Should the police trailer in the Ocean Beach pier parking lot go somewhere else? Next week, the people will have their say.
The trailer has been in the middle of the parking lot at the end of Newport Avenue for more than a decade, courtesy of the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association, which represents business owners in the area. The association began renting the trailer when the police lost their lease on a Newport Avenue storefront. But no one ever bothered to secure a permit and, last summer, the California Coastal Commission told the city to get one.
Police say the trailer allows officers to complete simple tasks — write a report, use the restroom, microwave a snack, store equipment for beach detail — while staying in Ocean Beach. The higher profile and increased accessibility cuts down on response times and discourages drug use, violence, graffiti, and other parking-lot crime, business owners say.
But opponents say the trailer is an eyesore, is infrequently used by police, takes up too many parking spaces, and would be better placed elsewhere.
When the San Diego Police Department applied for a coastal development permit late last year, the Ocean Beach Planning Board voted in approval but told police to look for another location. (Planning boards are elected bodies that make nonbinding recommendations to the city on land-use and quality-of-life issues.)
An advisory referendum will be held March 12 from 4–7 p.m. at the Ocean Beach Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue. The planning board will host the balloting.
Citizens eligible to vote must live, own property, or represent a business in the Ocean Beach Planning Area — the precise boundary is available at oceanbeachpb.com.
The trailer issue is one of two referendums on the ballot — the other being a question on whether to create a Maintenance Assessment District, which is funded by a property-tax assessment, for better infrastructure and new public projects.
In addition, half of the 14 board positions are up for election. These positions are decided by voters in the 7 districts — those boundaries are also available on the planning board's website.