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New Oceanside city clerk sworn into office

OCEANSIDE — A newly appointed city clerk was sworn in during the council’s Feb. 27 meeting.

Zeb Navarro, longtime Oceanside resident and station manager at KKSM Palomar College Radio, immediately took over his new role as city clerk after he was sworn into the position.

Navarro will serve the remaining two years of former city clerk Zack Beck’s term ending in December 2020. Beck was originally re-elected as city clerk in 2016 for a four-year term, but left his role in Oceanside at the beginning of 2019 for a city clerk position in Escondido.

Oceanside’s city clerk is a part-time position with an annual salary of $24,182.

“I’m here to serve you and the citizens of Oceanside,” Navarro told the public after he was sworn into office.

Following Navarro’s swearing in, City Council approved the sale of 2.08 acres of city-owned, vacant land located on the north side of Vista Way between Lile Street and North Way for $650,000 to Pacific Group.

According to city staff, the property is remnant parcels of land purchased by the city for the relocation of Vista Way to accommodate the widening of state Route 78. Originally, the property had age-restricted residential duplexes that were later demolished as part of the 78 widening project.

On Feb. 19, 2003, City Council declared the property as “surplus” and “no longer needed for public use.”

Pacific Group sent an “unsolicited letter of interest” to acquire the property last year. The corporation wants to build up to nine age-restricted duplexes comprised of 18 residential units on the property. The group would also sell or rent the units to residents based on market conditions once construction is complete.  

According to city staff, Pacific Group “has approximately 40 years of experience in development and construction, and has participated in numerous joint ventures during that time.”

Once the property is sold for residential development, the property would once again join real estate property tax rolls for the city.

The council item was originally included in the agenda’s consent calendar but was pulled for public comment. Council approved the item 4-1 with Councilwoman Esther Sanchez opposed.

Two residents of Costa Serena, an Oceanside community for ages 55 and older, raised concerns about the traffic such as speeding and running red lights along Vista Way and how the new units would affect that.

Sanchez explained her opposition was because she wanted council to discuss turning the property into a park for Costa Serena residents before agreeing to sell the property. She noted Costa Serena residents don’t have a “common area” and often walk along Vista Way.

“Talking about it being a park should have been done by now, in my opinion,” said Councilman Chris Rodriguez. “We are short on senior housing, so I look forward to seeing the sale go through and what we can do with this land to add more senior housing to Oceanside.”