Oceanside nixes planned vacation rental conversion project

OCEANSIDE — City Council said no on Dec. 3 to conversion plans to expand a vacation rental property from 18 bedrooms to 24 bedrooms, which it has been considering since November.

Mayor Jim Wood, Councilwoman Esther Sanchez and Councilman Chuck Lowery voted against the plans for 809 Pacific Street, saying it did not fit the community character.

Proposed plans were recommended and given kudos by the Planning Commission in September for creative parking and improvements to the community.

The City Council majority disagreed. They objected to lift parking they said would not be used by residents, and additional bedrooms that would bring more people and cars to the beach area.

“I’d like to see him (David Fischbach, the owner and property manager of Beachfront Only Vacation Rentals) develop projects that fit into the neighborhood, and are more accommodating with the neighborhood that exists already,” Lowery said.

Plans were to turn two condominiums on the property into four. Along with additional bedrooms, an additional third story, 11 on-site parking spaces and 12 more bathrooms were proposed.

Two other condominium conversion projects proposed by Fischbach for neighboring properties at 817 and 819 Pacific Street were approved in November. Fischbach manages 35 Oceanside vacation rental properties.

Sanchez said the cumulative effects of the three projects on Pacific Street posed too great an impact on the neighborhood. She objected to the lack of a parking plan for the multi-resident vacation rental, and said it should follow the same regulations for parking as a hotel.

The council majority shared her views.

“We don’t fix the problem there by saying more,” Wood said.

The proposed project is located in a high-density residential tourist zone. Fischbach pointed out that block per block, plans would fit with the number of bedrooms in neighboring buildings. He added that residents staying at the vacation rental park on site, and therefore the project makes more beach street parking available.

Councilmen Jack Feller and Jerry Kern voted for the project to be approved, saying it was within the correct zoning and had a positive economic impact.

“Generally the area is 80 to 90 percent renters,” Feller said. “Homeowners are thankful for upgrades Dr. Fischbach has done there. This is really a cash cow for Oceanside. It was approved unanimously by Planning, and follows all the rules put on the table.”

In a following item Sanchez requested that lifts be eliminated as a means to fulfill parking requirements. To do this, she asked that 1992 zoning changes be sent forward to the Coastal Commission, which had been overlooked.

Some speakers supported this idea, others said parking lifts are a sign of the times.

Direction was given to move forward with submitting the regulations.

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