OCEANSIDE — Developers of a proposed apartment complex and mixed-use development are hoping to address residents’ traffic concerns by installing turn lanes and road connectors near the site’s location at the busy intersection of Crouch Street and Oceanside Boulevard.
According to developer JPI Companies, the project intends to install a left turn lane from Crouch to South Oceanside Boulevard, and connect a small segment of South Oceanside Boulevard at Crouch Street to the other segment of South Oceanside Boulevard near State Tree Drive.
The developer decided to make this change to its traffic plans after hearing from residents at a community engagement meeting in November of last year.
The nearly 13-acre, 49-foot tall, four-story Ocean Creek project would include 295 apartment units, ranging from 531-square foot studios to 1,301-square foot, three-bedroom units — the bulk of which would consist of one and two-bedroom apartments. An additional 3,000 square feet of commercial or retail space would be included as part of the project’s mixed-use development plans.
The project is identified as a Transit Priority Project (TPP) and is included in the city’s Housing Element and the Oceanside Boulevard Master Plan. SANDAG has identified the project site as a smart growth opportunity due to its location next to the Crouch Street Sprinter Station, which would reduce the need for vehicles.
Still, for nearby residents who frequently use the Crouch and Oceanside Boulevard intersection, they fear the development will only worsen traffic there.
“It’s one of the worst intersections in Oceanside,” said Nadine Scott, who lives in the nearby Loma Alta neighborhood.
Northbound Crouch Street intersects South Oceanside Boulevard to the left, then Skylark Drive to the right. The Sprinter train line also intersects Crouch Street just before reaching the intersection at Oceanside Boulevard.
The project is still in the review process. So far the developer has submitted materials three times to the city, the last of which was in the fall. The city returned comments in November on several items including the need for additional parking and traffic measures.
“Essentially, the city is waiting for the applicant to submit revised materials,” said Stefanie Cervantes, the city planner who is reviewing the Ocean Creek project.
Cervantes said the developers submitted a local transportation analysis that has not been approved yet. She noted that comments sent back to the developer included the need for more intersections and additional traffic counts during school start and dismissal times, which is something Scott and other nearby residents wanted to happen.
“The traffic analysis was done during the quarantine period for schools, so it didn’t measure school traffic at all,” Scott said. “The study must be redone now that students are back.”
Scott also said she would like to see the project connect the separated segments of South Oceanside Boulevard if approved.
William Morrison, development director of JPI, believes the connection of South Oceanside Boulevard, and the left turn lane on Crouch Street, will help ease traffic congestion as well as address some of the city’s concerns.
“We’re alleviating some of the issues in our traffic analysis because of the South Oceanside Boulevard connection,” Morrison said.
Morrison also noted his team is working with the city on affordable housing requirements and is leaning toward providing such units on-site rather than on a separate development. He added that the project would not be providing Section 8 housing.
Still, residents remain concerned about potential traffic and safety issues regarding the project. A website called protectfiremountain.com is gathering signatures to demonstrate the residents’ opposition to both the Ocean Creek development and a smaller density bonus project on Whaley Street that is also currently being reviewed by the city.
CORRECTION: The article previously stated Nadine Scott lived in Fire Mountain. However, she clarified that she lives in the Loma Alta neighborhood, right next to Fire mountain and still in close proximity to the proposed development.