3rd time may be charm for beachfront remodel

OCEANSIDE — The Planning Commission approved a coastal permit, expansion and remodel of a beachfront home on South Pacific Street on Aug. 14. This is the third time homeowners Dan Matlach and Candace Cross have sought city approval to renovate their home.

The homeowners got the OK to add 1,243 square feet, a 401 square feet mezzanine and 120 square feet of new deck area to their dwelling.

The Planning Commission previously denied the homeowners’ renovation plans in 2015 on the grounds that earlier improvements were too large in mass, bulk and scale, extended beyond the coastal stringline and were not compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. City Council upheld that denial in 2016.

The project architects worked with the city to ensure updated plans met city setback, stringline and height requirements. Proposed building colors were also changed to help the home fit in. “The applicant has been working on this trying to get it right,” Jeff Hunt, city planner, said.

The recent approval by the commission was not unanimous. The initial vote count was a tie — three in support and three opposed. In a second show of hands, four approved the remodel. Commissioners Colleen Balch and Claudia Troisi voted no. Commission Vice Chair Curtis Busk was absent.

Balch and Troisi objected to the mass, bulk and scale of the project, which is the maximum allowed two stories plus a two-level basement and mezzanine.

“The house looks like it’s two houses, and is pushing the stringline,” Balch said.

There were also half a dozen speakers at the meeting, who live on Pacific Street, who opposed the project.

They said there is not much of a change from previous plans that were denied and criticized the mass, bulk and scale of proposed renovations. One Oceanside resident said the lack of change is a “slap in the face to the Planning Commission, City Council and neighborhood.”

Tige Kahler, an Oceanside resident, questioned the homeowners’ turnaround from opposing a neighbor’s home renovation because of mass, bulk and scale and then proposing similar renovations. Speakers also questioned building compliance, which Hunt assured commissioners the plans met.

After the meeting speakers against the project said they would appeal the decision, and added Commissioner Louise Balma “caved in” when she switched from a no vote to a yes vote that night.

Matlach said he has 25 letters of support from neighbors for the remodel.

He added he was formerly told by those who oppose the project that there would be an appeal if the commission granted approval.

Matlach said plans meet requirements, and called opposition part of a “neighbor dispute.”

“There are a handful who don’t agree with us,” Matlach said. “They need to get over it and leave us alone.”

The commission’s approval is final in 20 days unless an appeal is made to City Council.

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