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Oceanside City Council postpones vote on Controversial Development project

Posted at 6:57 PM, May 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 22:19:16-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif., (KGTV) -- Oceanside City Council decided Wednesday night to postpone a vote regarding a controversial development plan in East Oceanside.

The developer hoped to postpone the vote in order to make adjustments to the plan. Residents opposed to the plan hoped Council members cast a 'no' vote to put an end to the plan.

The North River Farms Development sits on 177 acres in an area Southwest of Bonsall, known as South Morro Hills.

"We're really excited to bring an 'Agrihood' to the City of Oceanside," Ninia Hammond, Project Manager of Integral Communities, said. Her company began crafting this plan five years ago. Their goal is to create a place that will feature a trifecta of community, housing, and farming on traditionally agricultural land.

The Oceanside Chamber of Commerce expressed their support of the project in February. They argued that it would bring in millions of dollars, and help the city meets its 2021 Regional Housing Needs Assessment goal.

10News met with Jane Marshall, a resident vehemently opposed to the plan.

"We would rather have a better quality of life, where a developer is willing to work with us in all our infill projects," Marshall said. "We have plenty of room to build instead of taking prime farmland from Oceanside."

But the developer said this is the only location for a plan of this kind. "The maker spaces, the creative hub, the exposure to the view of the river," Hammond said. "All of that makes the nature of it, really specific to the location."

Marshall disagreed. She said the development would decimate small farms, increase traffic and pollution, and create flooding and fire issues. She said the plan does not include a clear emergency evacuation plan, putting residents at risk.

Because of these very issues, Oceanside's Planning Commission turned down the plan for the second time two weeks ago. But Hammond said they are optimistic the city council will postpone the vote and reconsider the issue another time, after they make revisions.

"Our goal is to make this the safest and best-planned community we possibly can. Through enhancement like offers, irrigation, setbacks, high fuel mod zones," Hammond said.