Commission OKs addition of 38 rooftop decks

OCEANSIDE — South Oceanside residents are feeling growing pains as new development is building bigger and taller homes within the beachside cottage community.

The Planning Commission approved the development plan and coastal permit for the addition of 38 rooftop decks to the planned Pacific Terrace townhouses at 514 Morse Street on June 11.

One resident spoke in support of the deck additions. He said the project is an improvement to the empty lot and added more projects “like this” will be coming.

The majority of speakers voiced “serious concerns,” and presented an opposition letter signed by 69 residents.

Neighboring homeowners said decks would infringe on privacy and change the quaint character of the neighborhood.

A South Oceanside resident who lives next to a three-story home with a rooftop deck shared the day-to-day impact.

“It’s really an invasion of your privacy, we’ll lose air flow, breeze, light — this is going to change the structure of the community,” the resident said.

The townhouse development, which was initially approved by the commission and the City Council in November 2014, will build 38 three-story contemporary-style townhouses.

Decks were added to plans this year after a new development broker came on board.

Scott Nightingale, city senior planner, said the additional decks and outside stairway will not add height. Furthermore, changes will shrink the visual mass and bulk of earlier approved buildings.

The commission majority has been consistent in approving builds that are within zoning regulations.

Commissioner John Scrivener cast the single vote against the added balconies. He said he does not think the project fits the neighborhood.

Commissioner Claudia Troisi said balconies are allowable within the urban high-density residential zone.

“Zoning allows a lot more than is proposed, it may not be complementary to single-family housing behind it, it may be different than low-density to the east, but it is consistent with the general plan,” Troisi said.

Commissioners requested homeowner association CCR rules require property leases of 15 days or longer to squash rotating short-term rentals that could attract partying crowds.

The developer said sales are already restricted to owners who will occupy the townhouses.

He added he would be agreeable to a rule of no short-term leases.

The city has already set requirements for the townhouses to have a management plan, and its CCRs to address what can be stored on decks to minimize negative visual impacts.

Rules will also give guidelines to acceptable noise, lighting and landscaping.

The CCRs allow the city enforcement power in situations not addressed by city regulations.

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