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Nearly 24 years after the city of Oceanside last made a comprehensive update to its land-use plan, the City Council increasingly finds itself tweaking the zoning for individual parcels on a case-by-case basis. Some neighborhood groups and community activists say the city’s lack of an updated plan represents a missed opportunity.

The issue was on display last month with the city’s approval of Villa Storia, which will bring up to 420 homes to a 35-acre parcel, much of which was previously designated for private schools, hospitals or cemeteries, according to the Union-Tribune. Now, a group of citizens is suing the city, alleging it did not adequately address the project’s impacts.

The re-zoning issue came up again last week at a workshop for a much smaller project where the developer wants to build 56 townhouses on land currently zoned for mixed-use development, The Coast News reported. The developer wants to get out of the requirement to include commercial development as part of the project.

These piecemeal decisions are hampering the city’s ability to comprehensively address big problems like climate change and job growth, said Dianne Nygaard, president of the North County conservation group Preserve Calavera.

“The city of Oceanside, because we’ve not updated our general plan for some time, we don’t have a climate action plan,” Nygaard said. “When we piecemeal projects that add to greenhouse gases, we’re only compounding our difficulty of achieving mandated future reductions.”

Nygaard said she’s also concerned about the city’s economic sustainability. The more land the city designates for housing, the less land there is available for the kind of commercial development that generates new jobs and surplus tax revenues.

“Oceanside is one of the worst in the county with its jobs-to-housing ratio, and it’s only gotten worse in the past few years,” Nygaard said.

The current ratio is 0.64 jobs for every home in Oceanside, according to a community activist quoted in the Union Tribune.

Oceanside Chamber of Commerce CEO David Nydegger told me the ratio is skewed by the fact that so many residents work at Camp Pendleton — those jobs are not included in the ratio because they’re just outside the city limits. The fact that so many Oceanside residents are retired also impacts the ratio.

Regardless of the status of the city’s land-use plan, Nydegger said there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future of jobs in Oceanside, including a forthcoming FedEx distribution center, recent expansion moves by Gilead Sciences, new mixed-use construction in the city’s downtown and a possible new hotel in the works.

Recall Effort Advances Against Poway’s Patapow

After two false starts, the group attempting to recall Poway school trustee Andy Patapow got the county Registrar of Voters to approve its notice of intent last week.

In response, Patapow supporters turned the public comment portion of Monday’s board meeting into a sort of impromptu pep rally. Several dozen members of the Poway teachers union showed up in matching T-shirts to cheer on public speakers, and trustees T.J. Zane and Michelle O’Connor Ratcliff also expressed their support. When Patapow announced his intention to complete his full elected term, the room erupted in a standing ovation. (Poway News-Chieftain)

VOSD’s Ashly McGlone reported last week that district leaders sent a message reminding Poway Unified employees to avoid using their district email accounts for political purpose. The district attorney’s office had contacted the school district’s lawyers after receiving complaints about emails circulating in support of Patapow.

Kaaboo Generates Tax and Business Boost

The Kaaboo music and arts festival at the Del Mar Fairgrounds last month worked out well for area businesses and government agencies. A Kaaboo spokesperson said the event generated about $218,000 in sales tax revenue from merchandise, food and beverage sales at the fairgrounds. The spokesperson also said that the event helped sell out local hotels — unusual for mid-September in Del Mar — and generated more than $65,000 in hotel-room tax revenue for local governments. (The Coast News)

The Del Mar Times noted that the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which oversees the fairgrounds, raked in up to $900,000 in rent, parking fees and other revenues from Kaaboo. The fairgrounds’ general manager said he expects attendance to rise 20 percent next year, potentially boosting local agency revenues even further.

Also in the News

• Union-Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins is absolutely thrilled about the new partnership between Tri-City Medical Center and UC San Diego Health System. Jenkins usually awards a rose to people or institutions he’s happy with, but this time he awarded a whole rose garden.

• If Solana Beach is going to have public art, it’s going to be art the city’s paid for, city leaders insist. A proposal to allow an artist to carve marine animals into the stump of a dead Torrey pine tree on the Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach was shot down last week by city officials who said it’s just kind of awkward when people try to donate public art. They’d rather put out a call for bids and let the best artist win. (The Coast News)

• Encinitas may have tabled its Styrofoam ban, but Solana Beach forged ahead last week and adopted its own polystyrene ban, making it the first city in San Diego County to ban the material. In addition to banning the material in restaurant take-out containers, Solana Beach’s new ordinance also bans packing peanuts and similar materials. (Del Mar Times)

• Caltrans threw a corkscrew into Ramona wine boosters’ plan to put up highway signs to direct drivers to wineries and tasting rooms along the so-called Ramona Wine Trail. (Ramona Sentinel)

• Encinitas has adopted new regulations for high-density housing development, but the Building Industry Association has signaled it will fight the city in court. (Union-Tribune)

• North County residents are waiting to find out who will take over Haggen’s stores after the grocer’s bankruptcy is sorted out. San Diego Reader reports that the high-end Gelson’s Market is bidding on three Haggen stores in Carlsbad, Del Mar and La Jolla. Smart & Final is bidding on 10 Haggen stores across the county, including one in the Carlsbad Village.

• The Sheriff’s Department will be offering $150 Walmart gift cards to local residents who surrender unwanted assault weapons in San Marcos on Saturday. Smaller amounts will be offered for handguns, rifles and shotguns. (San Diego Reader)

• Carlsbad has a shiny, new state-owned fire engine. (Union-Tribune)

Jeremy Ogul

Jeremy Ogul is a freelance writer and editor in San Diego. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter...

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