Report on the City’s First Workshop on the Ocean Beach Pier

by on April 3, 2023 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

The OB Pier Renewal Community Workshop, held Saturday, April 1 at the Liberty Station Conference Center, 2600 Laning Road, drew a good-sized crowd of people interested in the future pier. Apparently, the advertising outreach was well done.

The conference center is a beauty with a high ceiling and lots of wooden beams. It is carpeted, which helps with the acoustics.  It is capable of holding 450 people. There is a 300+ square foot stage and all the state of the art presentation equipment needed. And there were comfortable, padded chairs for the audience. All in all, an excellent venue.

Around the perimeter of the room a series of easels and tables were set up for the workshop portion of the event. There was a model mock up, to scale, of the pier and downtown OB.

The event was very well setup. The schedule, however, was another matter. The event was advertised as a presentation from 12:00 to 2:00 followed by workshops from 2:00 to 4:00. Right at noon, the mayor decided to have some kind of private press conference in one corner; his aide came around telling the various camera operators who rushed over set up away from the crowd.

The presentation did not start until 12:21. The mayor’s private press conference lasted almost 20 minutes and then Council member Campbell held a short, private press conference too. A review of the local news that evening did not find any footage from these interviews. What that was all about, remains a mystery.

This was even more curious because the presentation opened with remarks by Gloria followed by Campbell anyway. This was an extremely inconsiderate way to treat a crowd of people who showed up on time to see a presentation. The politicians did not even have the courtesy to apologize or share any information about the delaying interviews.

Then, the presentation ended after 40 minutes, at 1:00 instead of 2:00. Someone needs to schedule things a little better next time.

The presentation began with an introduction of the community Task Force Members:

  • Corey Bruins – President, O. B. Town Council
  • Denise (Denny) Knox – Exec. Director, O. B. Mainstreet Assoc.
  • Andrea Schlageter – Chair, O. B. Planning Board
  • Stuart (Stu) Seymour C.E. – Community Member
  • Ralph Teyssier, S.E. – Community Member
  • Mark Winkie – Community Member
  • Nicole Ueno – O. B. Community Corp. / Planning Board

And the city members of the Task Force:

  • James Nagelvoort, P.E. – Director and City Engineer – Strategic Capital Projects
  • Elizabeth Schroth-Nichols, P.E. – Deputy City Engineer
  • Delfa Genova, P.E. – Assoc. Civil Engineer & Project Manager
  • Kohta Zaiser – Deputy Director of Community Engagement
  • Manuel Reyes – Council Representative- District 2

This was followed by introducing the design team: Moffatt & Nichol – Engineering firm heading the design efforts with subconsultants:

  • CIVITAS – Landscape Architecture & Urban Design
  • Roesling Nakamura Terado – Architects
  • Cook + Schmid – Community Engagement

A website was offered at, which is where all information about the effort will be gathered. Oddly though, the link goes to this link . This kind of dashed hopes that the website would be privately managed instead if being managed by the city.

The project timeline was shown next.

After this, the pier’s history was briefly reviewed from 1966, when it was constructed, to the present day. The existing condition of the pier was reviewed, which has been covered extensively here in The Rag and in local media.

The Design Process was explained starting in April 2023 and ending in August 2024. The process was described as a series of public events titled:

  • Understanding – April 2023
  • Guiding Principles – June 2023
  • Design Options – August 2023
  • Preferred Concept – March 2024
  • Design Update – August 2024

The end result will be a partially designed concept of what the pier will look like. This will then be handed off of a design-build firm that will complete the design and construct the new pier.

The presentation continued with information about the pier being a regional destination, its central proximity to many of San Diego’s landmarks, the environment surrounding the pier, and land-use in OB, among other things. A lot of the information was about the OB area, as it relates to the pier, and how the pier affects OB.

As a technical matter, there was a discussion of sea level and wave action, current and future, that the new design will need to account for. The existing pier was designed based on summer surf conditions, which explains the major flaws that have brought about its demise.

The second part of the meeting involved the work stations. The organizers offered several ways attendees could provide input. There was something called a “thought bubble” exercise. It involved people writing their greatest pier memory on adhesive bubbles that were attached to displays. A video booth was also set up for people to share what the pier meant to them, some of which might be used in future workshops.

There was another exercise for those attending. It was called a “Voting Exercise” designed to see what people think is missing from the pier. There were 22 pre-selected suggestions. These included things like “Shaded/Protected Areas,” “Science Partnerships,” and “Outdoor Classroom,” or “Public Art.”

Attendees were able to talk to, and ask questions of, to various members of the design team that included engineers, architects, others with various expertise. The results of all this will be published at some point and shared so everyone can see the ideas people came up with.

Except for the mayor messing up the schedule, the event organizers did a very good job. The outreach effort looks to be successful so far. Keeping people engaged and interested will be the challenge going forward.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie April 3, 2023 at 1:48 pm

Thanks for info. Date probably needs to be amended?

Design Options – August 2020


Geoff Page April 3, 2023 at 4:05 pm

Yes, thanks for catching that, it should be Design Options – August 2023.


Geoff Page April 7, 2023 at 3:32 pm

Amazing how differently the Peninsula Beacon covers these stories. There is a front page piece with a picture of the mayor and staff walking side by side with the pier blurred behind them. The story was about the workshop but there is no picture of the event at all.


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