Oceanside discusses future plans for Goat Hill property

OCEANSIDE — Four developers shared their vision plans for the Center City Golf Course site, commonly called Goat Hill, in response to the city’s request for proposals at a workshop Wednesday. 

Some call the golf course, which sits east of Interstate 5 and south of Mission Avenue, an eyesore. Landscaping is under watered, signs are hand painted, and the 18-hole course — packed into a site originally designed as a nine-hole golf course on steep terrain — is considered dangerous by many.

The golf course is also noted for its stellar ocean views, reasonable $10 rates and charm.

The city is currently earning about $20,000 a year on the site. The request for proposals was issued to see if there was a better use for the land.

“The city can’t keep taking losses when we’re having economic issues,” Mayor Jim Wood said. “It helps us find out what’s on the market.”

Out of the four responses, two proposals sought to improve the golf course, and two plans offered to develop a mixed-use project on the site.

After hearing brief presentations from developers the council gave city staff direction to check what can be legally developed on city parkland, and tasked staff to set up public meetings to collect more community input.

The mixed-use proposals have not been nixed, but are unlikely to be approved since the land is city park space. If the land is used for a mixed-use project, voters must approve the development plan.

“Anything other than recreational use would require a vote of the people,” City Manager Peter Weiss said.

Stirling Development proposed a mixed-use plan that includes an action sports complex, health and wellness facilities and walking trails.

Stirling Development submitted a similar proposal to develop the El Corazon site and has developed Ocean Ranch Corporate Center in Oceanside.

Pacific Coast Village proposed a mixed-use project that includes retail stores, a hotel, walkways, and a cement bottom creek meandering between shops.

The more likely choice for development of the parkland is one of the two plans to renovate the golf course and add additional amenities.

Goat Hill Partners proposed a redesigned golf course by golf architect Tom Doak, with a new clubhouse, two-story restaurant, six-hole kids course, community vegetable garden, and botanical garden.

“Great cities in the world don’t turn over all their green space and turn them into concrete,” John Ashworth, of Goat Hill Partners, said. “It can be a destination location to come play.”

GolfLinks proposed a redesigned championship golf course layout, clubhouse, hotel, and profit splits with the city.

“We have experience reviving bad golf courses,” Larry Taylor, of GolfLinks, said. “We know exactly what we’re doing. We make things happen without spending a lot of money. With a little loving care it can be a wonderful facility.”

The 76-acres of land was donated to the city by the Bledsoe family with the provision the land be used as open space or parkland unless a citizen vote OK’d another land use.

A 12.5-acre site on Mission Avenue was also donated to the city and later sold and developed with the unfulfilled promise that money would go towards developing Goat Hill.

Janet Bledsoe Lacy reminded council of the past promise and urged them to keep Goat Hill parkland.

“They don’t make land any more,” she added.

Additional workshop dates have not yet been set.

 

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