By Jim Shilander
The City Council unanimously approved a controversial apartment development on Arenoso Lane in the Pier Bowl at Tuesday’s meeting.
The three-story, five unit Reef Pointe Villas complex came before the council last month, after Planning Commission approval in January. Opponents of the development had asked that story poles be put up in order to show the effect the height of the building would have on views in the area, as well as potential “canyonization” on the street. The applicant agreed to send the proposal back to the planning commission for consideration. The poles were erected and the planning commission approved the application again last month.
Architect Michael Luna noted that the development could have gone an additional floor and added an additional five units, but decided not to, in order to create a more architecturally interesting building.
“It’s unlike any other development in the neighborhood,” Luna said. The stepped floors stood in stark contrast to a number of four-and five story buildings in the area that simply rose straight up, he explained.
Neighborhood resident Christina Leon said the site would only exacerbate the canyon effect on the street at present, and would close of the area’s last “window to the sea.”
Alan Korsen said the fact that the development met city code failed to account for all of the effects it would have.
“This is the worst case scenario for view blockage, canyonization and for the window to the sea,” Korsen noted. “But it’s OK because ‘it’s zoned for it.’” He argued that the loss of views on Arenoso Lane needed to be remembered when making decisions on zoning on Avenida Del Mar and El Camino Real. He paraphrased, the tagline of the movie Field of Dreams.
“If you zone it, they will build it,” Korsen told the council.
The city council disagreed.
“This is not city owned land, nor is it designated as a view corridor,” councilman Tim Brown said.
Not allowing someone to build on their own property would be of greater concern, Brown said. He added that he appreciated that the look of the building was more in keeping with the “Spanish Village by the Sea,” type of architecture. “I approve it whole-heartedly,” he said.
Council member Jim Evert said he hoped there’d be similar designs around the city.
“I wish we’d see more of this kind of design in the city,” Evert said.
In other news from the meeting, City Manager George Scarborough indicated a recommendation for the city treasurer position will be made at the council’s next meeting on March 19. The position is currently filled by Pall Gudgeirsson, who will be taking over for Scarborough when he retires on March 20. Former councilman Joe Anderson expressed an interest in the post.
The council will meet to discuss its priorities for the coming year on Tuesday, March 26. The priorities meeting had previously been set for March 13.