Ocean Kamp, a resort community that will be built around a man-made surf lagoon in the San Luis Rey River Valley, is a few months behind schedule.
Oceanside planners requested more work on the plan and as a result the start of construction has been pushed back, developer Mike Grehl of N4FL Worldwide said during a recent presentation to the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. .
“We received a series of comments (from the city) that were somewhat unexpected,” Grehl said. “We are definitely delayed, which is a real shame. … It created a small obstacle for us, but we will overcome it. At the very end, when you’re almost at the finish line, that’s when a lot of scrambling starts to happen.
The developer had hoped to go to the Oceanside Planning Commission for approval in December 2021, but that “sort of slipped away”, he said. The project would only be submitted to the municipal council in the event of an appeal against the decision of the planning commission.
The project has strong support from the city’s business community, he said. The concept includes a high-tech artificial surf lagoon as the centerpiece of a resort with up to 700 homes, 300 hotel rooms and related offices, retail and more on the 92-acre site of the l ‘Old Valley Drive-In Theatre, just off National Route 76 at Foussat Road.
A Jan. 5 letter from Oceanside’s planning department outlined dozens of conditions that needed to be met and things that needed to be done before the project could be approved by the city.
The letter includes a list from the Water Utilities Division with 60 conditions to be met, such as obtaining US Army Corps of Engineers approval for utility lines along the river levee. and city fire department approval of emergency vehicle access routes. It requires the developer to identify all existing groundwater wells on the property, locations of all city water meters to be installed for the project, and other details of water systems, sewer and security.
Each condition on the list is part of the normal review process, city planner Sergio Madera said Thursday.
“There was nothing new,” Madera said. The city and the developer have been working together on the project for more than two years.
“We are at the end of a fairly long review cycle,” he said. “We keep dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. We are excited about the project and hope to get it to decision makers.
Former Oceanside board member Chuck Lowery, when asked about the project on Friday, said he was happy to see the city pressing the developer for more details.
“Now is the time,” Lowery said. “You can’t ask for it after it’s built.”
He expects the wave pool concept to be “incredibly successful,” he said. However, while it could be an economic boon to the town, he had reservations about its accessibility for the average Oceanside resident.
“People don’t realize it’s probably going to cost them $500 every time they take their kids and maybe the neighbor’s kids” to surf the wave pool, Lowery said.
The few existing wave pools in the country are popular, but expensive. Surf sessions generally cost between $60 and $90 per hour per person, although the price has not been set for Ocean Kamp.
Grehl said the company hopes to open the station in the spring of 2024.
He encouraged the Chamber and the local business community to support the project and push for its approval by the city.
So far, opposition to the project has been minimal. A few residents criticized expected traffic, water usage, or the location next to Oceanside Airport. But so far there has been no formal public hearing, which would happen at the City Planning Commission level, and most people liked the idea at the meetings of promoter’s community information.
The San Diego North Economic Development Council and the Oceanside Chamber released a joint statement in support of the project.
“Ocean Kamp will be an exciting destination that embodies the North County lifestyle and creates substantial economic, tourism and community benefits for the entire region,” Development Council CEO W. Erik Bruvold said in the statement. written. “The synergies with active sports, craft brewing and innovation in the area…and the prominence of new housing make Ocean Kamp an ideal complement to the Oceanside economy.”
The developer, N4FL, estimates the project will create more than 1,500 permanent jobs and generate $81.3 million in tax revenue over 10 years.
The hotel, located on a beach at the end of the 4.5-acre wave pool, will have 228 rooms in the main building, 40 separate “casitas” and an Airstream RV park-like layout for rent. In addition to surfing, the resort will offer rock climbing, stand-up paddleboarding, yoga, and mountain biking with connections to nearby trails along the San Luis Rey River.
The development will include up to 700 homes in a mix of townhouses, townhouses and small single-family homes, Grehl said. Plans call for 5% of the affordable housing required by the project to be built on site, and the developer will pay housing costs in lieu of an additional 5%.
A 25,000 square foot community center is also included to host weddings, conferences and industry events, and 20 acres of the site will be maintained as open space.
“Ocean Kamp’s vision will be a complementary extension of all the benefits of living and working in Oceanside,” Chamber CEO Scott Ashton said in the joint statement. “It will also provide needed inclusive housing opportunities, spaces for local business growth, and tourism and event facilities that will collectively be a long-term economic driver for Oceanside.”
The four-screen drive-in theater that stood on the property for nearly 50 years closed in 1999 and was demolished in 2016.
The city approved an Environmental Impact Report for a previous project called The Pavilion on the site in 2008 which would have been Oceanside’s largest shopping center with multiple big-box anchor tenants. But the mall idea lost steam as online merchandising continued to grow and the pavilion was never built.
Encinitas-based Zephyr Partners purchased the property in 2018 and developed the Ocean Kamp plan based on the artificial wave concept.
Then in 2020, Zephyr ceded control of Ocean Kamp to N4FL Worldwide, also known as N4FL Development, with offices in Encinitas and Rancho Santa Fe.
Grehl, vice president of N4FL, is a former senior vice president of Zephyr, where he helped develop the resort plan.