Condo development OK’d by planning commission as neighbors raise concerns

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. – A four-story condominium project got the green light Monday night from the Oceanside Planning Commission after much debate from residents who argue it doesn’t fit the neighborhood.

The commission voted 5-1 to approve the 54-unit project that’s proposed for a site on South Coast Highway and Morse Street, a property that’s currently home to several other entities, including an automotive service center. It marked the second time the commission discussed the project after tabling it late last month due to the large absence of commissioners.

But residents like Sherri Macklin say the large-scale project would be a poor fit while creating parking issues.

“We’re not against development,” Mackin said, “but it’s this particular project that will set precedent for what will happen to our neighborhood and it’s got to be right.”

Mackin and others part of the group “Save South O” voiced opposition to the project at Monday’s meeting.

Others like Dwight Bresemann, owner of LSI Automotive which will be forced to move due to the development, said he’s fine with the change.

“It’s expected,” Bresemann said. “Nothing stays the same. I’m sure we will be OK. I’m sure we are going to find another building to rent.”

The main issue for opponents was parking and density. Developers with Hallmark Development Corp. are proposing 77 parking spaces, including those for commercial use, but some say that’s not going to be enough.

The project qualifies for a density bonus which allows for more units because it includes five low-income ones and is located near a transit center.

“It’s a well-designed project on an infill site near transit, it’s providing much-needed housing, obviously providing affordable housing, a project that meets the city’s zoning code and state law,” said Dan Niebaum, vice president of planning for Lightfoot Planning Group. “We designed architecture and landscape to create a significantly improved streetscape.”

“The staff report seems to be written around the fact that they are going to put in five low-income units and they are trying to justify that. I understand that, that’s their job, but it’s also their job to protect the existing neighborhood,” said Colleen Balch, who opposes the housing project.

One person, a real estate developer, supported the proposal.

“If they are following the rules that are prescribed and it is denied, the message that sends is a concerning one to people in the business community,”  said Noam Newsom, who supported the project.

City leaders said their hands are tied as they need to meet state housing requirements including more than 30 bills signed by Gov. Newsom just last month. The city attorney said the commission could only veto if the project violated health and safety code which it did not.

The project will be heard at an upcoming Oceanside City Council meeting.

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