OB Planners Look for Details on Pier Money, Set Time Limits on Beach Parking Lots, and Give Their 2 Cents on Outdoor Dining Spaces

by on September 8, 2021 · 12 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

The OB Pier, parking in OB’s beach lots, and outdoor dining – that resulted from COVID – were the main issues taken up at the OB Planning Board’s monthly meeting, September 7, 2021. All pretty serious matters for OB.


There was a lengthy discussion of the pier mostly focused on a pot of money amounting to $8.4 million coming from Sacramento.  Board Chair Andrea Schlageter started the discussion by explaining there are no conditions on this money and the community needed to make its opinion known.

This is not the first time this sum of money has been mentioned and no one seems to know much more about it. During the last OBPB meeting, Cole Reed, who represents Toni Atkins office, seemed to indicate he had more details about this money.

However, when contacted the day after the OBPB meeting, Reed replied:

“I mentioned in the last OBPB that I am still working on getting more details about how the $8.4 million in state funds allocated towards the OB Pier will be disbursed. I will connect you with our Communications team since they would the most appropriate avenue for media outlets.”

There has been nothing forthcoming so another email request was sent September 7. The public needs to know much more about $8.4 million of its money.

A letter was carefully crafted by the Board to be sent to the city regarding how OB thinks the available money should be used.  Here is the letter:

“The OB Community and the City clearly understand that the Ocean Beach Pier is an asset to everyone in the City. This is why it has been consistently placed in the CIP Five Year Outlook and has been requested by the OB Planning Board in the past 3 CIP updates. Unfortunately, the project has not been able to move forward because of lack of funding.

Since the state has recently allocated $8.4 million to the OB pier, the OBPB is requesting that the money be used to move the rebuilding or replacement forward with the intention of a final product that will have a minimum fifty-year life expectancy. Thus, the OBPB is strongly requesting the $8.4 million be included in the ongoing CIP budgeting process for engineering and design of the OB Pier.

If the project does not start moving forward, the concern is that the $8.4 million will be squandered on repairs that only extend the OB pier’s life temporarily.

We hope the City can see what an opportunity it has been given and will use the $8.4 million to immediately start on the design and engineering process for a new pier.”

The board felt that the city should use existing money to make repairs that will allow the pier to stay open.


The parking lots that were discussed are the pier lot, the lifeguard lot by the main lifeguard tower, and the Dog Beach/ North Beach lot.

The crux of the parking issue is major frustration over how the beach parking lots are being monopolized by “campers,” a term that encompasses mainly transients and vendors.  A visit to the parking lots during the day illustrates the duality of the problem. Parking intended for the visiting public is difficult to find because of these people.  And, the class of people doing this is not desirable, further discouraging the visiting public.

Lots of options were discussed, many of which everyone agreed on.  Everyone agreed that the current parking lot closure time from 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. is inadequate.  The board agreed on increasing this from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. for two lots and 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. for the third making it necessary for the campers to go elsewhere for a substantial period of time.

There was discussion about the lots being allowed to stay open longer than 12:00 a.m. as people would still be at the local bars.  Vice Chair Kevin Hastings pointed out that finding a street parking place after 12:00 would not be hardship, as he supported the 12:00 a.m. closure.  In the end, the board decided on 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. closure for the pier lot only and the 12:00 a.m. closure for the other two.

It was noted that it would be necessary to make an accommodation for some spots by the pier because the pier is open 24 hours for fishing. A number of spaces are required to be available for the fisherfolks. The board decided it wanted gates on the other two lots but not on the pier lot because of this issue.

The other main discussion topic was restricting parking during the day.  This would help break up some of the daytime camping and hopefully free up more parking.  It was finally decided to request a four-hour restriction during the hours the pier lot and the main lifeguard tower lot are open. For reasons that are not clear, the board decided not to impose hourly restrictions on the Dog Beach/ North Beach lot.

Board member Craig Klein argued that the Dog Beach/ North Beach lot was often used for special events that required they take up parking all day. What was puzzling about not imposing the hourly restrictions was what the board did about the pier and lifeguard lots. They added a stipulation that the parking hourly restriction could be waived when there was a special use permit. Why they did not apply the same logic to the Dog Beach/North Beach lot is a mystery.

