OCEANSIDE: Planners approve Oceana-area condo project

By: CRAIG TENBROECK - Staff Writer
Developers refine plans after talking to wildlife agencies, neighbors | Tuesday, March 25, 2008 12:49 AM PDT

OCEANSIDE -- The Planning Commission on Monday approved plans for a 158-unit condominium complex sandwiched between the Oceana retirement community and Highway 76.

The project, dubbed Oceanpointe, has been in the planning stages for years.

The original site plan, submitted four years ago, called for nearly 200 units on the hilly, 36-acre property southeast of the highway and Stage Coach Road, said Sophia Kollias, a consultant working on the project for the developer.

But after meeting with wildlife agencies, city staffers and representatives from the surrounding neighborhoods, the developers -- Los Angeles-based Michael Naim and Solana Beach-based Hallmark Communities -- scaled back the plans.

"This is a whole study on compromise," Commissioner Louise Balma said before the unanimous vote.

More than half of the land, which is currently vacant and spotted with wildflowers, will be preserved as open space, city staffers said.

Several residents of the surrounding communities, including Oceana, a 932-unit, seniors-only subdivision immediately south of the property, addressed the commissioners during Monday's meeting.

Several worried about added traffic, and a few complained about the possible loss of their views. But others praised the developer for taking their concerns seriously while refining the plans.

To ease some of the neighbors' traffic concerns, the developer has agreed to install traffic signals on Rancho del Oro Drive at San Ramon Drive and at the intersection of El Camino Real and Vista Rey, city staffers said.

Those conditions convinced Oceana resident Lou Bales, a longtime critic of the project, to begrudgingly accept it.

"I'm not happy about it," Bales said before the meeting. "But I'll go along with it."

The developers still need to obtain permits from wildlife agencies before grading. Kollias said work should start within two years.

-- Contact staff writer Craig TenBroeck at (760) 901-4062 or ctenbroeck@nctimes.com.

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