Most of the money is designed to improve housing, the living environment and economic opportunities for lower- and moderate-income people. The San Diego City Council is set to finalize who gets the money, and the Ocean Beach Planning Board wants to express its opinion. The board has decided to form an ad hoc committee toward that end, but a meeting has not yet been scheduled. Updates may be available at www.oceanbeach-pb.com.
At issue is a document the city calls the annual action plan (AAP). It's required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and shows how the city will allocate, among other things, more than $16 million in community-development block grants (CDBG) to qualifying municipal and nonprofit groups.
In an act that is partly oversight and partly a search for buried treasure, Ocean Beach planners will likely schedule a meeting for an upcoming Wednesday to delve into the minutia and bureaucratic morass of the 156-page document and any number of supporting documents. It's an ambitious step not attempted so far by any other community planning groups in the city, according to Vickie White of the city's Planning and Community Investment Department, who distributed copies of the report to Ocean Beach planners during an OBPB meeting April 6.
Of the 113 projects in the mix, none involve direct spending in Ocean Beach. The nearest project appears to be in the Sports Arena area – the winter homeless shelter partly funded by a CDBG of $511,000 to the San Diego Housing Commission. But many of the qualifying nonprofit agencies — Boys & Girls Club, Father Joe's Villages, San Diego Food Bank and many others — are well known.
“As the committee slogs through those things, hopefully we can find things we support and highlight to our council representative,” said Landry Watson, vice chairman of the OB planners, who is spearheading the effort.
So far, the city has allocated $16.2 million in community development block grants: $12.2 million from the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department, a $3.3 million loan repayment from the San Diego Redevelopment Agency and the rest in program income. Several million more could be available if an anticipated 25 percent budget cut from HUD does not materialize, White said.
Though the block grant component attracts most of the attention, the plan also includes funds for three other HUD programs. The comment period ends May 5.
Copies of the draft AAP are available at local libraries and online at www.sandiego.gov/cdbg/general.
In other news relating to the Ocean Beach Planning Board:
• There's been quite a buzz at City Hall with the newly passed regulations having to do with medical marijuana dispensaries. “We've been receiving a lot of calls from people saying, 'Hey, I'm out of compliance. What do I need to do to get in compliance and where can I move to?'” said Michael Patton, representative for District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer. An implementation plan is being developed, he said.
• No need for a concession speech for Scott Therkalson. Though he allowed his two-year planning board term as District 4 representative to expire, he gained the previously vacant District 3 position through board appointment. There's still a vacancy for District 7. Eligibility and appointment rules can be found at oceanbeachpb.com/ 2011_OBPB_-Election.html.
• The slate of officers won't change much this year. Re-elected for one-year terms were Chairman Giovanni Ingolia, Vice Chairman Landry Watson and Treasurer Jane Gawronski. The incumbent secretary, Seth Connolly, declined re-nomination, citing family demands. He has been replaced by Brittany Taylor.
• Having lost at the San Diego City Council, the OB Planning Board is appealing to the next level: the California Coastal Commission. At issue is a planned demolition of a one-story building at 5164 W. Point Loma Ave. and replacement with a three-story building. Gawronski said she'll travel all the way to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chambers in Santa Rosa when the appeal is heard the second week of May.