Neighbors protest beachside expansion

Some neighbors have voiced opposition to a beachside complex owner's plans to expand the property to include a restaurant and more retail and office space.

Joe Daichendt, who owns Pierside Pavilion at 300 Pacific Coast Hwy., says the expansion will improve the property, drive away the homeless and bring more business investment to the city.

The expansion will increase the four-story center by 30,000 square feet, adding more retail space to the first floor, a restaurant to the second floor, office space on the third and fourth floors, and a patio on the rooftop for the new restaurant.

Daichendt said he began looking into expanding Pierside when a movie theater closed in the complex in 2007.

The theater was replaced by offices, but Daichendt said they don't bring in as much revenue as the cinemas.

"We're looking to make up the economic loss," Daichendt said.

But residents say the expansion will bring in noise and traffic, and will minimize their beach and ocean views, which could decrease their property values.

Jeff Smith, who lives in Pier Colony, 200 Pacific Coast Hwy., said his condo will be directly impacted by the expansion. Not only will the expansion bring Pierside closer to his building, he said, but it will also encroach on his privacy and block the sunlight.

Smith said there were no studies conducted to show how noise from the additional businesses will affect him and other residents.

"The community was not taken into consideration," Smith said. "I'm all for development, and I'm for mutually beneficial projects. There's just nothing here that helps anybody but him."

Residents Eric and Christina Yao submitted a letter to the city in opposition to the expansion.

"The proposed development at Pierside Pavilion seems to be a solution looking for a problem, and does not appear to satisfy many of the provisions of the downtown specific development plan," he wrote.

Daichendt said he's listened to the residents' concerns and is making modifications to minimize the impact, such as plans to install a frosted glass panel so it's difficult for patrons to easily look into residents' homes.

However, Daichendt acknowledged that he can't do much about the reduction of the ocean view.

"That's the only issue I can't resolve," he said. "But all the units that have an ocean view will still have an ocean view, but the view will be reduced on some of them."

Planning Commissioner Mark Bixby submitted a letter to city staff saying the analysis of the project does not address issues concerning public view required by the city's Downtown Specific Plan, among others.

A portion of Third Street is now mostly vacant between Pierside and Pier Colony, and per the city's Downtown Specific Plan, it must remain vacant as a public-view corridor.

The expansion of Pierside will block the public view by as much as 16 to 17 feet, Bixby said in the letter.

City staff has not responded to Bixby's nor residents' concerns, but the commission plans to vote on the issue at a public hearing Tuesday.

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