Peninsula Planning Board Approves ‘Nimitz Crossing’ Conversion of Retail to Residential

July 29, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

Conversion of retail space to residential space was the topic with the most far-reaching consequences for the community at the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s July 22nd regular monthly meeting.

Nimitz Crossing

The new development, Nimitz Crossing, is just east of Nimitz on Voltaire. This project would be the first one on the peninsula to take advantage of new rules allowing this kind of conversion.

The “mixed-use” type of project has been the favorite development fad for the past 15 to 20 years and it has proven to be a disaster. There are three of these projects within a quarter mile of each other on Voltaire and the retail parts of the mixed-use buildings have never been filled. The Famosa project on the corner of Catalina and Voltaire briefly had a coffee shop in their space but it has been vacant for years since that closed.

Because the mixed-use model did not work for Nimitz Crossing, the owners want permission to convert the unused retail to a series of studio apartments.

The crux of the matter is this.

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Arrest Made in Violent Assault in Ocean Beach Over Firepit

July 29, 2021 by Staff

San Diego police have confirmed a man has been arrested in connection with a violent attack in Ocean Beach on June 15 over a firepit. 34-year-old Gabriel Ramos was arrested on June 24 for a violent assault on Kobe La.

Kobe La and his girlfriend Kristina Castillo were at the beach for a fun time with friends, but it turned ugly.

In the evening, a man approached them and claimed that they stole his spot on the beach.

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Neighbors Complaining About ‘Rogue’ Bicycle Riders in Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

July 20, 2021 by Staff

Neighbors near the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park and other are complaining they are seeing more and more rogue bikers all over the park. The bicyclists are destroying the newly re-vegetated areas, damaging the trails they are not allowed on. They are also a serious safety hazard to the visitors to the park.

As one neighbor told the OB Rag:

The City recently spent millions of dollars on the park and have failed to maintain it or supervise activity in the park. The illegal riders are there every morning and evening and often all day.

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Detailed Drawings for Proposed Deck at Inn at Sunset Cliffs

July 16, 2021 by Staff

There was so much interest in Geoff Page’s report on the OB Planning Board’s review of the proposed deck at the Inn at Sunset Cliffs, that we decided to post its detailed drawings. The images were presented during the OBPB meeting. (More details about the images and drawings may be forthcoming …)

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COVID Cases On the Rise in San Diego County – What the Hell?

July 15, 2021 by Staff


In the U.S., with one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, newly confirmed infections per day have doubled over the past two weeks to an average of about 24,000, though deaths are still on a downward trajectory at around 260 a day.

As COVID-19 cases slowly rise in San Diego County – including an increase in Delta variant cases – new research is looking into why San Diegans still are not getting vaccinated.

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Deck Expansion at Inn at Sunset Cliffs Nixed by OB Planning Board

July 13, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The Inn At Sunset Cliffs dominated the discussion during the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s regular monthly meeting, Wednesday, July 7. A cycling issue was listed on the consent agenda but it was pulled by the board’s vice chair, Kevin Hastings. It was placed at the end of the agenda but the meeting went on for three hours and the board did not get to it. It will be discussed at the next meeting.

Ocean Front Project Approved Without Discussion

There was a second consent agenda item that was passed:

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26 City Libraries Have Reopened – But Not Ocean Beach

July 6, 2021 by Staff

According to the San Diego Public Library, beginning Tuesday, July 6, 26 city libraries will offer in-person services. But the Ocean Beach branch library is not among them. Why not?

The Ocean Beach Library is open only for telephone assistance.

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Outdoor Restaurant Spaces Could Become Permanent, According to San Diego Plan

June 29, 2021 by Staff

Outdoor restaurant spaces have become common to many Ocean Beach, Little Italy and other San Diego streets as eateries and other businesses used them to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Now the outdoor eating areas could become permanent according to a plan the city of San Diego is currently working. Some businesses are rejoicing while others see the host of new restrictions and regulations as making things that much more complicated for business owners.

