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Coast highway eventually down to one lane through Oceanside

Mid-block crosswalks, roundabouts, cutback in traffic lights

Zone spans from Seagaze Drive to the north and ends at Morse Street to the south.
Zone spans from Seagaze Drive to the north and ends at Morse Street to the south.

Oceanside's newly certified Coast Highway Incentive District paves the way for big changes along the corridor, including housing. It comes after a long struggle to address the Coastal Commission's concerns that threatened to undo the project.

In April, the proposed amendment to the Local Coastal Plan was withdrawn over the commission's recommendation to address lower-cost overnight lodging. The plan was submitted twice and the city agreed to a dozen changes before it was approved last week at a commission meeting held in San Diego.

The Incentive District is an optional zoning program developers can apply to projects in lieu of existing zoning requirements. (Currently, the majority of it is zoned General Commercial with two sites zoned Visitor-Serving Commercial). It spans from Seagaze Drive to the north and ends at Morse Street to the south and includes all properties within one block east of Coast Highway and two blocks west of Coast Highway. 

One of its most important goals is to bring housing to the corridor by promoting multifamily development close to major transit stations. Business owners support the plan for adding workforce housing.

Another major vision for the corridor is to transform the highway into a multi-modal street, narrowed to one lane in each direction, with bike lanes, mid-block crosswalks and roundabouts that replace traffic lights at many intersections.

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The commission had suggested modifications to prevent the plan from limiting public beach access, as lanes are reduced and new development takes over. "As proposed, there is the potential that the Coast Highway Corridor could be redeveloped with low-priority uses that would decrease public access and recreational opportunities within a critical section of the city’s coastal zone."

City staff said the revitalized corridor — 15 years in the making — will increase access by making it safer and easier to cross Coast Highway, and to reach businesses on both sides.

The plan streamlines development review, expands by-right land uses, reduces parking and setback requirements, and allows taller buildings and more density in some areas.

The Incentive District has three separate community types. "Nodes," areas near transit and/or freeway and coastal access, allow commercial uses, residential density, and taller buildings; "Avenues" are segments of Coast Highway between nodes that have lower-profile development and larger building setbacks and landscape areas; and "Commercial Villages" have low-intensity commercial use and low-profile development.

Among the changes meant to protect coastal access, the city agreed to give priority to developments that include public recreational opportunities, maintain existing lower-cost lodging, and ensure that new hotels and motels provide rooms for a wide variety of income ranges.

The modifications must be brought before the city council for adoption before the Incentive District will be operative, says Russ Cunningham, Oceanside principal planner. "I’m going to try to get the modifications in front of the city council within the next two months."

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Zone spans from Seagaze Drive to the north and ends at Morse Street to the south.
Zone spans from Seagaze Drive to the north and ends at Morse Street to the south.

Oceanside's newly certified Coast Highway Incentive District paves the way for big changes along the corridor, including housing. It comes after a long struggle to address the Coastal Commission's concerns that threatened to undo the project.

In April, the proposed amendment to the Local Coastal Plan was withdrawn over the commission's recommendation to address lower-cost overnight lodging. The plan was submitted twice and the city agreed to a dozen changes before it was approved last week at a commission meeting held in San Diego.

The Incentive District is an optional zoning program developers can apply to projects in lieu of existing zoning requirements. (Currently, the majority of it is zoned General Commercial with two sites zoned Visitor-Serving Commercial). It spans from Seagaze Drive to the north and ends at Morse Street to the south and includes all properties within one block east of Coast Highway and two blocks west of Coast Highway. 

One of its most important goals is to bring housing to the corridor by promoting multifamily development close to major transit stations. Business owners support the plan for adding workforce housing.

Another major vision for the corridor is to transform the highway into a multi-modal street, narrowed to one lane in each direction, with bike lanes, mid-block crosswalks and roundabouts that replace traffic lights at many intersections.

Sponsored
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The commission had suggested modifications to prevent the plan from limiting public beach access, as lanes are reduced and new development takes over. "As proposed, there is the potential that the Coast Highway Corridor could be redeveloped with low-priority uses that would decrease public access and recreational opportunities within a critical section of the city’s coastal zone."

City staff said the revitalized corridor — 15 years in the making — will increase access by making it safer and easier to cross Coast Highway, and to reach businesses on both sides.

The plan streamlines development review, expands by-right land uses, reduces parking and setback requirements, and allows taller buildings and more density in some areas.

The Incentive District has three separate community types. "Nodes," areas near transit and/or freeway and coastal access, allow commercial uses, residential density, and taller buildings; "Avenues" are segments of Coast Highway between nodes that have lower-profile development and larger building setbacks and landscape areas; and "Commercial Villages" have low-intensity commercial use and low-profile development.

Among the changes meant to protect coastal access, the city agreed to give priority to developments that include public recreational opportunities, maintain existing lower-cost lodging, and ensure that new hotels and motels provide rooms for a wide variety of income ranges.

The modifications must be brought before the city council for adoption before the Incentive District will be operative, says Russ Cunningham, Oceanside principal planner. "I’m going to try to get the modifications in front of the city council within the next two months."

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