richard April 8, 2019 at 9:02 am

Kh

Thanks for the update.
TheBermuda stairs collapsed in 2015.The bermuda stairs were slated for repair in 2018. The funding was taken by district 1 to apply to an emergency need in La Jolla in 2018. The orchard repairs were engineered after the Bermuda stairs. The Orchard stairs access no beach and was funded and repaired.. Now we have to wait until 2020 for beach access at Bermuda beach in south OB, but behold the wants and desires of OBMA/OBPB and their obvious bias for commercial interests at the expense of the residents of South OB. The arrogance is profound. Were pissed.

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Avatar TD April 8, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Richard.

Here is a link to the recent OBPB budget request that they made to the City. The community in attendance was also part of this discussion. http://oceanbeachplanning.org/files/2019/03/OBPBBudgetLetter2019.pdf If you read the letter, you will notice that there is nothing commercial about any of the requests that were made for the community and that some of the beach access was included at the top of the list.

The short of it is that the Board makes requests. The City prioritizes the funding. The OBPB is not in control of the purse strings, the OBPB does not have a “bias for commercial interests at the expense of the residents of South OB” nor does it pander to commercial interests. It’s interest is for the entirety of OB planning district, not just any one area.

If you are interested in being part of the process and discussion for what you would like to see in OB, you are always welcome to attend one of the monthly meetings and share your ideas during public comment. The community is always welcome to attend and the Board values community input.

If you cannot make the meetings you are also encouraged to reach out to your district representative http://oceanbeachplanning.org/members/, email the Board from that website or find them on Facebook and reach out.

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Avatar kh April 8, 2019 at 6:37 pm

I can’t reason with this guy. Sounds like he has neither been to an OBPB meeting nor knows what the Board does.

He’s literally criticizing the board for not advocating for our public spaces, while at the same time quoting information published by a board member who is advocating for our public spaces.

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Avatar Richard April 9, 2019 at 7:27 am

Thanks for the update.

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