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Oceanside approves development plan for affordable housing project

OCEANSIDE — Plans for 32 apartments on North Weitzel Street will provide more than housing for families, they will give low-income working families a hand up.

The development plan and conditional use permit for the affordable housing units to be built on city land with a 55 year lease agreement received a 4-1 vote of approval on Wednesday.

The soon to be built Weitzel Street Apartments are part of the Solutions for Change 1,000 day program that leads homeless families to self sufficiency. The step-by-step program includes intensive training, employment and permanent housing.

Five hundred days into the program, participants gain employment and move into permanent housing with their families, while they complete the rest of the program. The planned apartments provide that housing.

The benefits of the program, and positive impacts of other managed affordable housing within the city were shared during the meeting.

“Affordable housing projects are the nicest, best managed housing in Oceanside,” Margery Pierce, city neighborhood services director, said.

Councilman Jack Feller said he was previously skeptical of city affordable housing projects, but has come to see the benefits. He gave Solutions for Change kudos for their positive work.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez cast the only no vote. She said she supports affordable housing, but questioned if the apartments “crammed into” the three-quarter acre site adjacent to Interstate 5 would provide sufficient parking, and outdoor space for kids.

“We still need to care about the quality of life for families,” Sanchez said.

Three residents also voiced concerns about the impact the project could have on already overcrowded area parking and crime.

Project representatives said parking and outdoor space exceed what is required. Plans include 49 below ground parking spaces, and an outdoor plaza with a barbecue area and tot lot. There is also a shared community room and lobby.

The size, scale and density of the planned three-story apartments are similar to surrounding buildings.

Dennis Bone, Solutions for Change chief program officer, said a manager would live on site, check on residents, and work with the local Neighborhood Watch group to ensure the area is crime free.

The approved apartment project is securing final funding for construction, and is expected to break ground next year.