Affordable housing project ready for public review

Affordable housing project ready for public review
An updated artist’s rendering shows the preferred design of an affordable housing development proposed for a city-owned parking lot on South Sierra Avenue in Solana Beach. Courtesy photo

SOLANA BEACH — New story poles are being erected to more accurately reflect the size of the preferred design of an affordable housing development proposed for a city-owned parking lot on South Sierra Avenue.

The city has been working with Hitzke Development Corporation for about a year to potentially build a 10-unit, mixed-use complex that would satisfy a decades-old requirement to provide affordable housing based on a lawsuit settlement from the early 1990s.

In 2011, the city held a public hearing and three workshops about the project, known as The Pearl. The initial plan presented in June and August was revised after residents opposed to the $6 million development said it was too large for the lot.

There were also concerns the building was too boxy and not set back far enough from the street.

Based on public input, Ginger Hitzke redesigned the complex and presented two new renderings with different roof designs and setbacks at an October workshop. From comments made at that meeting, option three was selected as the most desirable, she said.

Much of the opposition was based on the placement of the initial story poles, she said.

“Those first ones weren’t 100 percent accurate,” Hitzke said. “They showed the most extreme case from every view.”

For example, she said, if a small part of one roof was 30 feet high, all the story poles were installed at that height.

She also said the poles weren’t placed inside the parking lot, where they should have been, to avoid eliminating parking spaces.

If the complex is built, the existing 31 parking spaces, used mostly by beachgoers and as a drop-off area for the city’s junior lifeguard program, will be retained, and 23 spaces will be added in a semienclosed underground structure.

Not everyone is opposed to the development, which will include three one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from 510 to 1,075 square feet, and one 1,200-square-foot four-bedroom flat.

Vicki Cypherd said the project seemed much less dense than the Seascape Sur development across the street.

“It’s 10 units,” she said at the October workshop. “I really think everybody’s overreacting to this. I think it’s a real benefit to the community.”

Installation of the new poles, expected to be complete the first week of January, will be followed by a 30-day public comment period.

Council members will consider all comments received and then decide during a public hearing whether to move forward with the project.

As a rule the city doesn’t hold multiple workshops for developments.

“We haven’t decided whether to have another workshop or proceed to a council meeting,” City Manager David Ott said.


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