OB Planners on ADUs, Midway Redevelopment, Rogue Project on Santa Cruz

by on January 11, 2022 · 10 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

The two highlights of the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s first monthly meeting in 2022 were clearly a detailed presentation of a Sports Arena redevelopment proposal and drastic changes involving Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs.

The regular monthly meeting, that takes place the first Wednesday of every month at 6:00 p.m., was held on-line. The OBPB and most planning boards have not gone back to live meetings yet. The meeting may be viewed on YouTube here.

Land Use Code Changes

Before continuing, it is important to note there will be a meeting of the City Council’s Land Use and Housing, or LUAH, subcommittee January 13 at 1:00. Comments may be submitted on-line here.  Comments need to be submitted by Wednesday, January 12. Or, anyone interested may attend the virtual meeting by registering here.

The city is planning on implementing the requirements mandated in Senate Bill 9, the bill that calls for relaxing building codes to help allegedly solve the housing shortage in California. The city is not only planning on implementing the state law, the city is eagerly piling on by lessening restrictions much more than the state requires.

The ADU changes are the end of single-family zoned neighborhoods because owners will now be legally able to build multiple units on lots once zoned for a single home.

In general, the recommended changes allow for multiple dwellings, no parking, zero setbacks, and lot splits.  A single-family lot can be split and three dwellings added where one existed.  If the property falls within a Transit Priority Area, or TPA, no parking need be provided. If not within a TPA, only one parking space is required for each new unit, which can be large multi-bedroom residences.

The proposed regulations allow for a zero setback for any single-story structure. A two-story structure can have a zero setback if next to a commercial building.

To make this even more attractive, the Development Impact Fees, or DIF, used to fund parks and schools and libraries, will be waived in some instances. The fee is waived for any new single added unit. The absurd example in the city’s presentation shows a 1,000/sf existing home with a new 2,000/sf multi-story addition. The much larger new building would not be assessed DIF.

For a very detailed description, with illustrations, of what this all means, go here.  This presentation was created by the city to explain the various crazy shit coming our way. It is well worth watching.

After much discussion, the board passed a motion: “Recommend preserving setbacks to the extent legally possible required non-restricted units and consider the retention of mature trees to the extent possible.”

The setback issue is important to many because of the push to improve our urban canopy – trees. Zero setbacks leave no place to plant trees at all, among other problems. The new regulations do address trees by requiring one shade tree for every 5,000/sf of lot space. Seems pretty sparse. The regs also require street trees for every 30 feet of lot facing the street.

Because there was no mention of existing trees on lots to be developed, the board included the language about retaining mature trees. It was pointed out that the loss of benefits from a tree was exponential when going from a mature tree to a sapling.

An organization called Neighbors for a Better San Diego has been working hard on the ADU issue, especially the city’s ridiculous enhancements. A presentation on their website compares the state law requirements for one ADU, a 16-foot height limit, and 4-foot side and rear setbacks to the city’s three or unlimited ADUs, heights to 30 feet, and zero side and rear setbacks. The illustrations are worth the website visit.

This organization is recommending the following to city council:

  • One ADU and one JADU (Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit)
  • 4-foot rear and side yard setbacks
  • Height limit 16 feet
  • Fee waivers only as required by CA or to encourage deeded affordable
  • Exempt areas from ADUs based on: Public Safety(Fire), Traffic, Water/Sewer
  • Develop housing on transit corridors and hubs.

While the OB motion was a good one in that it covered the setbacks and trees, it was surprising it did not address the number of ADUS that can be built, the height limit, or the DIF waivers. This was all discussed during the meeting, however.

The next important date is January 20, when the city’s Housing Commission will hear the proposed changes.

Midway Development Proposal

Now that the consortiums bidding on the Sports Arena development project for the city have all submitted their bids, they are willing to provide details for the public to review.  Proposals were submitted on December 3 and that kicked off a 90-day negotiating period.

The proposer that was at the meeting was the group that calls its project “Hometown SD.”  The group consists of four companies, the Monarch Group, Essex, Eden Housing, and JMI.  Former city council person Georgette Gomez is the face of this group. The other proposers are:

  • Midway Rising (Chelsea, Zephyr, Legends, AECOM)
  • Midway Village (Toll Brothers, Revitate, Bridge Housing)
  • Neighborhood Next (Wakeland, Community Housing Works, The ConAm Group)

Two proposals, from The Panacea Group (C. Daniel Gallardo) and Cotterkey Investments, were deemed unresponsive to the conditions outlined in the NOA and will not proceed to negotiations.

Monarch outlined the details of its proposal.

There will be 3,250 apartment homes of which 2,000 will be deed restricted as affordable and middle income. The remaining 1,250 homes will be market rate, which is necessary to make the finances of the project work, according to Monarch.

They showed two possible scenarios.  In the first scenario, 37.5% or 1,219 of the units will be market rate, 25% or 813 of the units will be middle income, meaning 80% to 150% AMI, and 37.5% or 1,218 of the units will be affordable meaning 80% of the AMI and below. AMI stands for Average Median Income.

In the second scenario, 37.5% or 1,219 of the units will be market rate, 12.5% or 406 of the units will be middle income, and 50% or 1,625 of the units will be affordable. The “affordable” housing will target extremely low to lower income families and individuals.

Other amenities include:

  • 18 acres of open space with central green
  • A new “tailor made” arena
    • 10,000 seats for Gulls and Seals games and for concerts
    • 12,000 seats for festivals and special events
  • 10,000/SF childcare center
  • Commercial, retail, restaurant, hotel space
  • Outdoor urban market space
  • Resident services
    • Economic empowerment (Job training)
    • Education
    • Health and wellness
  • Food pavilion
  • Urban marketplace that incorporates the Kobey swap meet

The proposal is attractive in that it does provide a lot of affordable housing. This is a far cry from what was previously proposed the first go round, before the city learned it screwed up the redevelopment proposal by not offering the opportunity to affordable housing development first.

