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Oceanside City Council votes against charter school on El Corazon

OCEANSIDE — The City Council voted against selling additional El Corazon land to developer, Stirling Development, LLC. City Real Estate Manager Douglas Eddow informed the developer’s representatives on Aug. 16.

Early in March, Stirling had presented the city with an unsolicited proposal to purchase additional land in order to construct an athletic field and parking lot for a charter school. The purchase would total 4.88 acres designated as city-owned land, adjacent to the 2.63- acre vacant parcel the developer already owns.

Diane Nygaard, president of Friends of El Corazon, a nonprofit whose stated mission is to support the implementation of the El Corazon Specific Plan, said that the organization was concerned because the city land Stirling wanted to purchase has a hotel land use designation.

“Stirling wanted the land because they were going to build a charter school there, which is not allowed by the El Corazon Specific Plan,” Nygaard said. “There would be no revenue generated by a charter school.” According to the plan, non-park uses are to generate revenue through real property taxes, sales taxes or transit occupancy taxes.

Eddow stated in a memorandum that he wrote to the Oceanside mayor and City Council on March 7, that Stirling was asking the city to “ … convey the city land to Stirling without the payment of any monetary consideration.” The memo went on to say that the developer would make the athletic field available for use by the public on weekends and holidays, and would be responsible for its maintenance.

The portion of land that Stirling wished to purchase is considered non-buildable due to soil conditions, but is usable for parks and recreation activity or commercial development such as a parking lot.

“The charter school approached Stirling regarding this project,” Eddow said, but ultimately the council decided, after requesting that staff spend more time in evaluating Stirling’s proposal, that it was not interested in selling anymore land. “Stirling will be moving forward with building on the land they currently own.”

Asked about the decision Nygaard said: “We’re always happy when the council decides to honor the specific plan.”

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