Marquette Street development finally approved

OCEANSIDE — It’s been a long haul, but development plans for the four-plex on Marquette Street in the Eastside Capistrano neighborhood received the City Council’s approval on Jan. 18.

A number of Eastside residents have steadfastly opposed the multifamily rental units since the development’s Planning Commission review in October 2016. They said the development does not fit the character of the single-family home neighborhood.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, who grew up in Eastside, also opposed the project. She said she does not want approval of a multifamily dwelling to set a precedent and turn Eastside into an overcrowded neighborhood like adjacent Crown Heights.

Sanchez said Marquette Street has the highest density in the neighborhood, and that density creates a number of problems.

“Marquette Street has the most drug sales, the most stabbings, the most homicides and the most (parked) cars, it’s a huge concern,” Sanchez said. “This project is going to add to problems.”

However, building plans follow all city codes, and the project density is under what is allowed. There are also a dozen multifamily buildings within 500 feet of the proposed project.”

The approved four-plex will be three-stories with three-bedroom units, two-car garages, covered porches and second-floor balconies. The majority of residents who spoke supported the project. They described the design plans as “classy and well thought out.” They praised property owner and developer Jason Brandt for being involved in the community, having a well-designed project and staying on as an on-site landlord.

“The goal has always been to be sensitive to residents’ concern, I redesigned the original plans to under-develop the property to preserve the canyon,” Brandt said. Owners of adjacent buildings and lots said the development would improve the neighborhood and adds safety by blocking easy access to Lawrence Canyon, which abuts the lot.  There were numerous reports of trash dumping, overnight car parking and illegal activity currently occurring on and around the vacant lot.

The council majority supported and approved the project. Several council members said they did not understand why the development was appealed.

“It’s an improvement to the neighborhood, it followed all the rules,” Councilman Jerry Kern said.

Councilman Jack Feller said property improvements will better the neighborhood.

“This is a quality project,” Feller said.

Those who opposed the development cited a 1992 city inland zoning ordinance that does not allow multifamily homes and asked City Council to uphold that zoning.

However, the proposed project east of Interstate 5, is considered to be within the city’s coastal zone, which is governed by a different set of 1986 rules that allow multifamily buildings.

Those against the project and more multifamily homes said the city dropped the ball by not having the more restrictive 1992 zoning rules approved by the Coastal Commission, and in effect in the coastal area. The council majority agreed to make a decision based on current zoning rules.

“I’m not going to support zoning on a one-off basis, that’s what got us into this mess,” Kern said.

The city is working to bring more cohesion to its inland, coastal and downtown zoning.

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