OB Board Says No to Condos, Yes to Vet
By David Crohn

Condominiums and apartment houses will never be built in Ocean Beach, thanks to a resolution passed Saturday, August 12, by the Board of Trustees changing just a few words to village law.

Multiple-family dwellings “are detrimental to the character of the neighborhood, prevent the most appropriate development and utilization of land” and lower property values, according to a unanimously passed resolution.

The words “single-family dwelling” have been changed to “any building or structure” in section 164-22 of village ordinances, which deals with building and zoning. “This change allows us to keep the spirit of the residential district in place,” said Mayor Joe Loeffler at the meeting. “It’s a step that the public wants.”

Before, multiple-dwelling units (MDUs) could only be built with a special permit. With this change in the code’s language, MDUs are banned entirely from Ocean Beach. Old buildings that house more than one family—such as 932 Bay Walk, owned by Shirley Wersebe—are grandfathered in and can remain non-complying. But new structures and teardowns will have to conform to the current code.

The vote came on the heels of the announcement that Rick Kushner will not buy the apartment building at 932 Bay Walk in order to build a six-unit condominium in place of the 1920s-era structure there now. When the board of trustees granted him a special permit to do so, residents next door—including employees of Matthews Restaurant next door and Pat Stretch, who owns their building—decried the move.

Wersebe said Stretch agreed to buy the building and is getting her fiancing in order.

Trustee Steve Einig said the village will go further to rewrite local ordinances, especially as it relates to building and zoning. Because 932 Bay Walk is in an area of the village that everyone calls “a hybrid”—it’s zoned residential but everything there is commercial—Einig said “we need to bring some additional code changes to the community district to better plan for future development.” And, Einig said, “we are going to probably implement architectural review in the residential area,” in order to maintain aesthetic cohesion.


Vetted Vet Set for Pet Practice

In other news of the board meeting, the trustees unanimously approved a permit allowing a veterinarian to open up shop in the village.

Dr. Kenneth Luckow said he intended to launch his veterinary practice on Surfview Walk next summer at the earliest. He has been dispatching his services around the village via a yellow tricycle since May and said establishing a practice would decrease those house call costs.

“We just want to have the ability to do it,” Luckow said. “My intent was to fill a need but then I got a call that space was available.”

Responding to concerns that dogs, cats and other beasts would line up and create fur-laden traffic along the walk, his wife said in a statement that office hours would be by appointment only and the doctor expects to see only three to four animals per week during the summer.