ENCINITAS — A proposed renovation of a Shell gas station on Leucadia Boulevard is working its way back to city decision makers nearly two years after the City Council rejected its previous project.
But a group of residents who spearheaded the opposition said the current project is still problematic.
The Encinitas Planning Commission got a preview of the proposal on Feb. 1 when the body was asked to decide how to interpret whether the city code would allow a mini-mart bigger than 2,000 square feet.
Previously, S&L Oil, Inc., which owns the Shell Station on the corner of Leucadia Boulevard and Interstate 5, proposed a self-service car wash along with a convenience store. The Planning Commission rejected the project and the City Council upheld the commission’s decision based on concerns that the project would be too noisy, snarl traffic and didn’t fit Leucadia’s eclectic character.
The current project doesn’t include a car wash, but includes a 3,000-square-foot building that stands 29 feet high, just under the city’s height limits for two-story buildings. The building would be in various shades of gray with stone accents, though the designs presented weren’t the final ones that would come before the commission.
Marco Gonzalez, an attorney representing the developer, said he believed the building met the intent of the city’s code — which was recently revised as part of a so-called omnibus code cleanup — which was to limit the retail area to 2,000 feet, or 15 percent of the “total gross floor area,” whichever is less. The building, he said, included non-retail features that shouldn’t be included in the calculation.
A handful of residents — who also opposed the first project — said they believed the city’s intent was clear in the new code language.
“The language was pretty clear and does not allow for a flexible interpretation,” said Susan Turney, who lives near the gas station. “They don’t want you to think you’re walking into a 2,000-square-foot store, they want you to walk into a 2,000-square-foot store.”
The Planning Commission asked staff to bring back alternate code language that would clarify the question about size by making it more in line with the average mini-mart in town.