8 Residential Units Planned for Former Ranchos on Point Loma Avenue

by on January 26, 2021 · 27 comments

in Ocean Beach

Eight residential units are planned for the old, Ranchos site on Point Loma Avenue.

An application for a Coastal Development Permit at 4705 Point Loma Avenue has been made by Isabella Vinueza Guzman. Guzman’s application requests a permit for the demolition of the existing retail structure – which years ago used to be a second Ranchos restaurant as well as a food store for the Peninsula  – and the construction of two buildings with four units each for a total of eight new units. The application was filed on January 5, 2021.

Notice signs went up January 26 around the immediate neighborhood announcing the future decision by the city’s Development Services Department on the project. (See below.)

According to the Notice, ” This project is an affordable housing density bonus project of eight units total,” and is a 0.16-acre site.

Here is the first section of the Notice:

As a property owner, tenant, or person who has requested notice, you should know that the Development Services Department Staff will make a decision to approve, conditionally approve, modify or deny an application for a Coastal Development Permit for a demolition of an existing retail structure and construction of two, buildings with four units each for a total of eight new units. This project is an affordable housing density bonus project of eight units total. The 0.16-acre site is located at 4705 Point Loma Avenue in the CC-4-2 Zone and the Coastal Overlay Zone (Non-Appealable), within the Ocean Beach Community Plan area. Council District 2. This development is within the Coastal Overlay zone and the application was filed on January 5, 2021.

It’s Project No. 681097 and the City Project Manager is Derrick Johnson (D.J.), (619) 446-5477 / DNJohnson@sandiego.gov .

The following is also part of the Notice – but check out the language:

Please note that Community Planning Groups provide citizens with an opportunity for involvement in advising the City on land use matters. Community Planning Group considerations are a recommended, but not required, part of the project review process. (My emphasis.)

No wonder new applicants are confused when they appear before the OB Planning Board. The City staff is telling them, ‘hey, contact the local citizen planners if you want, but it’s not required. Sure, tear down an old relic of the community and throw up eight brand new units without any community input. What the hay?’

Here is the full language of the paragraph:

Please note that Community Planning Groups provide citizens with an opportunity for involvement in advising the City on land use matters. Community Planning Group considerations are a recommended, but not required, part of the project review process. You may contact Andrea Schlageter, Chair of the Ocean Beach Community Planning Group at (619) 818-2555 or aeschlag@gmail.com to inquire about the community planning group meeting dates, times, and location for community review of this project.

For some more history of the building: after Ranchos closed, it sat vacate for years. Then a group of military vets who got kicked out of their Newport Avenue venue tried to open their club in the building. But there was so much local neighborhood opposition, that the veterans gave up. And the building has remained vacate for many years since. Many years. It was a drag on the entire commercial area of Point Loma Avenue.

Here is the 2 page Notice:

(tip o’ hat to Debbie Greene)

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Paul Webb January 26, 2021 at 3:45 pm

Yikes! If I’ve done the math right, that’s 50 du/ac!
Anybody know how high it will be?

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Avatar nostalgic January 26, 2021 at 5:02 pm

Does anybody know why a Site Development Permit is not required? Isn’t it usually an SDP/CDP for an all-new building?

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Avatar Geoff Page January 27, 2021 at 9:44 am

If a Coastal Development Permit is needed, the applicant must come before the Ocean Beach Planning Board, it IS required.

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Avatar Geoff Page January 27, 2021 at 9:51 am

The spot is Zoned CC-4-2. The MC states “CC-4-2 is intended to accommodate development with high intensity, strip commercial characteristics and permits a maximum density of 1 dwelling unit for each 1,500 square feet of lot area.” 0.16 acres would only allow 4.6 units on this site. This one needs to be looked closely folks.

