Report on the 2nd Workshop for the Ocean Beach Pier Renewal Project

by on June 14, 2023 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

By Geoff Page

On Saturday, June 10, the public had a second chance to participate in the design process for the pier that will one day replace the aging OB Pier.  The second in a series of planned workshops was held at the Liberty Station Conference Center. There was a good-sized crowd at the first gathering and attendance at this second workshop was clearly higher.

The presenters asked those who had attended the first workshop in April to raise their hands. It was good to see a lot of hands go up signifying an on-going interest. It was equally encouraging to see how many people did not raise a hand, indicating a clear increase in public interest about the project.

The first workshop was designed for simply listening to what the public thought about the pier. The most important result of that was affirmation that the public wants a new pier. A total of 445 comment cards were tallied and the number of people opposed to a new pier was in the single digits, 9 votes to 436.

The next most important result of the first workshop was a large collection of ideas about what a new pier should or could have and what the pier means to the public. A desire for quality restaurants was the most frequently occurring comment. The comments were gathered into 32 categories on a chart showing the number of comments for each idea provided in person or online.

The information from the first workshop and on-going out reach resulted in the formation of what are called the “guiding principles” for the future design:

  • Honor the history of the pier but look to the future
  • Respect the environment
  • Ensure safe and equitable access for all
  • Reflect the community of Ocean Beach
  • Maximize value
  • Enhance diversify the pier and ocean experience

The historic nature of the pier will be decided June 22 when the item comes before the San Diego Historical Resources Board. The meeting will be held at 1:00 p.m. and can be attended in person or by Zoom meeting. Here is the staff recommendation for Item-8 on the agenda:


Designate the Ocean Beach Pier located at the western terminus of Niagara Avenue west of Ocean Front Way as a historical resource under HRB Criterion A with a period of significance of 1966-1977 and under HRB Criterion C with a period of significance of 1966-1968. The designation includes the restaurant structure and lifeguard watch tower.

It is difficult to know if this designation will help or constrain the project. The lifeguard watch tower referred to is the small wooden structure at the far end of the pier that has only been used as a perch for seabirds for many, many years. The restaurant is the pier Café and it is a simple structure, not significant to look at.

If that old wooden lifeguard structure and the café building are designated historic, what will that do to the pier design, if anything? Would they have to be preserved and built into the new pier? Time will tell.

This second workshop was designed to begin to narrow down the ideas or desires people had for the pier. Work stations were set up with representative pictures of suggestions and the public was asked to prioritize them by selecting the top choices. The stations were for:

  • Art and interpretive/educational elements
  • Amenities
  • Opportunities for retail and dining
  • Strolling experiences
  • Gathering opportunities
  • How the pier should meet the land
  • How to enhance the ocean experience

The results of these choices by station and category will be gathered and provided later by the design team.

The firm of Cook & Schmid is managing the outreach effort. Jon Schmid described the efforts that they have made to date and it appears extensive. Taking the approach that the pier is a regional asset used by people all over San Diego, Cook & Schmid has sought input all over the county as illustrated by the following map.

Proponents for the new pier have made it clear that the pier replacement project needs to be seen as something for the entire region, not as just a pier for Ocean Beach. Cook & Schmid took that to heart and have attempted to reach far and wide for input. The following graphic breaks down the effort by zip code.

Workshop #2 was a part of the outreach effort and it provided plenty of opportunity for those who attended to make comments and suggestions and to ask questions of the design team. The various work stations, or “listening stations” as they were titled, provided different exercises of a sort for the public.

For example, one exercise was to rank the guiding principles in order from the most important to the least. There was also a “dot exercise” where people could select preferred examples from a collection of representative images of things like surfing, fishing, lifeguard jumping, an underwater feature, and others.

There were 57 representative images on postcards that people could use to design the pier they preferred.

Pix #6 and #7

All of the results from this workshop will be gathered and processed. The next workshop will be in October and the design options will be further refined based on what was learned from this event.

The PowerPoint presentation is full of information and will be posted to the project website It will be available at the following link for one week,



{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie June 14, 2023 at 2:52 pm

For more input and submission of ideas etc. the city should have a survey online that people can complete something similar to

with questions directed to various aspects of the pier. Not everyone has the time or desire to attend meetings.


Nicole June 14, 2023 at 9:34 pm

Debbie – the City does have the full questionnaire up on their website at There is also an online comment card you can fill out with additional input.


Geoff Page June 15, 2023 at 11:19 am

The website provided in the story goes to this link, if this works better. As Nicole said, you can comment on-line.


Debbie June 15, 2023 at 4:26 pm


For others……


If you have any questions or comments about the Ocean Beach Pier Renewal project, email


Debbie June 15, 2023 at 4:32 pm

This is interesting, Item #5 Gathering lists “Intimate Areas!” Come visit the pier and get intimate!


Jes June 22, 2023 at 7:32 pm

Do not spend money again on pier. Most can’t use it due to parking and what is there to do on it? Food lousy. No boats etc. ugly eyesore from other areas.
It’s called using the money where it is needed more in this pathetic city. Pave the streets, That would benefit many more taxpayers.


Geoff Page June 23, 2023 at 10:19 am

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, Jes. But, it sounds to me like you don’t have much experience with the pier.


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