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Cannabis Workers in Mission Valley Join Union

June 23, 2021 by Staff

Enough workers at the flagship Mission Valley location of cannabis retailer March and Ash signed authorization cards that now they are all part of a union. They joined the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135 which has been organizing cannabis workers all over Southern California lately.

Brent E. Beltrán, Communications Director for Local 135, sent out the following statement:

SAN DIEGO – On the heels of last month’s announcement that employees at cannabis retailer March and Ash in Vista, City Heights, and Imperial chose to join United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135 and voted on their first ever union contract, enough workers at the flagship Mission Valley location signed authorization cards to bring themselves into the bargaining unit.

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Peninsula Planners Take on Navy’s Redevelopment Plans, Riverwalk SD, and a ‘Bicycle Boulevard’

June 22, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The Navy’s plans for the old SPAWAR site, a developer’s plan to add 4,300 residential units and a 93-acre park in Mission Valley, and a “Bicycle Boulevard” were the highlights of the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s regular monthly meeting, Thursday, July 17.

The Navy

The Navy has been shopping its Environmental Impact Statement for the plans to redevelop the old SPAWAR site- renamed NAVWAR – for weeks. The first public presentation was at the Midway-Pacific Community Planning Group’s meeting in May and it was described in detail in The OB Rag’s May 24 account of that meeting.

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Inn at Sunset Cliffs on Review Panel’s Agenda – Wed., June 16

June 16, 2021 by Staff

On the agenda tonight, Wednesday, June 16, at the meeting of the Project Review Committee is a follow-up review of proposed changes to the Inn at Sunset Cliffs located at 1370 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Plus there is a review of a permit for the remodel and addition at 1615 Ocean Front Street.

The meeting begins at 6 pm and will be held electronically. The Project Review Committee is a sub-committee of the OB Planning Board.

See inside for the official agenda:

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Where’s (Waldo) Robert Vacchi? Found!

June 9, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The City of San Diego’s former Deputy Chief Operating Officer Robert Vacchi, also the former head of the city’s Development Services Department, walked away from his high-profile job on July 2, 2020, and no one would say why. In over a year, no one had obtained any more information about his departure or where he went. Vacchi has finally been spotted and where he landed adds to the mystery.

To refresh everyone’s memory, Vacchi’s appointment to head the DSD coincided with a flood of 30-foot height violations because of how Vacchi interpreted the law.

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OB Planners Review Parks, Sick Torrey Pines and ‘Granny Flats’

June 7, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

Parks and sick Torrey pine trees were highlights of the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s regular monthly meeting, Wednesday, June 2. During the city’s presentation about the Torreys, something was learned about the Long Branch Torrey everyone fought to save a few years ago. It was learned that fight was not even necessary.

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Report From OB Town Council’s Forum on the Ocean Beach Pier

June 1, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The Ocean Beach Town Council held a meeting Wednesday, May 26 to talk about a single issue, the OB Fishing Pier. There was an informative presentation and a long public discussion. One surprise for many others was a public opinion that one option to dealing with the pier problem would be to remove it. Period.

The removal opinion was not just one person, although this was a small minority. But, this is why public forums are so important. Most folks were looking at the three proposals in the 2019 engineering report on the pier that The OB Rag revealed to the public for the first time. The three were: temporary repairs, a major rehabilitation, or remove and replace.

No one had considered just “remove,” and those who were of that opinion were looking at money spent on the pier,

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OB Planners: Projects to Review, Dying Torrey Pines, Park Improvements, Volley Ball Courts Dedication? – Wed., June 2

June 1, 2021 by Staff

The Ocean Beach Planning Board has a full agenda for its Wednesday, June 2 meeting.

It has 2 projects to review: ‘granny flat’ proposed at 4742 Niagara (it’s on the consent agenda and somehow includes 4743 Niagara as well, even though on other side of street – is that a typo?); and a granny flat conversion and 2 new units at 4636 Del Monte.