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Avatar Lyle January 27, 2021 at 10:14 am

Per https://www.sdhc.org/doing-business-with-us/developers/density-bonus/,

“On March 6, 2018, the San Diego City Council approved changes to the Density Bonus program, as proposed by Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer in his Housing SD plan. These changes include:
Offering 10 percent density bonus for developments that do not go beyond the maximum permitted building footprint.
Allowing developers to be eligible for an incentive or a waiver even if they don’t request a density bonus.
Allowing for 100 percent density bonus for micro-unit production for developments that do not go beyond the permitted building footprint.”

I’m not sure what a “micro unit” is, nor if 8 units can fit into “maximum pernitted footprint”. I also didn’t notice any mention of parking. Parking was an issue when the building was proposed for a VFW place.

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Avatar Paul Webb January 27, 2021 at 11:25 am

I’ve found news reports that say that micro unit developments must average no more than 600 square feet, with a maximum floor area of 800 square feet, but good luck finding that in the land development code. I wasn’t able to find it searching the LCD at all.

I did, however see that affordable housing developments generally only require 0.5 parking spaces per unit, so I’d expect parking would be a problem in the area after this development is occupied.

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Avatar Paul Webb January 27, 2021 at 9:59 am

I realize that community plans and zoning don’t mean anything any longer, but this seems to be way out of line with the zone and plan designations for the site and way out of character of the surrounding community. I guess it’s just build more housing anywhere, anyhow, in any size and the community be damned!

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Avatar Toby January 27, 2021 at 3:35 pm

Paul Webb’s comment says it all; developers own San Diego City Council.

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Avatar Geoff Page January 27, 2021 at 3:43 pm

Barbara Bry cited a study that showed the 178,000 housing units San Diego lacks was actually much lower around 112,000. They are using the dire housing predictions to to clear the path for rampant in-fill development. Faulconer happily went along with all this.

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Avatar Paul Webb January 27, 2021 at 3:54 pm

Also, subtract the approximately 18,000 short term rental properties and that leaves a shortfall of 94,000 which is, admittedly, a significant number, but we’re not going to get them building “accessory” dwelling units and micro dwellings. We let the developers cover all the open land with sprawl development instead of actually planning for our future housing needs, and now turn to existing communities and say they have to densify to make up the difference.

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Avatar kh January 27, 2021 at 11:37 pm

The project includes 14 parking spaces for 8 units. The units are 2/2 and just shy of 1,300 sf each with rooftop decks. 30′ height measured from raised planter boxes. FAR is 1.9.

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Avatar Rufus January 28, 2021 at 6:59 am

Listen to all these NIMBY folks who would rather have urban sprawl and an empty storefront than have new families move into the neighborhood. In the next breath they’ll complain about high rents.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie January 28, 2021 at 8:38 am

Rufus – so, you don’t think communities deserve to set requirements for new development? You’d like to see us all go back to the days of unbridled over-development, no rules, no limits, just build whatever you can get away with?

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Avatar Lyle January 28, 2021 at 9:51 am

Do you see any data here that indicates this project doesn’t comply with current codes? I don’t understand how your phrase “build whatever you can get away with” specifically applies to this project.

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Avatar lyle January 28, 2021 at 10:22 am

oops. I just re-read kh’s comment. I don’t agree with measuring height from the surface of raised planter boxes.

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Avatar Geoff Page January 28, 2021 at 10:44 am

Lyle, the parking issue is a big deal. Developers, homeowners, anyone can now build with less parking if they are within a certain distance of mass transit. Here is an example of hte problem. On my street, new owners of a house across the street managed to get an illegal garage conversion, that existed when they bought it, permitted. No parking required because there is a bus stop one half block away. This morning, I watched a young woman who is renting the 239 sf unit pull ups in her car, unload a surfboard and go to the back yard. She has a car and, even if she uses mass transit or not, the car is on the street. These new units are right next to a bus stop but their cars will be all over the street. Fucking ridiculous.

