Oceanside triples notification requirements

OCEANSIDE —City Council voted to triple the 500 feet notification radius for significant development projects that request discretionary entitlements April 22.

Both sides of 3-2 council vote said they voted in the best interest of builders.

Councilmen Jerry Kern and Jack Feller voted against extending the notification radius, which was last revised in 2011, citing additional notification costs for builders, and lack of need.

“The system works fine,” Kern said. “There are always going to be those people who say they haven’t heard about (proposed projects). All we’re doing now is making it more difficult, adding more time and adding more costs.”

Feller said few residents are interested in building projects, and those who are can request to be on the city email notification list. He added most of the mailed notifications would go to renters who don’t have much stake in building changes.

The new requirements for 1,500 feet notification and a community outreach plan apply to significant projects, which are defined as including land use, specific plan or master plan amendments, zone changes, an excess of 20 dwellings, and commercial and industrial projects on a five-acre site or larger.

All projects that request discretionary entitlements will require 500 feet homeowner notification and 100 feet resident mail notification.

Developers must also post signs on site listing intended property changes, and provide notification to interested parties who have signed up with the city.

There are also provisions to inform neighborhood group representatives that they can sign up as interested parties.

Nadine Scott, Oceanside resident and community activist, said it’s important to inform the public.

“The whole idea is to get these projects approved,” Scott said. “Developers can get more support for projects from finding out what possible concerns (residents) have.”

Councilman Chuck Lowery, who voted in favor of the ordinance along with Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, said he checked with developers to see if increased notification costs would be an issue. He said hearing from developers that it was minimal to overall costs prompted him to vote for the change.

Wood said his yes vote was to ensure developers had early feedback on community concerns.

“Developers, I truly believe, would like to have their input early on, so people don’t show up and give them the opposition,” Wood said. “I think it’s a good thing for the cost.”

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