Housing project in historic district mulled

Housing project in historic district mulled
Oceanside city staff recommends the development of 420 housing units within the mission historic overlay district. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — The Planning Commission will provide feedback on a 420-unit housing project within the mission historic overlay district July 27.

The proposed Villa Storia development will be built on a 35.5-acre site on Mission Avenue.

City zoning changes must be approved to allow the medium- to high-density residential development, in an area currently zoned area for single-family and private institution use.

The developer has agreed to make a number of area improvements, beyond city ordinance requirements, in order to gain city support for the project.

Russ Cunningham, city senior planner, said he sees a lot of plusses for the city.

The most significant compensation by the developer is to provide 40 on-site inclusionary housing units, instead of paying an in lieu fee.

“It’s precedent setting,” Cunningham said. “We have not had a project of this nature and scale meet (on-site) inclusionary housing.”

Other extras the developer promises are to extend Frazee Road to Academy Road, widen Mission Avenue and Academy Road, pave and provide drainage for a private dirt road and add public sidewalks on Mission Avenue.

Cunningham said sidewalk improvements to Mission Avenue, which connects Mission San Luis Rey to Old Grove Road, are a boon for pedestrians.

“They close a significant gap in pedestrian facilities,” Cunningham said.

The developer will also establish a one-acre park that will be open to the public during daylight hours, and maintained by the development homeowner association.

Another perk is the developer will pay a water demand offset fee, which funds the installation of recycled water to directly offset the amount of water anticipated for the development.

Councilman Jerry Kern said he is supportive of the project, and expects minimal to no opposition.

“It’s a really good project,” Kern said. “It meets the needs of the community.” He added that the only impacts of the project are improvements.

City Council listened to Villa Storia project plans in May 2014.

The workshop was held during area fires, which caused Mayor Jim Wood to be absent from discussion.

Council members at the 2014 workshop suggested the addition of commercial development, which is not included.

Residents at the workshop were outspoken about additional traffic that high-density housing would bring.

Cunningham said the developer has done a good job of addressing previous stakeholder concerns with promised road improvements.

Following Planning Commission feedback, City Council will hear the project proposal in August.

The Planning Commission meeting is at 6 p.m., July 27, at the Civic Center Library community room.

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