Community Planners Prioritize Large, Future Public Projects for Ocean Beach

by on June 7, 2019 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

At their Wednesday, June 5 meeting, the Ocean Beach Planning Board prioritized their list of future Capital Improvement Projects for the community – those large public projects that usually take years to materialize.

Every couple of years, the city of San Diego goes through this process in order to determine what future projects are needed for the neighborhoods. The volunteer community planning committees are tasked with coming up with these CIPs – and this year the Mayor’s Office wants the lists in by July 1.

It was important for the Board to do this, to be part of the process in deciding what OB needs for its infrastructure. And CIPs are usually considered projects that cost $100,000 or more.

Earlier we reported on CIPs:

Capital Improvement Projects

Every 2 years, the city has the various community planning committees come up with a list of prioritized improvement projects which the groups would like to see built in their communities. These capital improvement projects – usually the top six – … are recognized – usually – as those communities’ main priorities by city government, the councilperson, the mayor, etc.

…  Last time, the Board made this list of CIPs:

      1. New lifeguard station
      2. OB Library expansion
      3. Salt water pool and stairs
      4. Recreation Center upgrade
      5. Saratoga Park
      6. OB Pier and parking lot improvements and OB Pier retrofit.

… Once the city decides to “fund” a project, the funds are committed for at least 5 years. It may take even longer for a project to get on a CIP list, go through the “feasibility study” stage and then get built.

The lifeguard station is funded – which means it’s in the “feasibility study” stage – still. … The library expansion is funded – there’s $8 Million – and it too is in the feasibility study time.

So, on Wednesday night, Chair woman Andrea Schlageter opened up the discussion on past priorities that did not get any funding for this budgetary go-around. She recounted that the OB Recreation Center upgrade did not receive any monies, nor did Saratoga Park or the OB Pier parking lot. These denied, she said, could be added to this year’s list.

Andrea opened up the discussion to audience members and for a while there was a freeflowing collective brainstorming on what OB  needed. Community Rep from Campbell’s office, Seamus Kennedy reminded those at the meeting, maintenance issues or projects are not part of the CIP process; he urged people to use the city’s “Get It Done” app instead.

Here are many of the ideas expressed by board members and by some in attendance:

  • Repair the OB Wall at the end of Newport Avenue; rebar is showing on the street side for about 50 feet;
  • replace street lights along Abbott Street; some of the poles are crumbling.

Mark Winkie, head of the OB Town Council, stated that some of those street lights are in such bad shape that contractors refuse to deal with; the wiring is so bad that they don’t want to retrofit them.

Continuing the list –

  • Several spoke up – including this reporter – for funds for upgrades for the OB Rec Center, such as air-conditioning, slide screens, and even funds for a brand new center; the current center was built during World War II and was officially opened in 1946. It is one of the most used facilities in OB and has many needs;
  • More funds for beach access, with repairs to existing stairs.

Kennedy recounted how the Bermuda Street stairs will be reconstructed, beginning in the Fall. Other ideas included:

  • Repair and open the boarded-up wooden stairs that extend from the alley between Niagara and Newport down to the boardwalk, alongside the Silver Spray Hotel; they’re boarded up as they have been falling apart, but a couple decades ago, they were open and allowed additional beach access;
  • build an information visitors’ booth or center near the OB Pier, staffed by volunteers;
  • install Self-cleaning bathrooms near the pier, like in Europe;
  • OB dune replacement at Dog Beach – however, it was pointed out, this is not a likely candidate for a CIP;
  • use the vacant lot at Abbott and Muir – this idea was nixed as it’s private property and the applicants have been before the Planning Board 4 or 5 times with various designs;
  • install a bus shuttle from a parking lot – the city of Coronado has something like this; Laguna Nigel has off-site parking with a trolley into downtown;
  • additional parking at Robb Field;
  • Combine the wooden stairs with tidepool access steps to be built off the old Salt Water Pool;
  • demolish the old Salt Water Pool as it’s an eyesore;
  • Storm drains – to prevent OB from flooding every couple of years;
  • Saratoga Park lights and fencing;
  • more parking at Dusty Rhodes Park;
  • an emergency pump station;
  • supplement Robb Field, more parking, more gym facilities.

Schlageter then brought the board together in order to determine their top 6 projects. After some discussion, the Board came up with the following Top 6 CIPs for OB ;

  1. OB Recreation Center, upgrades like A/C to full replacement;
  2. Storm drains – to deal with the flooding of out-of-date pipes;
  3. Beach parking – Robb Field;
  4. Saltwater pool steps to the tidepools, combined with stairs from alley for beach access;
  5. Visitors’ center in OB Pier parking lot;
  6. Dusty Rhodes upgrades and additional parking.

There was a motion to approve the list, it was seconded, and the vote to approve the priorities passed 12 to 0.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page June 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm

I love the OB Planning Board and I wish I had attended on Wednesday because I find this list bewildering.

1. OB Recreation Center, upgrades like A/C to full replacement;
This is a good one, fully agree.
2. Storm drains – to deal with the flooding of out-of-date pipes;
This is an odd one. The flooding can’t be fixed easily, it is not just an issue of “out-of-
date pipes.” The whole area above OB has no storm drains because the
topography allows for surface runoff negating the need
for underground pipes. The only way to fix this would be to pipe the whole area
above OB. Then, because OB is only a few feet above sea level, there would need to
be several pump stations to collect the water and pump it up and into the ocean. The
cost of all this would be prohibitive.
Beach parking – Robb Field;
What does this mean? Robb Field has a lot of parking already, what is “beach
parking” and where would it go? The only land left for this would be the dirt lot at
the west side that is already used for beach parking.
3. Saltwater pool steps to the tidepools, combined with stairs from alley for beach
I really don’t get this one. Why are steps needed from the old pool to the tidepools
that are easily accessed from the beach already? The alley stairs would be nice but
there are already stairs from the pier so why spend money on this?
4. Visitors’ center in OB Pier parking lot;
What?! Why does OB need a visitor’s center? I don’t get this one either. And how
would this be done without taking away precious parking? If this is someone’s idea
to combat the trolls on the wall, it is doomed to failure.
5. Dusty Rhodes upgrades and additional parking.
What kind of upgrades? More parking would be nice but whatever is put in will
reduce parkland. In this day and age of promoting walking and cycling, why this
accommodation for more cars?

There were a number of way more worthwhile projects on the list, I’m just stumped how this became the main wish list. I would welcome any enlightenment.


Tyler June 10, 2019 at 9:32 am

What about some time of catchment system for litter stemming from runoff post storms. Specifically the outfalls by the dunes of Dog Beach and the river itself. Maybe something simple and similar to what they use towards the end of the Ala Wai canal, if anyone know what I’m talking about. Fairly cheap, and could prevent a lot of litter from heading out into the ocean.

Not sure if this is just a city request, but how about some new hybrid trash and recycle bins around the neighborhood, and more of them in general, including some of the beach areas and along the bike path.


Geoff Page June 10, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Both good ideas, Tyler.


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