In order to encourage quality development, Oceanside city officials are considering changes to the housing density allowed downtown.
Those possible changes were reviewed at the Morning Meeting of MainStreet Oceanside Tuesday by Amy Fousekis, Principal Planner, Development Services Department at the City of Oceanside who said they would apply to residential and mixed-use (residential and commercial) projects.
Currently, the limit is 43 units to the acre.
Fousekis made available a sheet of the proposed changes, which involve an amendment to the city’s Local Coastal Program.
It outlined six primary modifications:
1. Remove the 43-units limit but continue the overall cap of 5,500 dwelling units in the downtown (former redevelopment) area. It proposes to retain the existing regulations regarding building height (55 feet maximum), setbacks and required parking spaces.
2. Clarify the floor-area ratio allowed for non-residential projects.
3. Require that residential and mixed-use projects within downtown comply with city inclusionary housing (for lower-income residents) regulations.
4. Expand the existing Transit Oriented Development boundaries (where higher-density is allowed) to include sites within a half mile of Oceanside Transit Center.
5. Allow tandem parking for residential uses and designated employee parking.
6. Update and add the mixed-use category to Section D1 of the coastal program. Fousekis called this an amendment to facilitate mixed-use development. That would “provide developers with the tools necessary to be able to build successful projects.” she said.
As for the inclusionary housing (lower-income units), Rick Wright, MainStreet Executive Director, said “this may be a way to return affordable housing to the downtown.” Noting that large downtown condominiums are “so expensive,” costing more than $1 million, Wright said more total units mean more can be affordable.
Fousekis showed pictures of what basically looked like the same building, but, without the density cap, it could include more, smaller units.
Wright said more residents downtown help the economy “but it’s getting pretty full.”
In the audience, City Councilmember Esther Sanchez, a former state Coastal Commissioner, said regarding the parking changes that a parking plan is needed for the whole area (one is in the works).
Fousekis said new projects still will need a complete environmental analysis for such as traffic impact, but the proposed new rules would “allow flexibility for a good project.”
The changes will require the approval of both the City Council and the state Coastal Commission.
Wright said the presentation will be uploaded onto the MSO website. [LINK]
Making the meeting’s other presentation were Nick Ricci and Dirk Ackema from a new group, !S.O.S. Oceanside! – Save Our Sand Oceanside, which supports constructing groins on the shoreline to preserve the beaches.
“Half the beach is gone,” Ricci said.
He blames both the breakwater at Camp Pendleton and the Lake Henshaw dam on the San Luis Rey River for keeping the flow of sand from the beach.
And he said it affects both a $380-million tourist business and private properties along the shoreline. Visitors aren’t coming back, Ricci said, because there are no sandy beaches.
We are environmentalists,” Ricci said, and the beaches are needed for shore birds as well as for people. But he said they are “realistic environmentalists.”
Groins, short, narrow jetty-like structures, are not favored by the coastal commission.
“Our fight is really on the state level,” Ricci said, but he’s hoping “to build community awareness.”
Sanchez suggested looking into an experiment in Cardiff with sand dunes.
The SOS brochure proposes five rip-rap rock groins: at Tyson Street, Wisconsin Street, Oceanside Boulevard, Buccaneer Beach and St. Malo. Ricci and Ackema invited the public to an SOS meeting Monday evening, Aug. 19, at Bagby Beer Company, 601 S. Coast Highway. Website SOSOceanside.org.
In other business:
-John Daley announced he will be leading a history walk of downtown Oceanside, leaving from the library, 330 N.Coast Highway, at 9 a.m. Saturday.
–Fernando Hernandez, field representative for Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath, D-Encinitas, said she is supporting a $9-million beach-improvement program for Oceanside and a $1 million expenditure to help the homeless.
–Jane Marshall, president of Oceanside Coastal Neighborhood Association, said it will hold a social event at 6 p.m. Aug. 20 at the new Coomber Craft Wines. Also, she asked people, in the wake of the past weekend’s mass shootings, to “take an act of kindness pledge.”
–Cathy Nykiel, who runs both the annual Independence Parade and the weekly Sunset Market for MainStreet, thanked all the volunteers, particularly Lori Lawson and Chris Gow, who will be cutting back. Nykiel said the parade involved 140 units and 100 volunteers. “Thank you for being part of our MainStreet family,” Nykiel said.
–Linda Peña from Carla and Linda’s Walking Food Tours showed the “awesome” coverage on Oceanside in the Southern California Life magazine.
–Gumaro Escarcega, MainStreet Program Manager, said more information will be available at the end of the month about the next Taste of Oceanside event, from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 5 with a VIP party planned at Pierside Apartments.
–Also, Escarcega said, the next MainStreet mixer will be Sept. 17 at Pierside Apartments.
–Wright asked the full house (about 60 people) if they wanted to meet the day after Labor Day and was greeted with a resounding “yes,’ so the next meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 3 in MainStreet office, 701 Mission Ave.