OCEANSIDE — The empty lot on Vine Street and Oceanside Boulevard, which has been graded but never built upon, will soon see 58 new townhouses.
The Planning Commission voted 6-1 to approved the project general plan amendment, zone amendment, development plan, map and conditional use permit on Monday.
Commissioner Colleen Balch cast the no vote. Balch said she could not support the project due to traffic impacts and lack of area parking.
Commissioners who favored the project gave it kudos for coming a long way from plans that were introduced last year.
“It’s an excellent project for the area,” Commissioner Curtis Busk said.
Previous plans shared at a city council workshop in October 2015 proposed all three-story buildings, no traffic calming measures on Vine Street and promises of more guest parking.
During the workshop Mayor Jim Wood said the city is reluctant to change commercial zoning to residential, but saw a benefit in the project.
“This development is a good fit for the neighborhood,” Wood said.
The lot is an odd configuration, and was previously zoned for mixed-use development.
Commercial development on the setback lot was deemed unfeasible after nearby businesses at street level failed. The added homes are anticipated to bring a customer base to new businesses that open on the adjacent commercial lot.
Revised plans approved by the Planning Commission on Aug. 22 include two and three story buildings, guest parking beyond city requirements, an interior sidewalk network that extends to the adjacent commercial site, city sidewalk improvements, and traffic calming improvements on Vine Street.
The 58 units will be housed within nine buildings.
Joe Oftelie, City Ventures director of development, said numerous stakeholder meetings were held with neighbors, and city fire trucks practiced maneuvering through planned traffic calming bump outs.
Several residents who neighbor the project shared concerns about lack of area parking, traffic speeds down Vine Street, and a dangerous illegal left turn onto Oceanside Boulevard the development further encourages. Speakers agreed more residents would add to area problems.
“Cramming 58 homes onto a 6.31 (acre) parcel of land is unreasonable,” Oceanside resident Pamela McCormick said.
Sergio Madera, city senior planner, said the project is on the low end of density for the area. Project density is 10.6 units per acre. Approved density allows up to 15 units per acre.
City staff acknowledged there is heavy traffic in the area.
It was also shared parking requirements exceed the city code, and residential development has less impact on traffic than commercial use.