OCEANSIDE — Approval was given on March 14 to begin negotiations on an additional hotel on El Corazon Park property.
City Council gave the go ahead for Rancho Del Oro Oceanside Partners, LCC, to start exclusive negotiations with the city on a 300 plus room resort hotel within the recreational area of the 465 acre park.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez and Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery both questioned the addition of a third hotel on city parkland. Only Lowery voted against moving forward with negotiations.
A couple of residents also opposed the additional hotel, and cited park plans and traffic impacts as reasons not to proceed.
Sanchez talked about the 20 year process to come to a community consensus on park plans, which include areas for two hotels.
“You’re coming back with something completely different, I don’t believe that was the plan,” Sanchez said.
Lowery also voiced objection to putting a third hotel on property intended to be part of a community recreational area.
“I have always supported keeping it public land, that does not include building a hotel on it,” Lowery said.
Councilman Jerry Kern and Councilman Jack Feller both said no harm would be done by allowing negotiations to go forward. Kern stressed the vote was not to approve a hotel project.
There are checks and balances in place to ensure a decision on a hotel meets city requirements. If the proposed hotel is not consistent with the park’s Specific Plan and EIR, amendments to each would be required for the project to move forward.
If a Development and Disposition Agreement is negotiated it would be presented to the El Corazon Standing Committee and Economic Development Commission for recommendations, and City Council for approval.
City Council also authorized city staff to go forward with two TransNet grant applications.
The Smart Growth Incentive Program grant for $400,000 would fund the Environmental Impact Report and 30 percent of design costs for the final extension of the Coastal Rail Trail across the Loma Alta Marsh.
The Active Transportation Grant Program for $70,000 would fund an enclosed bike storage station at the Civic Center.
Meeting comments focused on completion of the bike trail from Oceanside Boulevard through the marsh to Morse Street. If completed 95 percent of the Coastal Rail Trail through the city would be finished.
Oceanside resident Cindy Rocco asked that the trail include safe access from the east side of the tracks.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez encouraged trail completion to move forward.
“We want this connection to happen to the Rail Trail,” Sanchez said.
Both grants are available to San Diego County cities and funded by TransNet half cent sales tax.
If awarded the funds the city would match them with $130,000.
City staff said it would take a few months to find out if the grants are awarded. If grant monies are not received other funding sources would be looked into.