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Column: You’re now entering the development zone

Welcome to the development form the Twilight Zone. 

Dixie Street is a one-block residential street just south of the MiraCosta College adult learning center on Mission Avenue. Long-timers know this land used to house greenhouses owned by the Nakano family.

They would grow tomato seedlings that would be used by the Singh family farms in the San Luis Rey Valley.

So imagine my surprise to find that this 3.6-acre plot was getting bulldozed for a new development. I hadn’t heard that a new development was going in.

But what do you know; the bulldozers are going to town.

Back in 2005 something called Dixie Village was approved. But shortly after approval, the funding fell through.

The developers cried poverty and got a series of two-year postponements.

Eight years later, and without any fanfare, they have gotten the capital and …are you sitting down… this 3.6 acre parcel with nine regular lots is now getting developed to accommodate 35 detached family units.

You don’t have to be a city planner to know that this is an obscenely high-density development.

Greg Root, president of the Loma Alta Homeowners association recalls that at the time he fought in vain to keep this super dense development from happening. But I want to know who approved this. Was this one last gift from former Mayor Terry Johnson that he left us just before getting voted out of office?

No one at City Hall seems to remember the details. If you do, please email me and fill in the details.


**A Toy Story**

Whether you have children or not, I implore you to check out this surprising find in downtown Oceanside.

Right across the street from the old post office (at 110 S. Freeman), an Iraq war veteran with 12 years in the USMC has opened a very cool toy store.

Eric Orezechowski just launched North County Hobby and Toys, using his own money to rent the storefront and stock the place with very cool earth-friendly toys, most of which were made in the USA.

It was the fact that so many American kids had become video game zombies that inspired him to want to offer toys that were educational or sparked creativity.

There are Lincoln Log-style kits, place mats for kids to solve puzzles or learn states or presidents while eating. “Crazy Forts” lets kids create their own miniature fort just as they would with blankets and chairs.

Orezechowski found his toys through ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailers Association). “They help out smaller retailers like me,” he said.

There was not even a sign out front on a recent visit. He’s working on it. But please check out this very unique brand new store. He’s open Wednesday through Sunday. Call (760) 529-1732 for times.

Longtime locals will recall that you have go back to the ‘60s for Oceanside’s last toy store. House of Toys was in a now-razed building on the 1700 block of S. Coast Highway, roughly where the old Blade-Citizen building is. The House of Toys was in front, while Alan’s Bike Shop sold Schwinns in the back.

This was the place where for $1.25 you could get a meticulously painted Lotus Matchbox car. There were Super Balls and Flubber (before that malleable goo inspired by a Fred McMurray movie was recalled for causing skin rashes). They had those plastic scuba men whose legs would move so he could swim in the bathtub. Every type of model cars and boats were on hand, and there was plenty of balsa for those inclined to make their own planes.

Oceanside born and raised, Ken Leighton writes columns for The Coast News, the San Diego Reader and is an Oceanside business owner. He may be reached at [email protected]