Peninsula planning board debates height restrictions in Point Loma
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 04/04/15 - 07:30 AM | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
How the 30-foot building height limit is measured and plans by the city to retrofit Voltaire Bridge were among items discussed at Peninsula Community Planning Board’s March 19 monthly meeting.

“Height is measured based on use of the existing grade,” city planner Tony Kempton told the community advisory group. “What is used in Prop. D is the finished grade as a basis of measurement. Height is measured both ways in coastal overlay zones from Interstate 5 freeway to the coast.”

“What we’ve seen is flat lots being graded to create slope,” said PCPB board member Paul Webb.

Alleged misinterpretation of the Prop. D’s 30-foot height limit in coastal areas has been a bone of contention in the Peninsula community, with some local residents insisting that recently constructed projects are actually higher than 30 feet, maintaining developers are using loopholes in the regulations, like altering existing grades onsite, to arrive at height numbers at or below that allowed.

“How is this enforced?” asked PCPB board member Don Sevrens.

“It’s enforced by the review of the (building) plan,” answered Kempton, adding the city planning department “does not review for height determination.”

PCPB planner David Dick suggested the group invite someone from the city’s Development Services Division to come to a future meeting and answer questions about Prop. D’s 30-foot height limit in coastal areas.

Voltaire Bridge

City engineers Al Laeipour and Bryan Olson from the city Department of Public Works discussed ongoing plans to retrofit Voltaire Bridge.

“Design for the rehabilitation project for the Voltaire Bridge constructed in 1959 crossing over Nimitz Boulevard is about 30 percent complete now and is expected to be done this summer,” said Olson.

“You’re not actually demolishing the bridge?” asked group chair Julia Quinn.

“It’s mostly rehabilitation,” replied Olson, adding poor drainage after rainstorms on the bridge is one of the improvements expected from bridge refurbishment.

City engineers also unveiled plans for a guard rail for the bridge used by Caltrans, the state agency responsible for highway, bridge and rail transportation.

Olson noted bike lanes are proposed over the bridge in both directions, which he added, along with the addition of guard rails and other add ons, will “be a great improvement for the area.” He added repairs to the concrete deck of the bridge will include “potholes, creases and cracks."

PCPB board member David Dick warned that, if Voltaire Bridge is not designed properly, that the community could end up with “something that looks sort of monolithic. This is a gateway into the area, and if we use a Caltrans standard barrier along both sides, you lose some of that character when you see it (bridge) from Nimitz Boulevard.”

Planner Jay Shumaker said the city presentation was incomplete adding “we need some alternatives in these details.”

“We’re not building a new bridge, just retrofitting,” replied Quinn.

“They’ve (city) shown us a solid concrete wall and a railing, we want to see details. We want this to be something we can be proud of,” answered Shumaker.

“The design work can come back (for review),” noted Quinn.

“The process is not ended, we still have time to make comments, explore ideas about things like color,” said PCPB board member Nicole Burgess.

Planner David Dick suggested a group member be used as a liaison with the city to allow the PCPG to have more of a say in how the retrofitted Voltaire Bridge will eventually look.

“When this project comes back to us in six months and they (city) present final plans, we (planners) would like the opportunity to have had an active engagement in the process that lead to them,” Dick said.

• Six of nine candidates were elected to the PCPB Board in March. The top vote-getters and their totals were: Julia Quinn, 90; Bruce Coons, 83, Mark Krencik, 80; Jim Hare, 62; Robert Goldyn, 58; and Amanda Behnke, 58. Those candidates falling shy this time were Don Costello, Geoff Page and Eileen Brennan.

Quinn is the current board chair and a retired environmental planner. Coons is an incumbent and executive director of Save Our Heritage Organisation. Architect Krencik is an incumbent and new chair of the project review subcommittee.

Hare is a retired city planner. Goldyn is an architect and active in green building. Behnke is an architect and has served three years on the board of the Ocean Beach Development Corp.
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