Original San Diego Community Planning Board in Ocean Beach Struggling Because of City’s Axe and Lack of Interest Locally

by on April 7, 2023 · 7 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

Writing this account of the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s March 2023 elections as certified by the Board Wednesday, April 5th, feels like writing an obituary, for several reasons. The news just is not good for the original San Diego community planning board.

What is happening may well be the result of the Community Planning Group “reforms” the city adopted last September to put an end to community input on land use.

In the entire community of Ocean Beach, only 23 people voted in the election. The board made it as convenient to vote as possible, either on-line or by paper ballot. Of the total number of voters, 16 voted on-line and seven voted by paper ballot. This lack of interest is disheartening in the extreme.

Adding to the lack of interest was also a lack of attention by many who did vote. There were a number of write-ins, some for candidates not even running.

But, there is more. The OBPB is supposed to be composed of 16 members. Here is how the board website describes its membership:

The Ocean Beach Planning Board consists of 16 elected members: two (2) representatives from each district plus two (2) at-large representatives. Terms are two (2) years, with the two (2) seats in each district being staggered so one (1) seat becomes available every other year. (Letters next to each district number indicate whether that seat is elected in “E”ven or “O”dd years.) Each member may serve up to four (4), two (2) year terms for a total of eight (8) years.

Here is the 2023 OB Planning Board:

District 1E: Tracy Dezenzo
District 2E: Stephanie Villamizar
District 3E: Virginia Wilson
District 4O: Chris Peregoy
District 5E: Numan Stotz
District 6E: Kevin Hastings
District 7E: Nicole Ueno
At LargeE: Andrea Schlageter

Notice that there are only eight people listed. A ninth person, Susan Booth, was added by appointment the night of the April 5 meeting to represent District 3.

That leaves the board with seven unfilled seats. Sadly, not only was there a lack of interest on the voting community, there was also a lack of interest in running for a board seat.

Vacant seats can be filled at any time during the year by board appointment. Anyone interested is encouraged to contact the board and look for information here.

As previously stated, the CPG changes may have been responsible for this overall lack of interest in the board. A stark example of the major change can be seen in a Notice of Future Decision from the Development Services Department.

The Notice is for a project at 2077 Cable Street, an address that has been the focus of a code enforcement action for the past two years. The property owner had set up three construction trailers on the property and turned them into rentals. All of it was illegal.

The project proposed for the site now is described as follows:

A new 3-story, 4,631 square foot building that includes a dwelling unit, laundry, and 2-car garage on the first level, and (2) 2-story accessory dwelling units on the second and third floors with a roof deck…

The Future Decision is “to approve, conditionally approve, modify or deny an application for a Coastal Development Permit.” Traditionally, projects that required a coastal permit had to come before the community planning board. This was for projects requiring “discretionary” approval. Ministerial approvals did not require coming before the planning board, the approvals are done by Development Services staff only.

2077 Cable is being ministerially approved. The Notice states “The decision by City staff will be made without a public hearing.” The bold font for the word “without” is how it was written on the Notice. The most telling language in the Notice came directly from wording in the new CPG ordinance:

Please note that Community Planning Groups provide citizens with an opportunity for involvement in advising the City on land use matters. Community Planning Group considerations are a recommended, but not required, part of the project review process. (My emphasis.)

Going before the planning group used to be a requirement, it no longer is. The OBPB has not seen this project. If there is no requirement for a developer to go before a planning group, why would one bother? Consider the history of the property, it is not surprising it is not coming to the OBPB.

So, it is kind of a triple whammy. No public interest in the election. No public interest in running for a seat. And being cut out of the project review process that is, or was, the heart of the community planning group process.

It will be much more difficult for the community to know what projects are planned or to know how to comment on a project. Now, instead of a unified voice, people who approve of, or do not approve of, a project will have to go it alone. A unified voice is much more powerful than the voices of a few.

In other news…

The new OBPB officers are:

  • Chair: Andrea Schlageter
  • Vice Chair: Kevin Hastings
  • Treasure: Tracy Dezenzo
  • Secretary: Chris Peregoy

Project Review Subcommittee:

  • Kevin Hastings (Chair)
  • Chris Chalupsky
  • Stephanie Villamizar
  • Chris Peregoy
  • Susan Booth

Transportation Subcommittee:

  • Tracy Dezenzo (Chair)
  • Susan Booth
  • Andrea Schlageter

Parks Subcommittee:

  • Nicole Ueno (Chair)
  • Tracy Dezenzo
  • Stephanie Villamizar

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie April 7, 2023 at 11:33 am

I have to add to Geoff’s excellent account that there was a last-minute change to the voting venue as the Rec Center – historically the voting site – was closed that Wed night for some reason and voting had to take place at the OB Business Ctr on Newport Ave. The community didn’t hear about the change until the day before the election, I believe.


Geoff Page April 7, 2023 at 3:22 pm

The OBPB opened on-line voting on February 22 through March 1, giving people lots of time to vote. March 1 was the night of the election. Here is what the OB website stated:

* Online: obtc.link/2023obpb (closes March 1 at midnight)
* In Person or Drop Off: March 1, 2023 between 8-10am or 4-8pm at the * OB Recreation Center located at 4726 Santa Monica Ave.
* Mail: OBPB, 4876 Santa Monica Ave. #133, San Diego, CA 92107 (must
be in the mail by 5pm on March 1st)
*Ballot Box at OBBC: 4967 Newport Ave. Unit 12 (must be in the drop box by 5pm on March 1st)


Mat Wahlstrom April 7, 2023 at 5:55 pm

In the immortal words of Robin Williams, “Well, it’s not the end of the world, but you can sure as sh*t see it from here.”


Leslie April 7, 2023 at 10:41 pm

Thank you, “progressive” City Councilman Joe LaCava and your fellow developer advocates on the Council, for removing the community from the community planning process.


nostalgic April 8, 2023 at 9:14 am

The OB Planning Board provides an enormous service to this community and it is appreciated. Unlike other communities, developers do not dominate it. This is OB after all! I think people didn’t vote because there was only one person running for each slot, and the requirements for voting. Traditionally, members who have termed out apply to fill the vacant slots. The Planning Board is the only voice that is an official community voice. The vote does not show that residents do care, and how difficult it is to even know WHAT is going on, in addition to caring what SHOULD be built (that pesky Municipal Code again). Thank you to the OB Planning Board.


korla eaquinta April 8, 2023 at 11:06 am

The PCPB had only 6 candidates this election with 5 open seats. The most votes received by any candidate was 83. The board usually has 14 or 15 running for board seats and even during the pandemic the board had hundreds of votes counted. RIP community involvement!


Geoff Page April 10, 2023 at 11:25 am

I need to add a name to the list of 2023 Board members that was left off. That would be:

At Large O: Chris Chalupsky

So instead of seven vacancies, the board has six.


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