OCEANSIDE — The City Council approved the addition of rooftop decks to 38 planned condominiums on Morse Street and Coast Highway on Sept. 21, despite some residents saying the decks are not a fit for the neighborhood.
After hearing arguments that the decks add height, reduce neighbors’ privacy and do not fit the area, the City Council gave a 4-1 approval.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted against, and said the decks are out of place.
“It’s setting a different standard for Coast Highway, nothing surrounding it is that height,” Sanchez said. “I do believe it adds another story.”
Cindy Rocco, Oceanside resident and mayoral candidate, brought forward the appeal and presented a petition signed by 81 residents who opposed the project.
The project was first heard by the Planning Commission and the City Council in 2014.
Decks were added to plans this March, and changed plans went through a public review process.
Rocco said that the decks seemed to be part of project from the start. She added it appeared a bit shady that they were removed from the project in order for it to be approved, and then added back on later.
“They intended to have rooftop decks since day one, Planning Commission members stated (during early project reviews) that was part of the plan,” Rocco said.
Sanchez agreed it was a bit deceitful how the decks were added back to the project.
Brian Rupp, Shopoff Reality Investments vice president of development, said the home builder changed since initial project approval. He added the decks are at the request of the new builder, and different from those previously proposed.
“It was not done with a whim, we discussed it with city staff,” Rupp said.
The decks will be between 500 and 694 square feet, and be accessible by an outside stairway, which adds articulation to the building.
Shopoff has worked to mediate neighbors’ and residents’ concerns about the project and decks.
To ease concerns homeowner regulations will set limits on balcony use. Rules will not allow item storage, dogs left alone after 10 p.m., and will call for lighting and noise to be in compliance with city codes.
Rupp said CC&Rs give extra teeth to enforcement if there are homeowner violations.
“The immediate neighbors don’t have a problem (with the decks),” Rupp said.
Jimmy Knott, Oceanside resident and representative for the La Salina mobile home park, which neighbors the project, said adjacent neighbors are in favor of the project, decks and all.
In a second vote that night the City Council gave unanimous approval to a two-year extension for the project to complete plans and permits.
Sanchez said since the appellant acknowledged the project is going forward with decks, she could vote for the extension.
Most speakers said they are glad the vacant lot, which has stood empty for 10 years, would be developed.