The town hall-style event has morphed from a multi-speaker format to an open-panel discussion.
Community reps included: Denise Knox from Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, Marcus Turner of Ocean Beach Town Council, Blake Herrschaft of Ocean Beach Planning Board, Don Sevrens of Peninsula Community Planning Board, Clark Anthony of the PLA and Mike Swanston of Midway Community Planning Group.
The event was moderated by Dave Martin of the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation.
Anthony said the PLA has an ongoing “youth movement,” citing new board members as having enthusiasm and new ideas.
“We have some projects that we are focusing on, like street murals in the village, our annual October dinner and streamlining our website,” he added.
Sevrens of PCPB, a retired journalist, said the group is grappling with numerous vexing issues including the Prince Recycling Center, seen by some as a community blight. He said the attempted eviction of Prince from Stump’s market has become a civil matter. Sevrens also pitched creation of a Point Loma business improvement district.
“We’re busy as can be,” said OBMA’s Knox, noting chili cookers are being sought for the upcoming street fair, while fundraising is underway for the annual Fourth of July fireworks at OB Pier. Knox said enhanced security hired to patrol the beach has been well worth the money and time spent in deterring crime in OB, which has been increasingly plagued by arson, tagging and theft, especially bicycles being stolen and cars broken into.
Turner cited OBTC’s community activism and the annual events it hosts including the OB Craft Fair, OB Restaurant Walk, Pier Pancake Breakfast and OB Tree Festival/Food and Toy Drive. He added the group is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Swanston of MCPG said the group has just completed vetting its long-awaited community plan update, noting the revised plan calls for more residential development in the largely commercial-industrial Pacific Highway-Midway area. He praised the efficiency of Veterans Village of San Diego in successfully running a temporary homeless camp in Midway.
Herrschaft of OBPB noted a new transportation subcommittee has been formed to deal with circulatory issues. He added dockless bikes have been a concern, as well as regulatory loopholes allowing developers to build much larger additions on structures while bypassing local planning review.
Concerning short-term vacation rentals, mayor’s rep Anthony George said a new regulatory proposal from Mayor Kevin Faulconer on the issue is coming in May.
Questions posed to the panel concerned planning and development, roads, traffic and public safety.
Both Clark and Martin referred to the fact that, although OB and Point Loma are distinct communities, they share a peninsula and common concerns. Both stressed the importance of Peninsulans working together to resolve problems and issues.
Asked about the status of the proposed new OB veterans memorial, moderator Martin replied that the planning and permitting groundwork has already been laid adding, “All we need now is the money, the $800, 000 to $1 million needed to build it.”