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Oceanside residents have for years enjoyed the open feel of downtown, with the long sightlines of the iconic pier. But despite a recent burst of construction that is growing the city’s skyline, they’re still feeling good about the changes.

Maya Srikrishnan writes that Oceanside is experiencing a wave of development that’s transforming nine blocks of downtown, and given how long the area has been void of any structures, the construction seems sudden.

Not so, says Srikrishnan, it’s actually been a long time coming. After clearing some blight and decades of planning ‒ and then a few more years of persevering through the recession ‒ construction has started on one block, and is following on three more.

And residents are generally favorable of it all, it seems.

When two resort hotels were approved in 2014, even the normal gadflies supported the projects, though they did criticize the subsidies the city provided to attract the developers. (My own reporting for a now defunct website on the subsidies and use of tax-exempt bonds earned me the title “Johnny-come-lately” from Councilman Jack Feller.)

If anything, the largest complaints have come from beachgoers concerned about losing parking, but worry not, Osiders. Many of the projects will contain public parking in below-ground structures.

A New Developer to Avoid Old Traps

Last week I mentioned a project that will bring some new life to downtown Escondido. This week, a new developer is eyeing the Escondido Country Club, hoping to take over the land for a housing project.

New Urban West has already built about 1,000 homes in Escondido, and is looking to develop the former golf course, after its current owner, Michael Schlesinger, failed to get a project off the ground.

In 2012, Schlesinger brought a 600-home project forward, but after some public outcry, the City Council declared the land open space, trying to pre-empt future development. A ballot initiative failed to overturn that ordinance, and after some legal back-and-forth, a judge ultimately said that the city had denied Schlesinger his right to develop the property.

Part of a settlement between Schlesinger and the city said that Schlesinger could find someone to develop the property, and remove himself from the project.

No firm proposals have been put forward yet, but New Urban West already has some goodwill in the city, according to the Union-Tribune.

Also in the News

 The head of the Encinitas Parks and Recreation Department resigned abruptly. (The Coast News)

 A take on Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall’s apology, of sorts, over how Measure A was handled. (San Diego Free Press)

• Oceanside’s Planning Commission gave its approval to a business that allows customers to “fly” over giant fans. A similar facility opened in Mission Valley. (Union-Tribune)

• California Pacific Airlines, a start-up in North County, says it’s ready to take off, again. (Union-Tribune)

• Activist and author Cornel West spoke at MiraCosta College. (Union-Tribune)

 An Italian tailor who ran a shop for 30 years in Encinitas calls it quits. (The Coast News)

• Palomar closed its emergency room in downtown Escondido. (KPBS)

 Carlsbad named a new police chief. (The Coast News)

Ruarri Serpa

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at ruarris@gmail.com and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

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