Redevelopment projects called for review

OCEANSIDE — Three Pacific Street redevelopment projects, which breezed through the Planning Commission in September with unanimous approval, were called for review by Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez.

City Council approved all three projects in a 3-2 vote Nov. 5.

Wood and Sanchez cast no votes, after sharing their concerns about the conversion projects that would add a third story, more square footage, and additional creative parking to three side-by-side properties.

“This is the worse project I’ve ever seen on Pacific Street,” Sanchez said. “It’s amazing to me we’re allowing this.”

Sanchez called the vacation rental properties “mini Marriotts,” and noted that there would 44 bedrooms, and 16 parking spaces between the three properties. She criticized additional tandem parking, and car lifts that would “never be used.”

Redevelopment at 817 and 819 Pacific Street would covert a six-unit multi-family development into six condominiums.

Plans for 823 and 825 Pacific Street would covert two single-family dwellings into two, two-unit residential structures.

Wood and Sanchez objected to increased density, bulk and height of the buildings being inconsistent with the neighborhood, obstruction of coastal views, and creation of mini-dorms.

A city staff review found plans met city codes. The projects are within a higher density residential tourist zone.

Proposed heights are within the maximum permitted. Scale is consistent with other buildings in the neighborhood. The third story additions are set back and not visible from the beach, and the properties are not considered mini-dorms.

Carolyn Krammer and Sheri Mackin, members of Citizens for the Preservation of Parks and Beaches, shared the concerns of Wood and Sanchez. They said planned redevelopment would bring overcrowding, noise, and loss of beach parking.

The City Council majority saw the project as a benefit.

“Residents would probably prefer to have beach cottages there, like there were 50 years ago, that’s not the reality of this economy,” Councilman Jack Feller said.

David Fischbach, owner and property manager of Beachfront Only Vacation Rentals, addressed City Council’s questions. Fischbach manages 35 Oceanside vacation rental properties.

Approximately a dozen supporters said Fischbach was a good neighbor, kept up properties, and provided work to local contractors.

Following the City Council’s approval Fischbach said Krammer and Mackin do not live in the immediate neighborhood, and he has not received complaints from neighbors of the proposed project.

According to U-T San Diego, Fischbach had previous problems skirting zoning laws for vacation rental properties in Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Encinitas, but those issues have been resolved.

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