Council voted 5-0 to introduce a "rezoning ordinance" that would make changes to the city's current Downtown Zoning Ordinance. Courtesy photo
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Oceanside takes steps to expand downtown business

OCEANSIDE — The city wants to open its downtown area to different types of businesses and quicken the process that allows businesses to operate.

At its Feb. 26 meeting, council approved amendments to the city’s Downtown Zoning Ordinance that not only allow for more commercial uses within the downtown area, which are currently allowed in other parts of the city, but also implement a streamlined review of some commercial uses in the downtown area through an administrative conditional use permit (ACUP) process or by permitting the use by right.

Council voted 5-0 to introduce a “rezoning ordinance” that would make these changes.

These amendments go back to Aug. 7, 2019, when Councilman Chris Rodriguez and Mayor Peter Weiss brought forth an item that would implement a streamlined planning case review process for certain projects. Council ended up directing staff to develop such a process, which has now been fully implemented.

The amendments proposed on Feb. 26 “complement” the process’s streamlining efforts “by reducing regulatory barriers for Downtown businesses,” according to staff.

The changes to downtown zoning include:

  • Permitting daycares through an ACUP or by right
  • Removing single-family dwellings from some subdistricts
  • Adding animal facilities, ATMs and commercial recreation
  • Permitting more bars and cocktail lounges through a regulated use CUP
  • Adding fast food to some subdistricts and adding fast-food drive-thru to subdistricts north of Neptune Way
  • Permitting by right personal service businesses such as nail salons
  • Adding health clubs and spas to some subdistricts
  • Permitting by right retail sales and custom retail businesses
  • Allowing for wine and beer tasting rooms through an ACUP
  • Adding hotels and resorts to some subdistricts through a CUP
  • Prohibiting liquor stores, massage businesses, maintenance and repair businesses, pawnshops, payday loan businesses and smoke shops.

Terry Strom, a resident of Oceanside and an entitlement consultant in the area, asked the council to allow for a high-end tobacco and cigar shop on The Coast Highway on the northern side of the city that one of his clients wants to open.

“Our goal is to bring a very nice, high-class cigar and tobacco shop,” Strom said.

Strom also noted the zoning ordinance amendments would need to be approved by the Coastal Commission as well, which could take several months. He asked that he and his client be allowed to open the business if they apply prior to the Coastal Commission approving the ordinance.

In response, Councilwoman Esther Sanchez motioned for the council to consider permitting the cigar shop through a regulated use CUP provided that the application is filed and complete prior to the effective rezone date.

Councilman Chris Rodriguez expressed his support for a high-end cigar shop in Downtown Oceanside.

“What I’m not looking for is another head shop dynamic,” Rodriguez said.

The council unanimously approved the amendment.

Sanchez also tried to prohibit drive-thru and fast food establishments through an ACUP in the downtown area but withdrew her motion after none of the other council members backed her.

9 comments

Donna F McGinty March 6, 2020 at 9:05 am

Boy O Boy!! Now they have really made Joan, Shari, Diane, Shella, and many more of the Dem crew who protest these ideas, super smoking up in arms!!!!

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Ruth Ramirez March 6, 2020 at 2:58 pm

Born in raised in Oceanside I encourage change but to add more hotels or resorts so they can take what’s left of our coastal view is ridicule. Why not think of a boardwalk to bring in business to Oceanside.

Sky rises should be for areas east of el camino real not downtown.

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Chris Gault March 6, 2020 at 4:38 pm

Too bad we didn’t prohibit fast food like Sanchez wanted. We don’t need that or the cigar shop. All unhealthy options!

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B. Williamson March 7, 2020 at 6:15 am

IT IS ALREADY HELL DOWN THERE. OSIDE NOT OSIDE FOR A SMALL CITY ENJOYING OUR MILITARY AND CHEAP PRICES. U R PUSHINGVSMALL BUSSINESS OUT. THIS IS NOT SD OR LA. THE SAME PEOPLE AND FAMILIES THAT IS STILL HERE STRUGGLED AND SUPPORTED THE PAST BUSINESSES WHEN IT WAS WAY DOWN. OR MILITARY HAD TO LEAVE. MONEY RODRIGUEZ AND SUPPORTERS LOOKING FOR RECOGNITIONS AND PAY HIKES IN THIS COUNCIL. YET U KEEP CROWDING OUT HOUSING AND THESE HIGH AS CRAP BUSINESSES. WE WERE FINE WITH A FEW. U MAKE IT MISERABLE. THIS IS ALREADY TOO MUCH BUSINESSES AND CROWDED STREETS AND SPACES. .U RUN UP HOUSING COST FOR THE MEEK AND OTHERS. APTS SHOULD GO BACK TO 2001 COST. FREEZING IS STILL UNBEARABLE. THE HOMELESS BEINGVPUSHED DOWN TO VALLEY SUFFERING. JUST STOP IT. AN EARTHQUAKE IS GOING TO MAKE U ALL LOOK LIKE MATERIALISTIC, MONEY HUNGRY, FAILURES. NO SUCH THING AS EARTH QUAKE PROOF STRONGER THAN GOD. ALL U CAN SEE IS BLDGS, CARS, CROWDS. U R DESTROYING OSIDE LOVE OF LIFE. WE DONT NEED ALL THIS CRAP DOWN TOWN. GO OUT FARTHER. PLEASE. THINK ABOUT HUMANS U R COST PUSHING OUT OF THEIR HOMES AND AFFORDABLE LIFE NEEDS. ESTHER. R U WITH THE REAL OSIDE AGEING AND MID AGE YRS OF RESIDENCY AND SUPPORT TO U. WE ARE SICK OF IT. RESIDENTS NEED TO PROTEST AND VOTE NEW RELIABLE OSIDERS AGAINST ALL THIS. GO LOOK IN OTHER AREAS. LEAVE OUR ALREADY CROWED OVERWHELMED LIVES ALONG NOE.

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Jessica Donelli March 6, 2020 at 6:10 pm

This is awesome news! Go Oceanside:-)!!!

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Fred March 6, 2020 at 7:07 pm

I live downtown. None of these amendments improve the life of actual homeowners. Just helps the low end tourists and increases the already out of control homelessness. The area is a food desert. Better market options would actually improve the quality of the area. Along with better policing, cleaner sidewalks and more wholesome business options.

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Lynn Abate-Johnson March 7, 2020 at 11:27 am

Localization not gentrification.
I love and appreciate the local business vibe.
More healthy options in town would be fantastic.
Like “The Plot”, recently opened in South O.

Small business owners need all the help they can get.

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Kathy March 7, 2020 at 5:48 pm

Yes, Americans are in the midst of a Healthcare crisis, fast food and smoking have been proven to be key factors in causing this crisis. Sad

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Christine March 12, 2020 at 8:29 am

–Removing single-family dwellings from some subdistricts
–Adding animal facilities, ATMs and commercial recreation

What is an “animal facility”? What is “commercial recreation”? Why would the city “remove” single family swellings if they are in good repair? What we NEED is better access to fresh groceries in the DT area, NOT more drive-throughs!
I live downtown. We moved here from Carlsbad Village after 9 years because we were overrun by tourists, tourist-centered businesses and tourist prices more and more every year. We chose Oceanside Seaside District because it is an actual NEIGHBORHOOD of residents with lots of local businesses. I will be speaking up at the next available opportunity at City Council.

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