A small crowd of about 50 OBecians gathered Saturday afternoon (October 15) at the corner of Ebers and Greene to protest the construction of what has alternatively been billed by the developer first as a new home and later as a building addition to property at 2269 Ebers.
"This has been a nightmare since day one, about a year ago," said Allison Rush, who lives with her husband Mick next door to the property.
"The owner, who's from up in Vista, came in and told us he's going to knock our wall down, he's going to do this, do that, build this monstrous building.
"He hires people to work for a day and doesn't pay them, every day it's an ongoing saga with something new. OSHA [Occupational Health and Safety Administration] has shut them down because of asbestos they tried to take out in the middle of the night. They didn't have scaffolding."
Among the complaints lodged against owner Nelco Properties and its head Curtis Nelson are allegations that the property was not presented for review by the local planning board, nor by the California Coastal Commission. Detractors say the new unit is illegal based on the size of the lot where the original home sits, that it provides insufficient parking, violates the coastal 30-foot height limit, and is non-compliant with the neighborhood's recently updated plan.
"What you've got here is a 5000-square-foot lot that's zoned RN-1-1," noted Geoff Page, former chair of the Peninsula Community Planning Board. "With that zoning, you can't build two units unless you have 3000 square feet for each unit. So you cannot legally build two units on this lot, and what the owner did is he came up with this idea of connecting the two units with a hallway."
A number of those in attendance planned to seek Mayor Kevin Faulconer's assistance in getting a stop-work order issued on the property for its non-compliance, much as neighbors of an out-of-character development in the Roseville neighborhood of Point Loma were successful in doing several months ago.
When John Linney, a member of the Peninsula planning board, explained how his group had rallied as many as 250 neighbors to oppose that project, OB locals began to plan for a similar mobilization effort.
"This project is on hold right now for a number of reasons, but none of those issues are the actual problem, which is that they're building two units on one lot," said John Ambert, chair of the Ocean Beach Planning Board, which has advisory authority over projects in the area. "They're not building an addition, they're constructing a new building and scabbing on a hallway in a single-family zone.
"There's got to be a better way for us to show up collectively and say 'This kind of shit is not going to be acceptable any more. We're not going to tolerate it.'"
As one dreadlocked individual ignored signs warning of video surveillance and attempted to scale the building in order to prove it violated the 30-foot height limit (only to be thwarted by a 25-foot measuring tape), others began organizing and planned to call a community meeting early next week to formulate a demand letter to Faulconer's office.