Residents react to City’s design concept for Ocean Beach Pier | Ocean Beach San Diego CA | News

Residents react to City’s design concept for Ocean Beach Pier

Ocean Beach Pier Gate

by Dave Schwab - April 16, 2024

The new preferred hybrid pier design concept envisions interconnected pathways, gathering places, new retail and dining opportunities, and enhanced fishing amenities. With an estimated $170 million to $190 million price tag, the new pier is planned to be constructed over the same footprint as the old one, with new construction starting from the pier’s base. The construction timeline is yet to be determined but will be provided once the environmental permitting and funding acquisition processes are complete.

San Diego Community Newspaper Group asked residents several questions. Are they impressed by the proposed pier replacement configuration? What would they like/not like to see with pier amenities? Would people want a gift shop? Do they like the proposed overhead view bridge and the fishing piers? In short, do residents want a more expensive pier design with all the bells and whistles? Or something more basic and less costly? Here’s what locals had to say:

Ocean Beach and Point Loma Realtor Catrina Russell thinks the old pier design doesn’t need improvement. “I think they should just rebuild essentially what is there,” she said adding, “We all know that the ocean and weather will eventually wipe out the next version as well. To put commercial amenities out there makes no sense. Wonderland, Sunset Cliffs Park, all the stairs to the ocean, and the current pier (have been) wiped out by weather and the ocean. We should keep it simple. Also, the current restaurant out there is closed much of the time due to high surf and storms. Why would we add even more out there?”

Denny Knox, executive director of Ocean Beach MainStreet Association and one of the 12 members of the Ocean Beach Pier Task Force, was surprised at the input from the general public about the three designs for the new pier.

“After studying the new design, it has grown on me,” Knox said noting, “It’s still fairly simple and straightforward. I’m eager to see the design finishes for the buildings on the pier, hoping it will look more like a beach town. I was impressed by how the design team took those thousands of comments and suggestions and culled them down to the preferred option.”

Added Knox: “I hope the amenities, like rental spaces, will help to offset most of the costs of maintenance. As far as the mix of businesses out on the pier, a cafe (local if possible), bait and fishing shop, locally made gifts, and so on would be nice. I’d like to see a security/management office out there.”

Knox cautioned against trying to do too much with the new pier design. “I don’t want all the bells and whistles,” she said. “I would prefer nice, meaningful, and useful amenities, many of which are included in this rough design. The elevated walkway is interesting and adds another dimension to the pier. But if that part of the improvements makes the cost significantly higher, like 30% or more, I’d like to consider just the one level.

“I was impressed with the whole team that put this pier design together. It’s a monumental task, and they did a great job. Walking out on the iconic pier is a treasure and we want to be able to walk out to the end of the new pier soon,” Knox said.

“I’d like to see a simpler design, keeping with the overall OB vibe, possibly with a retro versus modern look,” said Wendy Adelstein, owner of The Philosopher’s Stone on Newport Avenue. “A couple of restaurant and retail options would be nice. Maybe even a space for community/educational events.  What I’d really love to see is the pier entrance area built up with an outdoor cafe and seating area, designated retail booth spaces all joining into a remolded Veterans Plaza.”

Leigh Sterten, co-owner of Dog Beach Dog Wash, is concerned about the pier replacement’s cost. “The city should have included costs in the proposed designs they shared so that we were making an informed decision from the start,” she said adding, “Most OBecians want what we have now: a simple fishing pier where we can walk, fish, stroll, and watch the sunset. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. Ideally, it should last longer than the current one, so engineering is pretty important this time around. Keep it simple, spend less, and get it built quickly so that we don’t lose the tourists that
support our local businesses.”

Others from across San Diego weighed in on social media about the OB Pier replacement:

“Simple and clean. Don’t ruin our neighborhood. No parking structure. Don’t ruin the cottages.” – Barbara Yoes, Sunset Cliffs at Ocean Beach.

“Simple and affordable for OB. Too many bells and whistles make the cost skyrocket, and the odds are it would never get done.” – Candace Cole, Point Loma Heights.

“Very impressed with all three designs. I would have liked if they would have allowed for space to have vendors on the pier.” – James Yoke, Point Loma Heights.

“My family and I carefully considered the design proposals when we took the public input survey. We love the preferred design concept and believe it will be destination locals and tourists will visit frequently.” – Jill Sorge, Mission Beach.

“Overdone. Not sure it fits the community. But a beautiful creation.” – Susan Wilding, Pacific Beach.

“Old school simple fits OB better than fancy schmancy. No gift shop.” – Mona Bruce, Pacific Beach.

“Impressed. Get it going. The demolition should have already started.” – David Anderson, Bay Ho.

“Simple and clean would be great. Do not like the idea of a gift shop.” – Stephanie Barr, La Jolla.

“No bells, whistles, or shops. A nice walk and some fishing suits me best.” – Ty Cobb, Crown Point.

“Something simpler and more basic that costs less sounds good but so does an overhead view bridge and fishing piers at the ends. A gift shop should pay for itself. So should a cafe.” – Laura Meldrum, Pacific Beach.

“It would be great to keep it simple and as close as possible to what it is now. No gift shop, fishing pier.” – Sandy Vissman, La Playa.

“A pier is a pier no matter how it looks. It still may be destroyed in a storm or badly damaged enough to close it for a while. I think simple and extremely sturdy.” – Jeff Stanley, Clairemont.

“As close to the original design is preferred. Its beauty is in its simplicity and lack of distraction. Gift shop sparkle trinket pier – def no.” – Jay L, Clairemont.

“I would like it to be like it used to be in the 1980s etc. with a small homestyle restaurant, no franchises, and a walk down to the fishing pier. There could be a small souvenir-type shop. My son always enjoyed fishing there with his dad.” – Dolores Nabayi, Pacific Beach.

“I was OK with the design. Yet I am ‘no’ for shopping and restaurants on the pier. It makes for more litter getting blown into the ocean. I could not tell how much-shaded area was available, but we are all for enough shaded areas for 50 or more people at any one time.” – Leigh Ord, Bay Ho.

“How about no pier? Only good for those who live near it. Not much parking.” – Jeslyn Wynkoop.

“If money is no object, I would rather see something more exotic, along the lines of the small but highly rated spiral pier in Puerto Vallarta.” – David Oakley, Bay Park.

“Regardless of the design, I’d like to know more about where the money will come from and how much it will cost.” – Mike Frattali, University City.

“I see it as a chance to broaden the use beyond fishing and a walk. Done well it can be a destination highlight in San Diego, attracting more commerce, and tourism. A coffee shop and a small eatery with a few tables and a takeout window would be nice.” – Kim C., The Authors.

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