SOLANA BEACH — With no public comments and little discussion by council members, a mixed-use project slated for 238 N. Cedros Ave. was unanimously approved at the Sept. 25 meeting.
Residents Doug Sheres and Terry Wardell are proposing to build four structures on a 20,216-square-foot through lot that fronts North Cedros and North Rios avenues and is adjacent to the popular Claire’s on Cedros restaurant.
As presented, the development would divide the lot into two parcels, one of which would include a two-story commercial building with retail on the first floor and office space above and an efficiency unit.
The other parcel will feature two identical, 2,208-square-foot detached single-family homes, each with a two-car garage.
A 1,565-square-foot, single-story vacant home and a storage building, both of which will be demolished, currently sit on the property.
The density allowed on the western parcel, where the commercial building will be located, is four dwelling units. One is proposed.
The maximum allowable building could be 12,130 square feet, but only 4,477 square feet are proposed.
The two-story commercial building will be 3,884 square feet and the efficiency unit, referred to as a boat house in the plans, will be about 592 square feet.
The maximum allowable building height is 35 feet. The proposed buildings will be slightly less than 33 feet high. The efficiency unit will be 25 feet.
“We’ve scrunched the building down really as far as we felt like we could,” Sheres said.
The required 14 parking spaces will be provided.
The two dwelling units proposed on the eastern half of the lot represent the maximum number allowed, are below the maximum floor area ratio by more than 3,600 square feet and are 5 feet lower than the maximum height limit of 30 feet.
“Both coastal cottages (are) juxtaposed in such a way as to provide extra privacy and extra open space relative to a lot of the other properties that have been built on the street,” Sheres said.
“They’re almost half the size of the last structures that have been approved in that area so we feel like we’ve really built something small and utilized open space and air and tried to create some privacy down there,” he added. “They’re very high quality and they’re very green, sustainable and they really stand on their own.
The developers are proposing to provide six parking spaces, one more than the requirement.
“This is a small project before you but one that we have spent an enormous amount of time on,” architect Rob Quigley said. “It’s a very special project. This is the kind of thing that urban planners like myself love to see.
“The transition between a residential district and a more commercial or retail district is a real opportunity for mixed use, and to do it finely and delicately is always a challenge,” Quigley said.
“I was asked … not just to meet your zoning criteria, but to actually exceed it,” he added. “And in my experience working with developers, that’s an unprecedented request. It shows the sensitivity of working within your own community.”
Sheres said the team met with neighbors and tried to incorporate their feedback and comments into the project, which has been in development for about two years.
Councilwoman Lesa Heebner said she appreciates the applicants’ efforts to tier the building, minimize the footprint and take into consideration the “experience of Claire’s customers.”
“I think it’s a very nice project,” she said. “I look forward to seeing it built.”
Mayor Mike Nichols said he watched the project plans develop during the past year.
“It landed in a place that is better than where it started, not to say it was bad when it started,” Nichols said.
But as developments evolve and go through the design process, “they have the ability to become better projects and I think this is a case where this is true,” he added.
“You guys obviously put a lot of thought into this,” Councilman Peter Zahn said. “The sustainability elements are really impressive, and the project on the whole, I think, is just super.”
Although no residents spoke at the meeting, the city received 13 e-mails supporting the project.
“All in all it looks slick and fits with the other buildings nearby,” Brent and Kim Cook wrote.
“North Cedros is the welcome mat for train station visitors, however it is in need of property and street improvements,” Nathan Morton wrote. “It will (complement) the train station and be of top quality construction. I welcome this needed project with open arms.”
John Cavanaugh stated that he supports the project but urged council members to “come up with a strict limit on time for any street parking to try to discourage long term employee parking.”
Construction won’t begin until next year as the project must still earn approval from the California Coastal Commission. Purchase or lease prices for the residential units have not been set.