CARLSBAD — Council approved the building of six condominiums on a vacant lot on Madison Street at a meeting Tuesday.
The Beachwalk at Madison project will have two separate contemporary buildings, each housing three separate units with three bedrooms and three bathrooms.
“The buildings are separated into two buildings for more of a residential feel,” the developer, Geoff McComic of Vesta Pacific Development, said.
They will all be about 1,600 square feet, with two slightly smaller units.
Each unit will have a two-car garage.
The condos will be built south of Laguna Drive on the east side of Madison Street. The majority of the surrounding buildings are residential.
McComic said small in-fill projects can be challenging because once all of the setback requirements are met, there is less space to build on and it reduces the flexibility of the design.
Two Planning Commissioners voted against the project, because of the design at a meeting on Feb. 4.
Commissioner Velyn Anderson said the project looked too industrial.
Vesta Pacific staff changed the design after the commission raised concerns. City Associate Planner Shannon Wernecke said city staff was happy with the compromises made.
Some of the roofs were changed from flat to gable and shed style and the materials on the street facing walls were switched.
Mayor Matt Hall agreed with the two dissenting commissioners and said he didn’t think the upgrades were sufficient.
“I cannot approve the project because I don’t believe the applicant has made sufficient effort to enrich the buildings with architectural features and details as required by the Village Master Plan,” Hall said.
McComic said the project does follow the Master Plan guidelines and exceeds some of the recommendations, including that for outdoor living space.
“Each unit in the project has three times the necessary outdoor living space,” McComic said. “It maintains almost 55 percent open space.”
Associate Planner Wernecke said the balconies, porches and landscaping provide architectural relief.
“In staff’s opinion, with the change of materials and color, we are satisfied with the design that’s currently proposed,” Wernecke said.
All of the other councilmembers approved the project.
Councilman Michael Schumacher said that the council is continuously seeing projects with extremely different architectural styles.
“A couple of planning commissioners had a few concerns (with this project), the project that came before this was a different architectural style and so on and so forth. Those have had concerns and I think part of it is because there are a lot of architectural styles allowed in the Village,” Schumacher said.
Wernecke said she hopes part of the Master Plan Update will include architectural style guidelines.
The Master Plan update was started in 2008 and the city has been in the process of getting public feedback.
“When I think what the Village is going to look like in 30 years, we’re missing a common thread, is it landscaping, a certain type of stone? There should be something that ties the buildings together even if they have different architectural styles,” Schumacher said.
City Manager Steve Sarkozy said the process to add an architectural style to the plan is complex and a Community Workshop would likely need to be held.
The Master Plan draft will come out in May or June.