Catalpa Project gets approval nods from FCPG


Last updated 12/20/2007 at Noon

The last time CHISK Inc., the developers for a project on Catalpa Lane, approached the Fallbrook Community Planning Group (FCPG), they did not receive encouraging words about their proposed plan.

However, at Monday night’s (December 17) FCPG meeting, their new plans and visions were met with congratulatory nods and a unanimous vote allowed approval for the motion to continue.

“We liked the changes that you made,” said member Eileen Delaney.

The Catalpa Project proposes to subdivide 2.79 acres at 428 and 442 Catalpa Lane into 18 residential properties. In their previous proposal, the number of homes desired was twenty.

“We are now making the project 16 units at 1,600 square feet and two smaller units at 900 square feet,” said Shekhar Chitnis, CEO and President of CHISK. “Most of these properties are on 5,000-square-foot lots.”

Many changes were made in the plan since last proposed to the FCPG.

“The last time that they were here, we gave them direction,” said Chairman Jim Russell. “We appreciate the work that you have done.”

Several new amenities were added to the property site, making it more appealing to the planning group members.

“There is now a clubhouse, swimming pool, spa, barbecue area and playground,” explained Chitnis. “We have a play structure that is divided into two segments.”

One play structure is for younger children up to 5 and the second is for ages 5 to 12.

Likewise, there is a sand pit, picnic area, walkways and an attractive jogging path.

“Another concern [FCPG] had last time was parking in the street,” said Chitnis.

Although each unit had their own garage, planning members had overwhelming concerns that people would store items in the garage and leave their cars parked along the streets.

The new plan reflects 16-foot driveways with an additional five-foot sidewalk. In the older design, residential units had combined driveways, but in the revised plans, each unit has their own driveway.

Chitnis and his project manager, Sachin Parlikar, have also added a 12-spot common parking feature to the plan.

Planning board member Chuck Sanacore, who serves on the Land Use Committee, reported that the committee was satisfied with the new plans and revisions.

“We were also pleased with the fact that they reduced the number of homes that they were going to have in their subdivision and increased the size of the lots,” said Sanacore. “These are all good things.”

The Land Use Committee moved to approve these changes unanimously, said Sanacore.

Also a member of the Circulation Committee, Sanacore said that focus group had some concerns as well but liked other details in the plan.

“We liked the fact that Catalpa Lane was going to be widened to 40 feet, and we liked the fact that it was going to be constructed to public road standards, even though it would remain a private road until dedicated.”

A constructed wall between the street and development was found to be highly satisfactory because of the proximity of the recreational areas.

Another safety feature the committee was partial to was the additional sidewalks.

“We also liked that there were sidewalks on the outside of the wall,” said Sanacore.

The concerns that the Circulation Committee shared were in reference to the transition from Catalpa Lane to Mission Road and “line of sight” issues coming out of the subdivision.

“We weren’t sure that the 200-foot line of sight was going to be adequate,” shared Sanacore. “We did have a motion to approve this project with the condition that the line of sight was acceptable to the County; the motion was voted on and one opposed.”

On the whole, the FCPG was pleased with swift plan changes made by the developers, but most of all, expressed that they were impressed that CHISK listened and acted upon the previous recommendations.

“I think the improvements are amazing,” said planning group member Jim Oenning.

Fellow member Harry Christiansen believed that the Catalpa Project would undeniably be one of the better lower-cost developments in town.

Sanacore recommended the construction of one-story homes to the CHISK team. “I was a little disappointed you didn’t have one-story homes in the plan; it can be a real asset to older folks,” he said.

Although community members don’t necessarily encourage more development in rural Fallbrook, Delaney reminded people that Fallbrook must comply with the zoning ordinances.

Chitnis was thankful to the Land Use Subcommittee for approval of the plans and to the Design Subcommittee for its provisional approval.

Chitnis said his next step will be to go back to the County and relay the FCPG’s positive feedback relating to the Catalpa Project.

Once all County issues are hammered out and permits are issued, the Catalpa development will take about one year to build, said Chitnis.


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