Monarch’s proposal includes buildings to a height of 85 feet.  When asked if the group would still propose if the height limit was returned to 30 feet in the Midway area, they gave a sort of political answer saying they are committed to the city regardless.

All of the proposers have websites, so it may be possible to view the other ideas by visiting those sites.

When asked about opportunity for public input, it did not appear that any was planned for the negotiating process.  This means a small group of city officials will decide which of the four proposals is best instead of opening this up for public discussion. Considering the extent of this redevelopment and how drastically it will affect the Midway area, this seems like a major oversight.

A rogue project 4763 Santa Cruz

During non-agenda public comment, a woman named Kim Taddie spoke about a rogue project being done without building permits at 4763 Santa Cruz Ave. The owner has told neighbors that he plans to turn the residence into a seven-bedroom short term vacation rental. He has had crews working on the site for months despite being cited by Code Enforcement for working without a permit.

Taddie recounted the sorry history of many calls to the city, including code enforcement, that seems unable to stop the owner from working. One serious violation was placement of a curb cut and a driveway that would not be allowed under current codes because the property has alley access and a garage facing the alley.

Another neighbor, former OBPB member Dan Dennison, lives next to the project and has been threatened by the owner because the owner believes Dennison made the Code Enforcement complaints.  According to Dennison, the owner claims to have a person downtown who told him who made the complaint. This may be an idle boast because two people who actually did file Code Enforcement complaints have not heard from him.

Dennison said he felt so threatened that he and his wife spent a night in a motel. Two tires on his car parked on the alley were slashed. Dennison filed a police report and later, a second report.  The police suggested getting a restraining order but warned Dennison this sometimes makes the subject of the order even angrier.

The owner is a resident of El Cajon where he has a used car lot. A quote from one email to Dennison stated, “Who ever call [sic] the city is very stupid and has the devil in him because the devil only likes chaos and ugliness and I have done nothing illegal!!” The long email is full of such language.

This is clearly a raider from outside the community who only sees Point Loma as a way to make money and does not care about the community or the law.  The city says it is looking into this but construction continues unabated.

In other news:

The mayor’s representative Kohta Kaiser said the city is planning to pave 54 miles in the next two years. This will include Bacon Street from West Point Loma to Cape May and West Point Loma from Nimitz to Adrian Street. No timeline for these streets was given. It was not explained if the 54 miles includes slurry sealing the streets as “paving,” a deception that the previous administration used repeatedly.

Sealing is not “paving,” it is a road maintenance process intended to extend the life of good pavement for a little while. Good pavement, not torn up pavement. And 54 miles is a very modest goal.

When asked about the pier, Kaiser said the emergency repairs were done – he thought – and the pier should be open – he thought. Considering that he is part of the District 2 pier meeting group, it was odd that he seemed unsure of the current status.  He said the next push was to design the new pier.

The board began plans for the March election by setting up an election subcommittee. Elections are held by all planning boards in March of every year when a portion of the board’s seats are up for grabs.  Details are coming.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie January 11, 2022 at 9:55 am

I’m curious why Gomez is hitching her star to this wagon; she’s running for the 80th Assembly District in the meantime. Why? It’s not like this group is obviously the “best” one.


Geoff Page January 11, 2022 at 12:57 pm

I was curious too after seeing her at the Midway meeting some months ago. I tried to email her using the email she left and it didn’t work. I called the number she gave and I eventually got an email from Laura Fink, of the Bob Filner scandal, who gave me a political answer. I guess the answer really was, they wanted a prominent San Diegan to front their group. Gomez does not appear to have development credentials, but on her website she says a lifelong advocate for the underserved. I guess if you want to enhance your affordable development credentials, it helps to have someone out front like Gomez.


Tyler January 11, 2022 at 10:03 am

Re: Paving – I spoke to Zapf’s aid back in 2018 about Bacon St and was assured that it would be re-paved (not sealed) in the Fall of 2018. Here we are in 2022 and they’re saying they’ll do it but no date even given. Color me skeptical….


kh January 11, 2022 at 3:48 pm

The motion included “require DIF fees for non-deed-restricted units”


Geoff Page January 11, 2022 at 4:11 pm

I took the wording of the motion off the video as Andrea read it. Can you put the full motion in a comment here as you would have the most accurate wording I’m sure. Thanks.


kh January 12, 2022 at 8:41 pm

OBPB recommends preserving set backs to extent legally possible, require DIF fees on all non-restricted units and consider the retention of mature trees to the extent possible.


Geoff Page January 12, 2022 at 8:48 pm

Thanks, Kevin. The part about the DIF fees was garbled on the video by some interference.


Tor Ueland January 11, 2022 at 6:28 pm

Re: Rogue Project on Santa Cruz St

I am curious why the OB Rag did not publicize the name of the offending owner doing this illegal construction? Was this an oversight? Or the result of further intimidation by this low life, law breaking property owner?


Denizen January 12, 2022 at 7:39 am

Second that!


Geoff Page January 12, 2022 at 11:26 am

If this owner had multiple bad projects in OB, we would have. This is just one project and the information comes from several sources. Using the owner’s name would not have accomplished anything because he is not a professional developer or from Point Loma. It could lead to difficulties for The Rag that are unnecessary. No, this was not the result of any intimidation, you can be sure of that. And, that may still occur as this unfolds.


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