OCEANSIDE — There are no planned eminent domain buyouts and no final word on building heights, but there are firm guidelines for future development along the downtown stretch of Coast Highway 101.
City Council OK’d the Coast Highway Vision Plan in a 4-1 vote April 15. Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted against.
“Right now when you arrive in Oceanside, it doesn’t look like much,” Neal Payton, a consultant with Torti Gallas and Partners, Inc., said.
The Coast Highway Vision Plan clusters future development in four activity areas linked by
pedestrian-, bike- and auto-friendly roadways and roundabouts.
The vision to revitalize Coast Highway was developed during a year of stakeholder interviews, developer forums and community meetings, Amy Volzke, principal planner with the city of Oceanside, said.
The vision plan does not include recommendations for the Miramar Mobile Home Park or Oceanside Harbor.
The plan calls for a proposed technology, arts and environment district in the south Oceanside “node,” and highlights the Sprinter Station and Transit Center transportation “nodes” in the heart of downtown.
“Oceanside has the best train service south of Los Angeles,” Payton said. “That’s very unusual for a city this size.”
Community members showed strong support for the Coast Highway Vision Plan.
Twenty-six residents spoke in favor of the plan and gave kudos to its pedestrian-friendly “destination” design.
“It’s the best I’ve seen our community do so far,” John Daley, an Oceanside resident and business owner, said. “It’s a plan at the right time, done by the right people.”
“The adoption of a vision plan saves everyone money, with the city knowing which plans will fit in,” Chuck Lowery, an Oceanside resident and business owner, said.
Future development will be market-driven, based on the interest of buyers and sellers.
The vision plan sets guidelines to make redevelopment more cohesive and streamline the process of project approvals.
While the vision plan calls for varied building heights and parking decisions to be made in cooperation with area homeowners, details cannot be finalized until projects are proposed.
The final “unknowns” are what concern many residents who support the plan in general.
“I don’t mind losing some of my view for a beautiful Coast Highway,” Kimberly Wascher, an Oceanside resident, said. “(But) I don’t want to see five-story buildings.”
“This is a work in progress,” Councilman Jerry Kern said. “There are zone changes and other things we can plan. This is a great vision.”
The next step is for the city to conduct a traffic study and develop a transportation design for Coast Highway.