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By Joe Naiman
Village News reporter 

Planning group recommends approval of Old Hwy. 395 Retail Center


Last updated 10/2/2020 at 11:35am

The Fallbrook Community Planning Group recommended that the County of San Diego approve the discretionary permitting for the proposed Old Highway 395 Retail Center development.

The planning group's 14-0 vote Sept. 21 recommended approval of the project exclusive of the signage plan, which will be refined to reconcile the signage with community design standards.

The property is in the 3200 block of Old Highway 395. Its current use is a market, the Nessy Burger hamburger stand with associated outdoor dining, and a nursery. The nursery will be departing. The proposed development would construct two 6,000 square foot retail buildings and a 3,250 square foot convenience store with six gas pumps. Parking and access improvements would also be added.

The market would undergo renovations. "We are going to reface the existing retail there," said Consultants Collaborative, Inc., project manager Jason Greminger. "The existing market will be remodeled and refaced."

The Nessy Burgers building would be unchanged. "We don't really want to interfere with that," Greminger said.

"It will just be the market that's remodeled," Greminger said. "We don't want to mess with Nessy Burgers' operations."

The property is already zoned commercial. "The issue had to do with design and what it's going to look like," said Fallbrook Community Planning Group chair Jack Wood.

A trash and loading area would be located between buildings so that those trucks would not utilize the parking area. A roadway along the back of the buildings would also allow for deliveries without impeding parking.

"We tried to provide wider driveways," Greminger said.

A left turn lane along the frontage would be added to Old Highway 395. "What we're planning to do is provide some frontage improvements along Old Highway 395," Greminger said.

The project would also include landscaping. "There is a lot of landscaping," said Design Review Committee chair Eileen Delaney.

At one time a car wash was also planned for the site, but that has been abandoned from the proposal.

The county's Light Pollution Code (also known as the Dark Sky Ordinance) has more stringent regulations for outdoor lighting within 15 miles of the Palomar Observatory. The Old Highway 395 site is not within 15 miles of the Palomar Observatory, but the lighting would not interfere with local enjoyment of astronomy.

"I don't think it's our intent to not comply with the dark skies policy," Greminger said.

The Fallbrook design guidelines base the square footage limit for signage on the linear footage of the road. The sign in the current architectural drawings would require a waiver. "It a little bit exceeds what's allowed," Delaney said.

The Design Review Committee is amenable to a waiver if the rest of the planning group and the county are supportive. "We have no problem with the signage," Delaney said.

The county is also in the early stages of updating community design guidelines, so the proposed sign in its current state might be in conformance with the future policy.

Victoria Stover is the planning group's representative on the Interstate 15 Corridor Design Review Board, which recommended approval for the project. "We gave it the go-ahead," she said.


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