Peninsula planning discusses pocket park, billboard issues
Published - 07/24/15 - 02:30 PM | 4357 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In July Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB), after lengthy discussion, tabled a motion to spend more than $800,000 in development impact fees (DIF) for creation of a pocket park at the end of Cañon Street.

A continuance was granted until the group’s next meeting Sept. 17, to allow time to study other alternative uses for the DIF funds.

The group also unanimously backed supporting a motion to hold the Murdock family, owners of the Dolphin Motel and Small Hotel, to honor an allegedly previously made pledge to the community to remove an existing billboard on their property at 1453-55 Rosecrans St.

The billboard, owned by Clear Channel Outdoor on a month-to-month lease with the Murdocks, is one of only two remaining in the community, which used to have as many as a dozen or more. Those billboards have since been removed because they were considered visual blight.

District 2 Council staffer Conrad Wear and city parks planner Robin Shifflet filled PCPB in on recent funding that has come through for both design and construction of the pocket park project.

Wear noted DIF fees are charged to developers for their projects as community compensation for the impacts of new development.

“This money must be spent within five years,” said Wear adding park and recreation facilities are on the list of eligible community projects for DIF funding.

Shifflet explained the way the park development process works, is that once those DIF funds are earmarked, the park project will go to the city’s Public Works Department which will hire a consultant and conduct three public workshops to receive community input on what amenities Point Lomans would like to see in a pocket park.

“It is roughly a two- to three-year timeline for this,” Shifflet said.

Not everyone in the community however is sold on the idea of the necessity — or even the desirability — of creating a pocket park on Cañon Street. One resident speaking from the audience, questioned whether the new park would be used by anyone other than locals living nearby.

Board member Nicole Burgess disagreed, noting she lives near a pocket park, adding it is heavily used by a cross-section of community members, especially dog walkers.

PCPB board members Don Sevrens and Jon Linney, on their own behalf and not representing the planning board, have been lobbying for more than a year to secure support and funding for the proposed Cañon pocket park. They most recently secured the endorsement of nonprofit United Portuguese SES to sponsor creation of a new pocket park.

A motion was made to approve all available DIF funding in the community’s account for the Cañon pocket park project. But PCPB board member David Dick persuaded his colleagues to reconsider. Dick pointed out “there hasn’t been any needs analysis done, and, on top of that, we would be throwing all available funding at this one particular project.”

Dick asked for more time to consider other alternative projects on which the DIF money could be spent in the community, before committing all of it to the Cañon pocket park.

The PCPB board was overwhelming in favor of postponing a vote to approve the Cañon pocket park until September.

Regarding the existing, disputed billboard on Rosecrans, board member Sevrens defended the elder Murdock, Holly, pointing out he is not the “villain” in this but an ex-Marine who fought in Korea who is protecting his interests from the billboard’s owner, whom Sevrens said is threatening to sue to prevent the billboard from being removed from its current location.

“They (Murdocks) agreed the billboard would be removed, and it should be removed,” said PCPB board member Jarvis Ross.

The group concurred, voting unanimously to draft a letter supporting the billboard’s removal.

PCPB will be dark in August and will next meet Thursday, Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Point Loma Library’s community room at 3701 Voltaire St.
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