Oceanside approves 4-story, 54-unit condominium on Coast Road

The Oceanside Planning Commission this week approved a 4-story, 54-unit condominium with ground-level commercial uses on the South Coast Freeway, despite widespread opposition from neighborhood residents.

City staff informed the commission and residents that the Hallmark Development Corp. meets all city requirements and state law protects the developer’s right to build. Denial could force the city into a costly legal battle.

“I don’t think there is enough parking, but the developer followed all the guidelines,” said Commissioner Louise Balma. “If we send it back, it would just be approved at a greater cost and with more delay. “

The 42-foot-tall building would stand on the site of a former automotive hub on the southeast corner of South Coast Highway and Morse Street, now home to LSI Automotive, Ghetto Choppers, a repair shop for carburetors and a smog testing facility. The existing structures would be demolished.

The site sits across Morse Street from Vista Del Mar, a 38 three-story townhouse community that opened in 2019 on a property that was previously a trailer park. The rest of the neighborhood is mostly made up of older, small single-family homes.

Several residents said the new townhouses have insufficient parking and the proposed condominiums will overwhelm nearby streets with vehicles.

“Most people have two cars, and a lot of people have three cars,” said Stacy Black, a Marshall Street resident. “You don’t have enough parking spaces for the people who live there now. “

The Planning Commission reviewed the project at its previous meeting two weeks earlier, when the matter was continued after a 2-2 vote on whether to reject the project. All but one of the 14 speakers opposed the project and the only supporter lived outside of Oceanside.

Commissioners listened to residents again on Monday and then voted 5-1 for approval, with Robyn Goodkind opposed and Joshua Raines absent. The decision is final unless appealed to the town hall.

“I understand the need for housing and I understand state law,” Goodkind said, (however), “We are allowed to ask the developer to come back to the drawing board and review the project to verify its compatibility with the neighborhood. “

The size and scale of the project is incompatible with the neighborhood and could create a safety concern in an area with single-family homes and a primary school nearby, she said. South Oceanside Elementary is a few blocks away on Cassidy and Horne streets.

City planner Jeff Hunt said the project could only be turned down “on the basis of a quantifiable written or numerical standard” and the project exceeded applicable standards. It has more than the minimum number of onsite parking spaces and is less than the maximum height and number of units.

Commission Chairman Tom Rosales said he had seen dramatic changes as a resident of Oceanside for 30 years and the city’s evolution was not always easy.

“It’s not always a smooth transition,” Rosales said. “I am very aware of the impacts on the old neighborhoods… but in the end we have to make a decision.

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