Peninsula Planning Board Supports Critique of City’s Park Plan and OB’s Changes to STVR Proposal

by on February 25, 2021 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

The very next day after the Midway Pacific Highway Planning Group looked inward, the Peninsula Community Planning Board, looked outward and supported two positions on parks and STVRs intended to benefit the entire city of San Diego.  The PCPB should be commended for both of these actions it took at its regular monthly meeting, Thursday, February 21st at 6:00.

The recorded meeting can be seen at the PCPB’s You Tube site titled the “Peninsula Community Planning Board” here.

Ocean Beach Planning Board Short Term Vacation Rental letter

The first of the two actions was a letter with a series of recommended changes and additions to council member Jennifer Campbell’s proposed STVR ordinance that the Ocean Beach Planning Board composed. OB was looking for support before the letter was sent to Campbell and the city council. Although the PCPB area is not suffering the effects of the STVR problem as badly as OB is, the PCPB, generously voted to support the letter.

The vote was nearly unanimous.  Board member Don Sevrens voted no.  Unfortunately, the voting rules do not require an explanation for a no vote, as an abstention does.

Sevrens participated in the discussion, describing how firmly Anaheim handles STVRs.  He said he did not see any of Anaheim style enforcement in the proposed Campbell ordinance.  Because he did not make a comment on the OB letter, his objection to their effort is a mystery.  Protocol is for board members to state their support or objection to a proposal at the meeting so the public knows how they vote and why.

Park Master Plan

The second action was a vote to support the PARC proposals for changes and additions to the parks portion of the city’s Master Plan.

As related in the report of the January PCPB meeting, an all-volunteer group of professionals called PARC, made a presentation.  It was a detailed review the Parks section of the city’s Master Plan, describing a list of recommendations they believe are critical to the draft plan.  The board did not take an action in January because there was so much information to absorb.

The presentation was described in detail in the report of the January meeting. One of the most notable of the issues was the 2.8 acres of park per thousand residents guideline. An acreage guideline is normal for planning across the country.  The city wants to remove that requirement entirely and substitute a system of points.  The point system could actually allow planners to satisfy park requirements in the future by never adding any more park land.

Although the 2.8 acres per thousand residents is not practical in the Peninsula area, because it is largely built out, it could be quite practical and beneficial to the rest of the city.  Recognizing this, the PCPB voted unanimously to support PARC’s proposals.

Loss of more single-family neighborhoods

The continued de facto rezoning of single-family neighborhoods into multi-family neighborhoods was evident in the list of projects that came before the board.  Three projects, all in RS-1-7 zones, the designation for single-family zoning, came to the board for approval to add second units. The additions fall under the heading of ADUs or Accessory Dwelling Units.  One is 640/SF, one is 400/SF, and the third is 451/SF.

The developer push to build more housing because of the inflated housing deficit in California resulted in a total relaxation of rules for adding an ADU to a property in the single-family zone.  There are, of course, no current plans to beef up infrastructure designed for single-family neighborhoods.  To make matters worse, if the new units are anywhere near mass transit, they do not require the owners to include parking for the ADUs.

There is, of course, no provision requiring that whoever rents these units not own a car. A 267/SF ADU was just permitted across the street from this reporter and the renter has a car.  There is a bus stop a half block away so no parking was required. Compounding the parking problem on this block, the owners fenced off the driveway so it only has room for one car. The driveway is easily long enough to accommodate three cars.  The ADU is the converted garage at the rear of the lot.

A fourth project illustrated another new trend, although this one is in the multi-family zone.  A project currently under construction consists of two structures.  The applicant is “condoizing” the lot.  The application is applying for a map waiver to turn the two structures into condos.  It is easy to see why, this enables the sale of two homes on one lot instead of one home with an ADU.  It is not clear if this will be allowed in single-family zones.

What is clear is that the Peninsula will be seeing very significant densification in the coming years, something developers have been slathering over for years.  It is a cherished way of life that is disappearing before our eyes.

Famosa Canyon

The subject of what is referred to as Famosa Canyon was discussed.  This is the piece of land on the south side of Famosa Blvd., bordered by Nimitz Blvd. on the west.  The San Diego Housing Commission wants to build affordable housing on the site and a citizens group is opposing that in favor of maintaining open space.

What came out of the discussion was that no one knows for sure what is happening.  The SDHC chose a developer last fall and began negotiations with them but things have stalled.  There was an unconfirmed rumor that the SDHC planned to sell the land.

Elections and Drama

The subject of the upcoming PCPB elections was discussed at length.  The outcome is best seen in The OB Rag’s February 23 posting of a detailed document from the PCPB explaining everything. In short, the PCPB will conduct its election in March by mail-in and drop off balloting.  The details are in the PCPB document and can also be seen at

There are 11 open seats.  Each year, five seats are up for election.  Because COVID prevented an election last year, there are 10 normally open seats.  The eleventh opening is due to a resignation.  Considering how hard it is to get candidates for these elections, it is possible that no election will be held if only 11, or fewer, applications are received.  Applications can be obtained and viewed at the PCPB website.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a PCPB meeting without some drama and this one concerned the election.   Board member “Lucky” Morrison obtained a draft letter another board member accidentally attached to a board email. The draft letter was clearly unfinished. It was written in early 2020 and was about the upcoming 2020 election that never happened.

The letter urged the intended recipients not to vote for Morrison or board member Don Sevrens. Both men were incumbents running in the 2020 election.  Morrison claimed the sentiments in the letter disqualified the letter drafter from being one of the election subcommittee members because of bias.  Introduction of the letter angered a number of board members who wanted to just move on.  Morrison then raised a Point of Order, which is raised when someone believes the rules have been broken.

Under Robert’s Rules of Order, a Point of Order must be dealt with before busines resumes. The chair is supposed to rule on it or the chair can ask the board for a judgment.  In this case, the current chair, Fred Kosmo, an attorney by trade, decided to continue with the election discussion and hear the complaint at the end.  This was a direct violation of Robert’s Rules of Order and it only postponed the inevitable discussion.  Morrison correctly pointed out this was a violation.

When the dust finally settled, no action was taken on Morrison’s request that the letter drafter be removed from the election subcommittee.  It was not clear why.

The advice in the draft letter would be good for the election coming next month as both Morrison and Sevrens plan to run again.  From this reporter’s perspective, the advice was very sound.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Webb February 25, 2021 at 9:42 am

Just a reminder to all that the ADU ordinance will allow much larger projects than the ones proposed as described in this piece. The city’s pre-approved ADU plans include plans for up to three bedrooms and 1,500 square feet. How this is an “accessory” unit baffles me. This is a house, and, given the way things go in the beach communities, it will be occupied by numerous unrelated adults, all owning cars. And no parking is required. I recognize the need for additional housing, but this is just absurd and ignores the reality of how housing is used in the beach comunities.

Oh, by the way, I do plan on running for the PCPB. I agree with Geoff’s post about the two named candidates. If you want to see how they can, and do, disrupt the orderly flow of planning board business, replay the most recent meeting.

As a candidate, I pledge that I will get out of bed for board meetings, unless incapacitated by illness or injury.


Geoff Page February 25, 2021 at 9:53 am

That’s a great point, Paul, thanks for mentioning it. The three ADUs were relatively small considering how big they can actually be.

Anyone who can vote in the PCPB election should consider voting for Paul. He brings a wealth of experience in municipal affairs and more, including Coastal Commission experience. He is a long time resident on the Peninsula and really does care about the community. He has served on the PCPB for years and his willingness to do so again is admirable. Don’t hold my recommendation against him!


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