Village News Reporter
The zoning of the community parking lot in Downtown Fallbrook currently allows for parking only. The Fallbrook Community Planning Group has been requested to provide a recommendation on rezoning the parking lot to one of the Fallbrook Village zones, but discussion at the Sept. 18 planning group meeting resulted in the item being continued.
“The planning group wants to work more on that to make sure we’re doing the right thing for the future of Fallbrook,” said planning group chair Eileen Delaney. “We want to get more information about the number of parking spaces that are required for the businesses that have a stake in the LLC.”
The limited liability corporation is called Fallbrook Parking Trust. Currently seven owners have six shares (two owners split one share). The community parking lot consists of three legal parcels and totals 0.92 acres.
At one time, the County of San Diego was also a shareholder in the Fallbrook Parking Trust. The parcel containing the Fallbrook library branch is not part of that community lot but only had 20 spaces so, in 2002, the county acquired a 3/9 interest in the community parking lot consisting of a 1/9 undivided interest and a 2/9 share in the area owned by the Fallbrook Parking Trust.
That 3/9 share entitled the county to approximately 18,142 square feet not including the parking spaces in the county-owned parcel. A January 2020 San Diego County Board of Supervisors action exchanged the county's interest in the Fallbrook Parking Trust for complete ownership of the 14,175 square feet of the parking lot immediately adjacent to the library, a permanent parking easement for a minimum of 10 unreserved parking spaces located anywhere on the trust property, and the right to use the entire trust property for special events conducted by the library.
The minimum parking requirement for the library is 52 spaces, and the permanent easement spaces along with the spaces on the land which will be owned by the county will guarantee the county 55 spaces.
The proposal before the planning group would change the zoning to Village 3 or Village 4. In 2003, the Board of Supervisors approved five zoning classifications specific to Fallbrook. The Fallbrook Village zoning and its associated regulations in Fallbrook's business district are intended to promote and preserve the village character, create a pedestrian-friendly environment for residents and visitors, and encourage the growth of Fallbrook's art industry.
Uses which were in effect prior to the 2003 adoption of the Fallbrook Village zoning are allowed to continue in those locations. The Village 1 zone is intended to encourage primarily retail businesses fronting a pedestrian-oriented street, and residential dwelling is allowed as a secondary use.
The Village 2 zone is intended to serve as a buffer between the retail-oriented Village 1 zone and the more industrial Village 3 zone. In addition to the uses allowed in the Village 1 area, Village 2 zoning also allows more intensive civic and automotive service uses while residences are allowed as a co-principal use subject to limitations.
The Village 3 area is intended to provide opportunities for clean industry and manufacturing, including art creation. All uses allowed under Village 1 and Village 2 zoning are also permissible in the Village 3 area, and the zoning also allows manufacturing and other general industrial uses if the activity is indoors and meets noise and other limitations.
The Village 3 zoning also allows service-oriented civic and commercial uses which are more intense than those allowed in the Village 1 and Village 2 areas. Residential use in the Village 3 area is allowed if it can be shown to be compatible with the adjacent commercial and industrial uses. The Village 4 zoning is similar to the Village 1 zoning but allows for more automotive-oriented uses and a flexible front yard setback.
(The intent of the Village 5 area is principal and dominant administrative office and professional services use; residential uses are allowed, and development shall have a scale and appearance compatible and complementary to adjacent residential uses while uses which generate high volumes of vehicular traffic are prohibited.)
The vote to continue the planning group hearing was 13-0 with J.J. Neese and Debbie Williams absent. Earlier that night, a motion to recommend approval of the rezone failed with three planning group members in support, eight in opposition, one abstaining, and Roy Moosa recusing himself due to a conflict of interest.
Moosa is the planning group’s first vice-chair. He is also a local business owner, and he is the president of the Fallbrook Village Association. Past community revitalization forums have discussed farmers’ markets or special events in the parking lot.
“We have no specific plans. It would just open some doors for some plans to exist,” Moosa said of the rezone. “We’re not going to do anything. We can just open up options if somebody comes in with a plan.”
That plan might also include structures (a historical example is Fotomat, which developed camera film and usually had locations in shopping center parking lots). “This is not something we ourselves would do,” Moosa said. “It would be finding somebody willing to take that on.”
Both temporary uses and a permanent structure would create revenue for the parking trust, allowing for maintenance without the need for the shareholders to fund operational expenses. “All these options would be made available,” Moosa said.