OCEANSIDE — Three building requests were screened at a Planning Workshop on May 14, in order to give early feedback to developers.
An overview of the Villa Storia, Melrose Heights, and Kawano/Nagata development projects were shared.
City Council comments ranged from concerns that proposed land uses changes would not benefit the city jobs to housing ratio, to the project being a good fit.
Mayor Jim Wood and City Manager Steve Jepsen were at the city command center, which was concurrently meeting to address county wildfire outbreaks.
The Villa Storia project that is located off Mission Avenue, adjacent to the San Luis Rey Mission parish, proposes 450 housing units, 10 percent of which would be inclusionary housing, and an open space area on the 35.6-acre site.
Included in the plan are street improvements to Academy Road, located within the project site, and part of Mission Avenue, as well as developing a community park within the open space area.
A housing density increase was requested to accommodate housing that would range from medium to high density.
Project spokesperson Ninia Hammond said development would keep the site a special place, with visually pleasing roadway improvements and a one-acre park.
Community concerns included the high volume of traffic high-density housing would bring to the single access road, and the project’s proximity to the mission.
“I’m not in favor of wall to wall development,” Oceanside resident Ione Elsner said. “It doesn’t fit in my opinion.”
Councilman Jerry Kern said he would like an exact count of houses that will be developed, and asked that a traffic study on the impact of that number of houses be done.
He added the project that sits 900 feet away from Mission San Luis Rey would need to comply with the design requirements of being within a historic overlay district.
“It is located within a historic overlay district, and there are architectural guidelines,” Kern said. “We will not let anyone get off of that.”
The Melrose Heights project proposes a total of 700 housing units, and open space on the 72.1-acre site on Melrose Avenue and Oceanside Boulevard, which abuts Vista.
A request was made to change a corner parcel of the property from commercial to residential. A study by a marketing group hired by the developer found the parcel is not economically viable to start a business at this time.
Kern, Councilman Gary Felein, and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said they would like to see the parcel within the project remain commercial.
“With our low jobs to housing ratio our main priority is keeping commercial zoning,” Sanchez said.
The Kawano/Nagata project on North River Road, between Avenida Descanso and Calle Montecito, plans to put in high density housing on the 25.6 acre site, and is requesting a zoning change from light industrial to high-density residential.
Resident Jimmy Knott questioned the change in zoning that could tilt the jobs to housing ratio in a negative direction.
He said changing business property to residential zoning is “chopping away” at the ratio.
Kern and Councilman Jack Feller said the site by the Transit Center would suit high-density housing. Feller said the parcel zoned for light industrial use is now a parking lot that does not have sufficient access to be a viable business site.
Sanchez suggested mixed-use development on the site.
Halfway through the workshop the major stopped in and made a brief announcement that the city had declared a state of emergency in order to secure additional aid for firefighting efforts.
The workshop, which was not in the path of the ongoing fire, continued at City Hall.
The Planning Commission heard and recommended all projects to go forward on April 7.
City Council’s role during the May 14 workshop was to provide recommendations, and did not include a vote to approve or reject the projects.