Plus the Board will hear an update about the dying Torrey Pine(s) on Saratoga and a presentation on housing bills currently considered in Sacramento. It will also review the tabled recommendations for OB parks and receive a request to name OB’s volley ball courts (how can a non-permanent volleyball court be named after anyone?)

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Peninsula Planners Table Park Recommendations Until Public Input

May 26, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The subject of Peninsula parks came up twice during the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s regular monthly meeting Thursday, May 20. Two parks were discussed, Collier Park and the Canon Street “pocket” park. There were, however, problems with both.

Collier Park

Collier Park is all that is left of the Collier land grant legacy that is still just open park land. Bill Cleator park is laid out into Little League fields. Collier Park is bordered by Greene and Soto Streets and is adjacent to the Point Loma Native Plant Reserve.

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Ocean Beach Pier to Partially Reopen Friday, May 28

May 26, 2021 by Staff

Mayor Gloria and Councilwoman Campbell are announcing that the Ocean Beach Pier will partially reopen this Friday, May 28. However, pier visitors will only be allowed to go up to the cafe and bait shop. And only emergency vehicles will be able to drive onto the pier “when necessary.”

In a news release, Campbell’s office stated:

City engineers and maintenance crews have made immediate repairs to make a portion of the pier safe for public access while a longer-term strategy is developed for the future of the pier. …

Public access will be allowed up to the bait shop and café and only emergency vehicles will be allowed when necessary. In addition, the pier will need to close during very high tides. …

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SUV Sought in Fatal Hit-and-Run in Ocean Beach Alley

May 26, 2021 by Staff

There is a video of what San Diego Police say is the vehicle involved in a fatal hit-and-run of San Diego resident Frank Thomas Neal, who was found unresponsive in an OB alley late Friday night. Neal passed away at the scene.

Police are seeking help in identifying the suspected hit-and-run driver whose SUV ran over and killed 60-year-old Neal who had fallen earlier and was lying on the pavement in the north alley off Niagara Avenue and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

The involved vehicle is believed to be an early 2000s-model Chevrolet Suburban or GMC Yukon with a sunroof, a raised suspension, shiny silver rims and side molding.

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The Year of George Floyd

May 25, 2021 by Staff

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Midway Planners In ‘Shock’ After Navy’s Presentation of 5 Options for NAVWAR Site

May 24, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The Navy gave its very first public presentation of its potential plans for redeveloping the old SPAWAR site on Pacific Highway to the Midway-Pacific Highway Planning Group, Wednesday, May 19.

The details of the Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, were recently made public and reactions have been intense because of the density and building heights in some of the alternates the Navy’s EIS contains.

The Navy has five possible alternate plans for the site, some of which include buildings 240 feet tall and others with buildings 350 feet tall.

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Police Investigating Suspicious Death of Man Found in Ocean Beach Alley

May 24, 2021 by Staff

San Diego homicide detectives are investigating the suspicious death of a man found in an alley north of Niagara Avenue in Ocean Beach.

Late Friday, May 21, a 60-something year old man was found in the north alley off Niagara Avenue and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard just before 11:30 p.m. When officers arrived, the man was unresponsive, and a citizen was doing CPR. Paramedics took over, but he was pronounced dead soon after. He was pronounced dead at 11:41 p.m.

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OB’s Pat and Susan James Celebrated by SOHO for Preserving Wisteria Cottage and Garden Party Tradition – Thursday, May 27

May 21, 2021 by Staff

Susan and Pat James of Ocean Beach are being celebrated this year by SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organization) for maintaining the tradition of the Wisteria Cottage and Garden Party. It’s SOHO’s 38th annual People In Preservation Awards with an online award presentation. Pat and Susan will be celebrated during the online ceremony on Thursday, May 27, at 4pm, during National Preservation Month.

