‘Re-Build’ of Smog Station at West Pt Loma and Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach

by on August 31, 2022 · 10 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

For those curious about the twisted metal pieces standing up on the southwest corner of West Point Loma and Sunset Cliffs, amidst various concrete and metal debris, the Rag had a look. This project will probably not offend anyone because it is a rebuild of the same type of business.

The location was largely a smog station for many years. It was always a bit rundown in appearance, although the service was always very good. But, the last time this writer went there to smog a vehicle, their lift was broken. Now, it has all been demolished except for 50% of the existing walls.

This was the first time this writer had seen “the 50% rule” applied to a commercial project. The 50% rule has been around for years. It is a way for property owners to avoid having to obtain a coastal permit in the OB area and it allows them to avoid any public review.

This is routinely applied to houses where an older, small home is demolished but some existing exterior framing is left standing. That framing has to be built into the new house framing to qualify for the exemption. A very familiar sight is a house several times the size of the original being built around some old framing in the exterior walls.

It is possible that the business might have needed a coastal permit if it demolished the entire site. That probably would have been an onerous requirement for what is basically a rebuild of the same business.

The project is named “Digital Valvoline Rebuild.” Here is the description from the permit.

Complete remodel of of existing 1,260 s.f. oil change station. demo existing roofing system and canopy. 50 % min. of existing exterior walls as well as their footings, and some adjacent concrete slab will remain and will be structurally reinforced to allow connection with new construction/addition. new construction will consist of the addition of new basement, new roof, int walls, restrooms & accessiblility [sic].

It appears the one major change will be the addition of a basement. It does not appear that the existing building had a basement. It is possible the basement will be used as an oil pit that cars drive over and technicians work on cars from below.

The demolition has been done but nothing has been happening on-site for some time. According to the city’s permit site, most of the permitting all took place in 2021.

It appears there may have been a change in ownership. Two permit entries have not been signed of yet. One is the Land Development – “Eng Building Review,” and the other is the Building Development Review – “Planning.”

The contractor sign on the construction fence says Zigman-Shields and there is a small, temporary construction trailer on-site.

The owner is listed as Snell Properties LLC. The business address is a residence on Santa Barbara Street in Point Loma.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie August 31, 2022 at 10:48 am

It also appears the building the second-hand sports shop was in is gone.


Geoff Page August 31, 2022 at 11:07 am

The Second Chance Sports shop is still there. The pictures may not be clear. That building is separate from this project. There is a stretch of concrete between the two buildings, they may be separate properties.


Gregg g Sullivan August 31, 2022 at 1:50 pm

Sad. I was hoping for something unique. A smog shop is a great “gateway” to OB


Geoff Page August 31, 2022 at 1:54 pm

I agree, this would be a great spot for something else.


kh August 31, 2022 at 3:10 pm

Would you rather have another Acai bowl shop or trendy tourist restaurant?

A smog shop actually seems like a unique investment these days in OB. A regular commercial establishment serving regular people.


Geoff Page August 31, 2022 at 3:17 pm

Well, there are three smog stations within blocks of this site already. And, I don’t know if it will be a smog station or an oil change facility. What else to put there? Maybe a nice sandwich shop or some kind of eatery.


Jon Carr August 31, 2022 at 2:36 pm

This should have been a bowling alley! Boycott digital Valvoline!


kh August 31, 2022 at 3:23 pm

The wall remnants should be preserved in place as a monument to the asinine policy interpreration that is our 50% Coastal Development Permit exemption.


Geoff Page August 31, 2022 at 4:39 pm

That would be a good use of the site, I agree.


Will August 31, 2022 at 10:51 pm

These types of facilities are not exactly the business of tomorrow. It’s probably already a micro superfund site hence the similar use. Maybe the airport pollution wants competition with cars going 35 mph up imaginary hills? Love to see it as some sort of trolley hub in a more ambitious world- walls be damned.


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