Council OKs plans for ‘rural’ senior community

OCEANSIDE — Council OK’d plans for a “rural” senior living community tucked away from the hustle and bustle of town on the corner of Mission Avenue and Melrose Drive in a 3-1 vote April 1. Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted against and Mayor Jim Wood was absent.
Prior to council approval of the ClubLife Senior Living project, there was opposition to the project being too isolated for seniors who may no longer drive, and not a good fit for the surrounding community.
During the four-year planning process, ClubLife’s six-building, three- and four-story condominium project was modified to be a better fit for its location between Home Depot and residential neighborhoods, Juliana von Hacht, associate planner, said.
The mass bulk and height of the ClubLife facility was modified to include Juliet balconies, lower and varied building heights and pop out fronts, von Hacht said.
Required scenic park and equestrian overlays were also addressed, von Hacht said. Buildings do not obstruct views, natural materials and colors are incorporated in the design, and public streets provide equestrian trails, von Hacht added.
“The site itself is rather constrained,” von Hacht said. Split zoning limits what can be developed on the site.
Alternative suitable development would be low-end retail or office buildings, von Hacht said.
“It’s the right kind of use to put on this site,” Ann Gunter of Lightfoot Planning Group said. “It’s a good transitional use between the commercial use and multifamily use.”
A handful of community members raised concerns about whether the planned senior living community will be a success.
“I’m alarmed about it becoming rentals,” Joan Brubaker, an Oceanside resident, said. Brubaker compared the facility to a nearby condominium complex that she said presently has 40 percent of its units in foreclosure.
The approved 180-unit ClubLife facility gives senior residents shared ownership of units and allows them homeowner tax write-offs.
Facility amenities include a central community building, a dining hall, underground parking, a shuttle service, and low-water landscaping.
Councilman Jerry Kern voiced his support for the project that serves the growing senior population with a lot of amenities. “That’s what boomers want,” Kern said.
The project was approved 7-0 by the Planning Commission prior to the council vote.

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