Here’s SOHO’s description:

On Niagara Avenue in Ocean Beach, you will find a charming turn-of-the-20th-century cottage that plays host each spring to abundant blooms of colorful purple wisteria vines.

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Gloria’s Revised Budget Brings Back San Diego Library Hours But Still Disappoints

May 20, 2021 by Staff

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria revised his budget, released Tuesday, which now keeps libraries open seven days a week. This is a testament to the pushback he received from City Council members and the public about his initial cut-backs in the library budget.

However, to library advocates, Gloria’s numbers are still disappointing. The new budget removed funding for a pilot program to extend morning and evening access in communities that would benefit from this the most.

Patrick Stewart of the San Diego Public Library Foundation made this statement in response:

“We thank the Mayor for restoring the Library’s budget at a time when San Diegans need its essential and free services, programs and resources more than ever, especially in those communities hit harder during the pandemic. We’re happy to see new investments in electronic resources and systemwide programs.

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The City Fiddled While the Ocean Beach Pier Crumbled – A Classic Story of Neglect

May 19, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

While the rest of the news media was doing nothing more than reporting what The OB Rag had already reported on the sad state of the OB Pier, The Rag kept digging. The news stories focused on several things, the major one being that the western end of the pier will be closed to the public indefinitely.

In fact, the engineering firm’s April 23, 2021, recommendation on vehicle traffic at the west end of the pier was almost the same as the recommendation Moffatt & Nichol gave the city five years ago in September 21, 2016. These recommendations were detailed in a memo from the city’s Director of Public Works.

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Navy Says ‘Build 10,000 Units and High-Rise Business Towers’ at NAVWAR Site – Public Comment Period Begins

May 18, 2021 by Staff

On Friday, May 14, the Navy recommended that the NAVWAR site in Old Town be redeveloped with 10,000 high-density residential units and high-rise business towers – and, oh yes, a transit facility.

The Navy’s “preferred alternative” in the draft environmental impact report for the World War II-era bomber plant calls for over 100 buildings, 10,000 residences and 2.5 million square feet of office and retail space. The tallest buildings would be 32 stories high, creating a new skyline in the Midway area over a 30-year development period.

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OB Town Council Wants Residents to Take Survey on Future of the OB Pier

May 17, 2021 by Staff

The Ocean Beach Town Council is asking local residents to take their survey about the future of the OB Pier.

They are gathering information ahead of their town hall meeting on May 26 to discuss the Pier’s future.

In the survey, participants are asked to choose from a list of options, such as “Repair the pier enough to get it at least partially open ASAP. We can deal with long term repairs after the summer,” or “Rehabilitate the pier to get it fully open,” or “Rebuild the pier completely,” or “Other.” Participants can choose more than one option.

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San Diego Police De-Escalation Policy Goes Into Effect

May 14, 2021 by Staff

See story about this incident where a Black, homeless man was taken down for public urination, at today’s San Diego Union-Tribune.

See Nicole Bansal’s video here.

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Mural of Padres’ Fernando Tatis Goes Up in Ocean Beach

May 12, 2021 by Staff

Appletree on Newport Avenue just joined the modern age with a brand new mural of Padres player Fernando Tatis.

Muralists Paul Jimenez and Signe Ditona were the creators of the large image – which is part of a series of murals the Padres commissioned they are painting.

The muralists also did the Tony Gwynn and Joe Musgrove murals earlier this year.

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Ocean Beach Pier Sign Reminds Us that State of California Was Involved in Its Development – Perhaps It Can Help With Repairs or Replacement

May 11, 2021 by Staff

The sign for the Ocean Beach Fishing Pier is right at the entrance on the concrete wall, before you get to the gate in the pier.

Reading the sign makes you realize

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Working Committee for Ocean Beach Pier Being Organized

May 7, 2021 by Staff

The OB Mainstream Association is coordinating the committee’s formation.

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