Ocean Beach Rides the Wave in a Perfect Storm…

San Diego City Council approves Ocean Beach Community Plan Update

By Kathy Blavatt, August 5, 2014

The New York Times September 4, 2008 paper the wrote a travel piece “36 Hours in San Diego”, By BROOKS BARNES, that had a line the was the essence of why O.B. is still O.B., “1:30 p.m.
7) BEACH BOUND— There are dozens of beaches, but none are more authentic than Ocean Beach, a funky surfers' haven that has stayed frozen in time because of strict zoning rules from the 1970s.”

Back in the 1970s the community of Ocean Beach was under threat by development interests from Point Loma and other areas. They had major redevelopment plans for this quaint beach town of one square mile.

The outside developers wanted a yacht basin and a high-rise resort; this would take out the long stretches of sandy beach and Miamidise O.B.

Little did they know they had awoken a sleeping giant who happen to have long hair, clad in tie-dye and surfed.

Along with the community folks looking at the planning process, another group of insightful visionaries were successfully putting through a 30 foot Coastal Height Limit ballot initiative to protect San Diego’s coast and views.

OBceans became the first community elected planning board in the State of California. The new form of planning board, whose residents and business owners were elected by OBceans, created a new community plan. This was coupled with the Coastal Height Limit Law, which helped them shape Ocean Beach’s own destiny and local character.

Fast forward to the last few years, developers had a stranglehold on San Diego. Most of the politicians are bought and paid for. Then a big storm was brewing, as developer interests got toppled into the sand struggling for the surface, when the state nixed the redevelopment piggy bank. Another wave followed when liberal Filner won the election for mayor. Gasp, then the Barrio Logan Community Plan won approval by council. Insiders were caught outside in a riptide, struggling to get back inside.

Then those OBceans kept popping up wanting a “Community Plan Update”, since it had been almost 4-decades since the last approved plan.  These O.B. locals were distracting the city from the next big set of big business deals. “So what if the O.B. Community Plan Update had been worked on by residents for over a dozen years!” “So what if every major O.B. community organization supported the plan!” “So what if people are complaining about how a huge new boxy condo development blocking the view of the Ocean went up by the O.B. lifeguard station!”

Oops, maybe there was another swell building in O.B. All the Hollywood types liked having their TV shows shot there. And O.B. made the news by containing a sticky 4th of July situation by taming the marshmellow wars. And the Ocean Beach Historical Society keeps packing in the crowds that want to learn about O.B.’s history. Maybe O.B. is the iconic beach town people still love and will fight for.

Insiders, said, “Let’s see if OBceans are serious about keeping their small town character”.

On, July 29, 2004 a wave of OBceans rolled filling the San Diego City Hall chambers. There was a sea of blue shirts saying, “Keep the OBcean Attitude”. Their presentation was on point with some O.B. humor tossed in.

City Council got the “O.B. attitude that summer day”, riding the wave with a unanimous vote for the Ocean Beach Community Plan Update.