Oceanside residents protest development proposal

Local

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A new plan that would add more than 1,800 homes in an Oceanside neighborhood is not being welcomed by a group of residents.

Protesters gathered Tuesday outside an Oceanside Planning Commission meeting, waving signs and in an effort to bring attention to the proposed change. 

The South Morro Hills Community Plan proposes a change to the current zoning that allows one home for every 2.5 acres. The new proposal aims to shrink the acreage to one acre needed for a single home. The area in question sits north of state Route 76 and west of Olive Hill Road.

“1,862 houses means that the valley is going to turn into what I call southern Orange County,” said Joe Hill, a resident leading the fight to stop farmers from developing their land into housing. “There’s going to be no farming anymore. It’s just going to be houses for miles as you can see.”

Staff members say their goal to revitalize the farming corridors first priority was to save the farmlands as best they could, potentially taking five units of housing and putting it on a single-acre cluster, leaving four acres for continued farming.

Some residents say that is exactly what Oceanside needs to support housing and to create a more robust tax base.

“It’s looking at the future and it’s creating progress instead of being locked into the old way, which is no longer working for farmers,” said Michelle, a resident who supports the change. 

A similar proposal was attempted last election cycle with Measure L, but voters rejected the measure.

The city council is only listening to the public and expert input at this point. No vote has been taken.

The South Morro Hills Community Plan will be a major test for farmers and developers to attempt to find a middle ground with local residents.

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