A mixed-use townhome development next to the Manor car wash and a freeway on-ramp brought out several neighbors who say that the building doesn’t fit with the neighborhood, lacks enough available parking, and that the proposal would cost them their views.
The commercial spaces on the bottom floor at 340 Waterford St. will be more suitable for offices, retail spaces and personal services than restaurants, said Ranu Aggarwal, contract planner. Brian Hu, the owner, said he plans to occupy one of the offices with his company and plans to move into one of the residential units as well.
Five townhomes will be built on the second and third floors. A total of 15 parking spaces are required; nine will be handled in a car stacker system and the rest on the street.
Cars will be parked using a two-level, semi-automated, electric car stacker system that can fit a total of nine cars, with one space always vacant. The car stacker opens like a closet door, said Hu. The cars slide back and forth behind each other to rotate. The only people with access to operate it are those with keys, the residents. The machine will be cleaned and lubricated four times a year, Hu said.
Pacifica planning commissioners unanimously approved the townhome project on Nov. 2 with additional conditions of approval that the car stacker system must be maintained by the homeowners association and a Tesla Powerwall be installed for backup power in case of a power outage.
A landscape strip would include 12 street trees along Waterford Street. Shrubs will be planted in the development as well, and another landscape strip will be planted along the west side. Vines would adorn the solid wall on the ground floor.
The development will provide a private courtyard for residents on the second floor and a community deck on the third floor.
Architect Marc Ojanen of Ojanen Chiou Architects said he wants to include a public space, as well.
“We want to create a public park by extending the landscaping,” he said. “We are limited in our plantings so as not to block the freeway on-ramp. Caltrans is allowing an improvement to the sidewalk. A podium will house the commercial functions above a sheltered courtyard. We will have a more porous street edge.”
Pacifica does not have a view-protection ordinance. An analysis suggested the project will not completely obstruct any existing ocean views, Aggarwal said.
However, several neighbors complained their ocean views will be blocked by the tall building and that the project will need more parking than the neighborhood can handle.
“This is out of scale,” Craig Blackstone said. “This is a commercial site, but only 1 percent of this project is commercial. I would experience a total loss of light and air with this.”
Senior Planner Christian Murdock replied that planning staff concluded the building will not unreasonably restrict light and air.
“This development required more setbacks due
to the unique location,” he said.