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Avatar lyle January 28, 2021 at 12:52 pm

Geoff, I absolutely agree that parking is a big deal. My experience on my street is simalar to yours, and I could rant about it for hours. Per kh, this project includes 14 spaces, in spite of being “affordable housing” and near a bus stop. That seems a lot better than zero spaces as is now required for ADU’s and tiny houses. Do you think 14 is enough to avoid problems? Hopefully those spaces aren’t private garages which are often used to store miscellaneous junk rather than to park cars.

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Avatar Geoff Page January 28, 2021 at 2:40 pm

14 spots for 8 units isn’t too bad, but I agree, if these are garages, they will be used as you said.
This measuring from planters shit has got to stop.

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Avatar Paul Webb January 28, 2021 at 9:40 am

Pitting urban sprawl and empty storefronts against reasonable regulation and protection of community character is a false dichotomy. We can protect our neighborhoods and still allow for new development at a scale that does not destroy the fabric of our community.

I lived in West LA for a time after I graduated from UCLA and before I moved to San Diego. What was once a nice neighborhood of moderately priced small homes and apartment buildings is now a over-dense condominium filled neighborhood with clogged streets, lack of parking, generally impersonal community character. Oh, and the community now is priced so that only the very affluent can live there – think BMWs and Teslas as opposed to VWs.

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Avatar Paul Webb January 28, 2021 at 3:09 pm

One other thing bothers me about this project. Unless I am mistaken, the project appears to have been awarded the 100% density bonus for “micro” units, which are supposed to be no greater than 800 square feet and averaging 600 square feet. Am I missing something here? At 1,300 square feet, they are double the size of micro units.

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Avatar Tyler January 29, 2021 at 10:22 am

> Pitting urban sprawl and empty storefronts against reasonable regulation and protection of community character is a false dichotomy. We can protect our neighborhoods and still allow for new development at a scale that does not destroy the fabric of our community.

I just think this is a cop out. Community character is not static, it’s very much dynamic. Trying to hide behind this at the expense of something like affordable housing in a progressive community is just insane to me, and it’s why many people my age are apoplectic with older CA progressives in communities that are using this language to effectively talk down any project that doesn’t fit into a perfect box. If it’s below 30 feet, meets FAR requirements, and won’t be a vacation rental, then it’s ok with me. Streets like Pt Loma Ave are exactly the areas that we need to build up density.

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Avatar Paul Webb January 29, 2021 at 12:58 pm

I agree that community character is not static, but it’s about what you want to character to morph into. Look at the three new developments on Voltaire. I that the pattern of development you want to see in your community? If it is, that’s fine for you, but many of us don’t think that is the direction we’d like our community to go. But, before you decide that they are the answer to the affordable housing problem, check the prices.

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Avatar nostalgic January 30, 2021 at 6:57 am

Nothing prevents the new Point Loma Ave. units from becoming vacation rentals.

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Avatar kh January 28, 2021 at 4:45 pm
Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie January 29, 2021 at 7:35 am

Please insert any links into the text of the comment itself.

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Avatar Paul Webb January 30, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Thanks for the links. From what I read, the 100% density bonus only applies to micro units, which these are definitely not. I’ve also not seen anything that says these are going to be low/moderate housing units.

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Avatar Geoff Page January 29, 2021 at 1:40 pm

Tyler, I have to disagree with a couple of things. When you say community character is not static, it may not be exactly static but it can be pretty close. The community character of Ocean Beach is a pretty good example. The character has been very much the same for many years. It’s a beach community and has always attracted beach people. That character is undergoing it’s first major change in a long time as OB is becoming gentrified. That doesn’t mean the old character gets wiped out but it is fading away.

No one is hiding behind anything. Those of us who have lived here a long time because we like it the way it is have every right to defend that. The false dichotomy is that this position of wanting to maintain what we like means we are against affordable housing. Unfortunately, affordable housing means increased density and much reduced parking in a community not set up for that. The streets, water, and sewer, were not designed for this increase density either. The idea that an area that is not as dense as some think it should or could be is not an argument that carries water.

The housing problem is not supply, it is cost and these projects don’t solve that.

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