During the discussion, one board member was heard to make a suggestion that one would not expect to hear from anyone on the OB Planning Board. They said it was time to look at charging for parking at the beach, and that residents could purchase inexpensive yearly passes but everyone else would have to pay the going rate.

That is kind of the definition of elitism, not something OB is known for.  Imagine what the rest of the city would think of OB, making them pay the going rate while locals paid a small fraction of that.  Because this was not the subject of the discussion, the chair moved on quickly.  Hopefully, this idea will not raise its ugly head again.

In the end, here was what the board approved:

  • Dog Beach/North Beach: Gated closure from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. No daytime hour or time restrictions.
  • Lifeguard lot: Gated closure from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Four-hour parking restriction until 6:00 p.m. The hourly requirement may be waived for special events with proper permitting.
  • Pier lot: Closed from 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. No gate. Four-hour parking restriction until 6:00 p.m. The hourly requirement may be waived for special events with proper permitting. Fishing spots to remain as existing.

For both the pier and lifeguard lots, the board’s motion stated the four-hour parking restriction was in “force whether vehicle is occupied or unoccupied.”  Apparently, Parking Enforcement told a board member that they are not allowed to ticket a vehicle if someone is in the vehicle, no matter how long.  The board wanted to plug that hole.

An amendment to the approved motion echoed a long-time Ocean Beach complaint.  The amendment from Hastings was:

“Further, the OBPB requests firm enforcement of regulations in the public lots, including time limits, time restrictions, vehicle habitation, and noise ordinances, for the benefit of public access, and the adjacent residents.”

This should not be something a planning board has to request.

Spaces as Places

This a City of San Diego-created title “Spaces As Places – Creating Safe Outdoor Places For A Post Pandemic World.”

That’s a long way of describing the idea of making the outdoor dining, resulting from COVID, permanent. This means ceding over public space for private enterprise.

Although this was a Planning Department presentation, it was not presented by anyone from Planning.  Instead, Board Chair Schlageter ran through the presentation that is also available here.

The city is looking for feedback on this proposal because it wants to pass “Permanent Future Regulations” for using public space.  But, judging by the timeline in the slide show, public outreach apparently happened in June and the public hearing process happened in July and August. All that is left is council action.  All of this was news to this writer.

The “Menu of Options” in the slide show has four categories: “Streetaries,” Social Club,” “Outdoor Dining Within Private Property,” and “Promenade.”

Here is how these are defined.


Outdoor spaces created in areas formerly dedicated to parking spaces that serve as an extension of a restaurant or other establishment that sells food and drink.

Social Curb

Permanent extension of the curb into the parking lane to facilitate a variety of activities, such as recreation, outdoor dining and enjoyable public interaction.

Outdoor Dining within Private Property

Outdoor Dining in parking lots of a permitted eating and drinking establishment within Transit Priority Areas.


Partial or complete street closure to vehicular traffic to facilitate active transportation uses such as walking, biking, recreation, outdoor dining and enjoyable public interaction.

The common element for all of these is eliminating parking spaces, the most extreme being the Promenade.

The slide show details all the permitting and safety requirements for each of the options.  Certain conditions have to be met to qualify for use of public space.

The mood was mixed about allowing private business to permanently take over public property for profit, even if there are fees for doing so.  The first motion to just say no to allowing any of this failed by a vote of 9 to 5. After that, the board looked at the specifics for comment.

One of the biggest sore points was the issue of empty street dining structures during the day for some businesses that are not open all day. Breakfast places that close at 2:00 were mentioned as an example.  Safety was also a concern as board members Ueno and Hastings recounted that several outdoor structures have already been hit by cars.

Another sore point was the takeover of sidewalk space making access difficult for pedestrians. There are several places along Newport that have created congestion, The Old Town restaurant is an example of this.

In the end, the board approved the following requested additions to Spaces As Places:

  • Structures must be sufficiently robust to provide protection from vehicles.
  • Minimum 8 feet of clearance on sidewalks/walkways on Newport between Abbott and Sunset Cliffs.
  • Space shall not exceed 50% of a store’s frontage or 25 feet, whichever is greater.
  • Businesses with streetaries closed more than 30 days shall have the streetaries removed.
  • Businesses must serve the public and be operable for a minimum of 4 hours between 12:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.
  • No streetaries on Bacon Blvd as it’s a bicycle boulevard

San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture

Board member Tracy Dezenzo, a Commissioner on the Commission for Arts and Culture, provided some information about volunteering to help review non-profit proposals for funding. The Commission is taking applications to be a review panelist now.

