OCEANSIDE — The Planning Commission voted to deny the EIR, plan and permit for a proposed 99-room hotel on the northwest side of Oceanside Boulevard just off I-5 on Jan. 22.
The build called for a zone change from residential to commercial. Commissioners will vote on a final resolution Feb. 12.
One vote in favor of the Fairfield Inn and Suites development came from Commissioner Louise Balma. She said the zoning change makes sense for the vacant 2.32-acre site between Vine Street and Clementine Street, which has views of a mobile home park and is impacted by train noise.
Balma said concerns of project traffic impacts, traffic safety, slope steepness and other issues have been addressed by the builder since the prior Planning Commission review in June 2016.
A resident-requested traffic median and turn lane would be added on Oceanside Boulevard to accommodate vehicles exiting from the hotel.
The decorative rock retaining wall would be moved forward to create a more gradual slope. Grading will be redone, underground parking will be included and sidewalks will be added up to the Nevada Street intersection.
“It’s definitely well-designed compared to the first time (the Fairfield Inn and Suites was reviewed by the Planning Commission),” Balma said.
Balma said the hotel project is a good fit for the site, and its transit occupancy tax would benefit the city.
“It will generate revenues for police, fire, parks, things that people want,” Balma said.
Other commissioners said mitigation measures are not enough to resolve concerns and the project’s incompatibility with the neighborhood.
Commissioner Dennis Martinek was one of six commissioners who voted against the project Jan. 22. “It’s unsafe and too large (for the site),” Martinek said.
Residents also shared concerns about the proposed Fairfield Inn and Suites.
Opposition to the project was voiced by owners of hilltop homes that sit 40 feet above the site, and owners of mobile homes on the south side of Oceanside Boulevard.
An additional concern residents raised was a possible noise increase from train sounds echoing off of the hotel. Balma said she does not think that would happen due to the varied building facade and high number of trees in the landscape.
Balma said she also disagrees with residents who label the project commercial sprawl. “Not at that location,” Balma said.
Residents suggested high-end housing would be a better neighborhood fit. Balma said housing would also create traffic impacts, and it would be less likely for a residential developer to make roadway improvements.
Martinek said he does not have a recommendation for a type of development that would fit the irregular shape site. “I don’t know what would be good there,” Martinek said. “Some sites cannot be built on, that might be one of them.”
City staff recommended the Planning Commission approve the Fairfield Inn and Suites project. City Council will review the hotel project and make a final decision at a future date.