City says no to pocket developer

Pocket neighborhoods have become a common occurrence in suburban communities. These small planned community neighborhoods consist of a grouping of smaller residences, designed to promote a close-knit sense of community.
By Max Kirkendall
For the North Coast Citizen
The City of Manzanita recently reviewed an application for a pocket neighborhood titled Heron’s Rest, located on Hallie Lane and South Third Street. The application included the construction of 26 detached units on the 1.83-acre vacant land parcel. Completed homes were to be one-bedroom and two-bedroom single-family residences, at approximately 550 and 650 square feet.
Upon review by the Manzanita Planning Commission May 21, the application was denied for a few reasons.
“The submitted application was denied because it did not adequately address some of the requirements of the city’s zoning and subdivision ordinance,” Assistant City Manager Cynthia Alamillo said. “One of the issues included was that it was not clear how the storm water would be handled and whether the proposed storm drainage system was adequate.”
According to Alamillo, there were also some concerns with the proposed design that the Commission determined to be not compatible with the City’s comprehensive plan. Such as the proposed one-way street extension on Hallie Street and the location of 18 parking spaces that would back up onto Third Street – which is highly used by pedestrians.
Also, the Commission requested a ground water study and wetland permits, since the parcel has wetlands, from the Department of State Lands and Army Corps of Engineer that were not included with the application.
In pocket neighborhoods, the main benefit is that they allow for more open space. In planned development applications like the one submitted, the zoning standards are flexible as opposed to a standard subdivision according to Alamillo.
“In this case, the applicant was mainly seeking flexibility in the lot size and yard setbacks,” Alamillo said. “The proposed lot sizes are smaller than the standard allowed lots and the proposed setbacks are different from a standard dwelling unit.”
Although the land will remain vacant for the time being, the applicants and Commission are well aware of the potential of this particular parcel of land. As stated in the application, “There are very few large parcels available for multiple unit development located near Laneda and the beach. We feel this warrants doing something special with this site.”