Planning Commission directs Village at Manzanita rework

The pre-application for The Village at Manzanita was sent into revisal by the Manzanita Planning Commission, placing the project on hold while adaptations can be drawn up.

By Brian Cameron
In an upset for Encore Developments the Manzanita Planning Commission decided unanimously to hold the pre-application of The Village at Manzanita, a proposed 300-home development that would be built over the next 10 years, and instead directed a number of changes before they would consider the application.
“The Commission did not approve nor disapprove the proposal,” City Manager Jerry Taylor said. “Concerns were raised about the proposed lifting of the short term rental cap, traffic studies, limited commercial activities and the connection with the golf course.”
The Village at Manzanita is a proposed development brought forth by Encore Developments, a Bay Area real estate firm. Though belonging to a larger investment organization the proposed development would be managed locally and see the increase of 300 homes near downtown Manzanita in the area that resides around the currently-unused zone that was originally planned for the back-nine of the Manzanita Golf Course, which is another layer to this altogether.
“I feel that perhaps some of the commission showed support for the community master plan,” said Rick Hinkes of Encore Developments. “We still believe that giving the community a view of what’s planned for the 10-year period of construction is of benefit to them.”
Stating a variety of reasons for what he thought may have led to the notion to adapt the pre-application, Hinkes listed off concerns about traffic for which he suggested that additional studies are scheduled and they were told the infrastructure was preexisting. Another topic the Commission had concerns about was the idea that the smaller homes planned for the development were not conducive for what the commission had in mind, though Hinkes did suggest they did show support for the medium-sized homes that are similar to other Manzanita developments like the Classic Street Cottages.
Besides the commission’s variety of concerns Hinkes also addressed the fate of the Manzanita Golf Course which was one of the hinging factors the commission considered while reviewing the pre-application.
“Our plan to increase golf course play by bringing more tourism, but this is a non-starter,” said Hinkes. “We will most likely be divorcing the golf course from the project but we’re still concerned with the revenue generation for the course.”
According to Hinkes the golf course is currently owned by Pine Grove Properties and they are pursuing other avenues and ideas including finding potential managers, owners or interested groups who might be willing to take on the course and its existing clientele. As it stands the Manzanita Golf Course is set to close down entirely as of Sept. 30.
In addition to the golf course, one unexpected detail Hinkes had not considered was that the Planning Commission wasn’t against ideas like a hotel, which until then they had not considered a trend the community was interested in.
“We were surprised to hear the commission would rather support a hotel rather than change the rental cap rate for homes,” said Hinkes. “We had looked at it as an option but decided it wasn’t very ‘Manzanita,’ we need to rethink that after hearing from the commission.”
Hinkes was adamant that Encore Developments would do something with their property even if it does not turn out to be The Village at Manzanita.
“We will certainly put forth an application and do intend to develop the land since it’s privately owned and zoned for this use,” said Hinkes. “The commission did say they didn’t think it was their job to tell land owners how to use their land, but instead make sure proposals meet zoning requirements and adhere to the comprehensive plan. We agree.”
Currently the lead of the Manzanita Planning Commission has been assumed by Assistant City Manager Cynthia Alamillo who will now help oversee the commission as it considers proposals like this one, as well as others.
“I understand that the developer may be modifying the proposal before submitting a formal application, but I can’t confirm that,” said Taylor. “If a formal application is submitted then the public will have a further opportunity to comment on the proposal, whatever it may be.”