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Workshop held to get input on overlay area

OCEANSIDE — A workshop to gather
community input on a proposed Arts, Technology, Environment overlay district in South Oceanside was held April 26. The concept of a live/work art community where metal sculptors, neighborhood book publishers and community gathering places are nestled between buildings, was introduced.
“Visions are critically important, we never had that for downtown,” Joan Bockman, Oceanside resident, said.
Buildings currently in the proposed overlay area vary in period and design and do not present a distinguishable neighborhood character. To gain an idea of how the community would like to see the overlay area develop, residents were asked to check building designs they preferred from a series of architecture photos. There was also an interactive map of proposed overlay plans that residents were encouraged to write comments on and mark their opinions on with green “yes” dots and red “no” dots.
“We can’t just drop things in a place and hope it works, we’ve tried that,” John McDonald, president and CEO of Partners for Innovative Community, said. “We have a rare opportunity to do it right now.”
The overlay district will be an option for property owners in the Wisconsin Street to Oceanside Boulevard area adjacent to Coast Highway 101. Incentives will be developed and developers will take on costs of construction.
“The overlay is a good way to encourage people,” Planning Commissioner Robert Neal, said. “It’s a win-win for property owners and people who are going to move down there.”
Some residents expressed concern about the possible enforcement of eminent domain and the rocky road between present development and future plans. “We will guide the area in changing,” Amy Fousekis, city principal planner, said. “The overlay is an option at the discretion of individual property owners. There will be no eminent domain. This is not an attempt for any land assembly. We will not force individuals or businesses out.”
Community feedback will be presented at the next Arts, Technology, Environment District workshop May 24.