“The city is seeking applications from artists, cultural practitioners, and arts field professionals from all disciplines and backgrounds throughout North America and Baja California to lend their time and expertise to review and rank proposals from nonprofit organizations for our two funding categories: Organizational Support Program (general operating support) and Creative Communities San Diego (project-specific support).”

The deadline for applications is Sunday, November 21, 2021.

For more information go here

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Dodge September 9, 2021 at 8:32 am

It is Bacon STREET. And it needs a lot more work to be a safe bicycle boulevard.


Greg September 9, 2021 at 3:55 pm

Remember the lighting on Bacon is poor so you should not ride on it after dark if the moon is a waning crescent with an illumination of 2% because you will be at-fault if someone rear-ends you and kills you.


Sam September 9, 2021 at 4:29 pm

And by all means, don’t wear any reflective clothing or use a safety lighting system for your bike because muh freedoms


Geoff Page September 9, 2021 at 4:44 pm

A cyclist could be partially at fault for sure.

3. C.V.C. 21201 Minimum Bicycle Requirements
These requirements apply to bicycle on public roads:

The bike must be equipped with a brake that can enable the rider to stop one wheel on a dry, level, clean pavement.
The handlebars must be below the bike operator’s shoulder level.
The bicycle must allow the rider to sit in an upright position and put one foot on the ground.
Any bicycle that is operated in the dark (on public roads) must be equipped with the following:
A light source that emits white light
A red reflector on the back of the bicycle
White or yellow reflectors on the pedals.
The law allows for the operator to attach a white light source visible from a distance of 300 feet on herself or himself instead of the first requirement.

And, every biking sire recommends reflective clothing at night.


Shawn September 9, 2021 at 8:45 pm

Remember if the pavement is not clean it is always the cyclist’s fault


Geoff Page September 10, 2021 at 11:26 am

Where did anyone say anything about pavement? Oh, wait, I get it, that was an attempt at sarcasm. Nice try, Sheldon.


Shawn September 9, 2021 at 9:15 pm

We should not spend a penny on the pier. With the limited resources of the city money to make the most expensive mile of walking path in the state is a waste. As for Newport ave. Can we make it pedestrian only? Same for Balboa Park.


Mat Wahlstrom September 10, 2021 at 8:40 am

Quite the troll take on this and other articles here lately by someone using this first name. Wonder if it’s the same person who does the same thing on Twitter and serves on the board of a major city facility?


Shawn September 11, 2021 at 9:49 pm

Sorry to disappoint you but I am just a stoner sitting on my couch wondering why anyone would drive down Newport


Jack September 9, 2021 at 11:45 pm

Pier money…you’ll never see it, they’re already dodging the question…crickets!
No mention about cleaning up the shithole Newport has become!
Where to begin…
Big Scary Covid, and OB refuses to take care of business in trying to slow down the spread…Sanitization!
Clean/sanitize the sidewalks, streets, and those dam Public bathrooms at the lifeguard area are disgusting and scary…Women and children must use them…OB has no shame is what the tourist are saying!
Don’t want to hear that it’s on the City, not OB bullshit either.
If you can rally people to clean up the beach…rally to clean up the dam town!


Geoff Page September 10, 2021 at 10:36 am

Jack, I used to work all over the county for years and for years I heard people say things like you have here. I’m going to respond to you the way I used to respond when I heard this.

You are exactly right about OB! You do not want to come to OB, it really is a scene man, motorcycles racing up and down Newport, muggings. hippies dealing drugs. Tell your close friends and family too, avoid OB at all costs!

That was to help keep assholes who passed on lies about how awful OB was – who clearly had no idea and were just passing along crap they heard – and their friends and family out of OB.


bobo September 10, 2021 at 11:57 am

No one is stopping YOU from using your private funds and personal time to “sanitize” the streets of OB. Go for it!
But don’t come crying to the residents and business owners of OB after you’re fined $$$$ for unpermitted sanitation and excessive run-off in the city’s storm drains.
My point is, this is the City’s responsibility. Not individual residents. The city prohibits doing what you want without a license, bond, insurance, etc.
As someone who regularly does street cleanups for garbage, believe me, I’d LOVE to throw a few buckets of bleach on the sidewalks. I can’t afford the fines!


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