Bicycle ‘Experts’ Disparage Planning Boards and Push for Their Merging at Midway Planners Meeting

by on January 27, 2022 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach

Screen shot of BikeSD website page of its Board of Directors, taken 1/27/22

There was an issue raised at the recent Midway planners’ meeting, as reported by Geoff Page, that was buried by the other larger issue of the homeless on Sports Arena Boulevard, that needs more of the light of day.

Two bicycling “experts” presented their views at the meeting, disparaged planning boards, and pushed the solution of the merging of different planning committees.

As Page reported:

During a discussion of the major changes the city wants to make to the planning boards, the Midway group heard from two members of BikeSD’s Board of Directors, Paul Jamason and Nicole Burgess. They did not, however, identify themselves that way. Burgess did say she was from the Peninsula Community Planning Board, giving the impression that her remarks were the opinion of the PCPB.

Jamason and Burgess lobbied the Midway planners in support of “the city’s planned drastic changes regarding planning groups but neither one stated that overtly. It was how they spoke that told the story.”

Jamason said planning boards don’t fairly represent the communities. They lack representation and transparency he claimed. But, regarding the local review process by planning boards, he said, “We have this additional layer of regulation or local control around land use, it’s a big ask.”  Page suggested that, “Jamason considers the planning board review as just an unnecessary layer of oversight.”

He also stated,

“Maybe we need to consider the role of community planning groups if we can’t get fair representation because people don’t know they exist.”

On planning group boundaries, Jamason says they need to be changed by combining some groups to address perceived disparities. Changes being proposed by the city to rectify the problems of “significant representation issues, transparency issues” says Jamason are the way to “improve community planning groups.”

After Page’s post was published, Jamason left a comment denying he was still on the board of BikeSD. Yet, as Page replied, the group’s website still has him listed as a member of the board of directors.

Also on BikeSD’s board of directors is Nicole Burgess, who accompanied Jamason and also lobbied for the city’s proposed changes to planning boards. As Page reported:

The real surprise was hearing the things Burgess had to say. She sits on the PCPB and also sits on the OBPB transportation subcommittee. But, in her comments, she disparaged both communities.

Burgess said:

“It’s unfortunate that Point Loma and Ocean Beach doesn’t want to see that beautified (meaning the Midway area) and see that become what it really can be. I’m really disappointed in the lawsuit (fighting Measure E) and I really hope our city can overcome and I’m grateful we do have a leader in Todd Gloria that is wanting to challenge that.” …

Then Burgess joined Jamason in the push for merging the planning boards. She said:

“The Point Loma community is actively fighting Midway a lot of times… so maybe there is that we need these community groups to be larger so that we actively have these all-inclusive conversations.”

Burgess should know better. She lives about a block east of the Ocean Beach Planning Area, sits on the OB Planning Board transportation sub-committee. She should know the history and story of how challenging it was when Ocean Beach residents fought the city to establish the city’s very first local planning group back in the mid-1970s.

There are a lot of other problems with what both Jamason and Burgess said at the meeting and Geoff Page took the statements apart in his report. They don’t need to be repeated here.

The point is, you had these two well-known bike advocates come to the Midway planners and push for the city’s changes to planning boards which would undercut what power they still have, plus, lobbied for the merging of planning groups and areas. Burgess sits on a planning board. None of her statements in support of doing away with the 30 foot height limit in the Midway or in doing away with planning groups represent the views of her own planning group.

In his remarks to the Midway folks, Jamason disparaged the chair of his own planning group because the chair expressed opposition to Circulate San Diego, another organization filled with bicycling experts which Jamason loves. Circulate SD has been shown to be the developers class hand-maiden here in this sunny city.

What Page has high-lighted is the continued efforts by seemingly locally based bike advocates who push the city’s and Mayor Gloria’s line about dismantling planning boards, undercutting their fragile authority, and eliminating citizen control or say about local planning issues.

The city has never really liked community planning groups. They were literally forced upon the city starting during the environmental awakening during the seventies, when the 30 foot height limit was established by a citizen initiative and when the California Coastal Commission was created.

Also, as Page illuminated was:

Instead of running candidates and voting in the people they want, which would be the normal procedure, they decided to attack the planning board system as a whole. The majority of the recommended changes came from a group named Circulate San Diego. Check them out here.  The changes are Draconian and will result in a nosedive of volunteerism because it won’t be worth the trouble for anyone to volunteer.

Maybe that’s the point. Make it too much trouble to be a citizen planning volunteer. Drive everyone out of the only recognized local urban planning process where citizens have any involvement.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Beacian January 29, 2022 at 9:53 pm

stop with the bike obsession, it is ridiculous


Chris January 31, 2022 at 9:51 am

Only to those who disagree with it.


Geoff Page January 31, 2022 at 11:10 am

Sorry, Beacian, but what we are writing about is the obsession, we are not the ones who are obsessed.


Chris January 30, 2022 at 2:01 am
lyle January 30, 2022 at 7:18 am

Figures don’t lie, but liars figure. The counters are a great idea, but the article doesn’t specify the period of time over which the quoted number of trips was counted, which makes the quoted number meaningless. The counter pictured shows the sensor going over the traffic lane as well as the bike lane, but the article doesn’t state if it is counting cars separately or if it is counting total vehicles over both lanes.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: