Planners hear update on Point Loma Village revamp, planned international language school
by DAVE SCHWAB
Aug 13, 2014 | 2184 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) gave a unanimous thumbs-up recently to Point Loma Village, a revamped mixed-use condo project at the corner of Rosecrans and Byron streets.

The advisory group also heard plans to turn the former Cabrillo Hospital into an international language school.

The PCPB makes land-use recommendations to the city community planning area that encompasses seven highly urbanized square miles. The area includes the neighborhoods of Ocean Beach Highlands, Point Loma Highlands, Loma Alta, Loma Palisades, Loma Portal, Fleetridge, Roseville, Sunset Cliffs, La Playa and NTC Liberty Station.

Architect Toni Cutri of Martinez + Cutri Corp. informed planners and residents on the Point Loma Village project. He said the project plan, which calls for demolishing three existing rundown buildings and replacing them with a three-story, mixed-use development, now would entail 16 condominium units — one less than originally planned.

“We had questions last month about how parking was calculated, so the item was continued to this meeting,” said PCPB chairwoman Julia Quinn, noting the project was returned to the group’s Project Review Committee for further scrutiny and dialogue with developers.

Noting they “went back to the drawing board,” developers said they’ve made significant changes to the project by “reducing the square footage” of the proposed commercial space, as well as adding parking.

Developers said their project, as designed, is now less dense and also has sustainable features like bike racks and an electric-car recharging station.

Cutri said it was uncertain what business would go in the project’s commercial space but said it could be a restaurant. But if it were a restaurant, Cutri said, “It would be light-duty food. We don’t have accommodations for a [full-service] restaurant.”

Asked whether a restaurant would have a sidewalk café, Cutri said, “It doesn’t make any sense to speculate.”

Planner David Dick complimented the plans for Point Loma Village, saying, “It’s really an attractive project.” He pointed out the community “is going to become denser,” adding planners need to devise ways to accommodate higher density.

“That should be placed big on our agenda,” he said.

Colleague Jarvis Ross warned about water availability for higher-density projects.

“More people are moving here. Are they going to bring their own water?” Ross asked.

Shawna Sullivan gave an informational presentation on plans by EF Education First, a Swedish-based international-language school which has an existing facility in northern San Diego. EF is seeking to relocate to the long-vacant Cabrillo Hospital site in Point Loma.

“We’ve been in conversations for 3½ years to redevelop Cabrillo Hospital as an international language school,” said Sullivan, noting EF has 500 offices worldwide with schools offering 52 academic degrees.

Sullivan said EF students from abroad typically come to places like San Diego for “two weeks to a year to learn English and to immerse themselves in U.S. culture.”

Noting EF is a “blend of learning and a multi-disciplinary language experience,” Sullivan said, “We’re excited about final negotiations with the seller and we’ve got our fingers crossed that there will be an agreement soon.”

Sullivan said the project would have little or no impact on traffic in the area, pointing out “90 percent of our students, walk, ride bikes or take public transportation.”

Some students would be housed in dormitories at the Cabrillo language school and others would be find accommodations with host families in the area.

IN OTHER ACTION

• The PCPB board noted that an appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision to approve permitting for the Peeling project, the proposed subdividing of a one-acre site of three existing parcels and two existing homes into five new lots with construction of three new single-family homes at 3340 and 3328 Harbor View Drive, was upheld by an 8-1 City Council vote July 14, leading to denial of the project. Neighbors had protested that the site lacks proper access and is located on an eroding steep slope presenting a danger to properties down below.
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