Examiner approves new retail plans for Villages

The new developers/owners of The Villages of Ocean Shores project have been given conditional approval for a revised retail and commercial part of the project’s original plans, which permitted as many as 600 condominium units in 15 four-story buildings.

Hearing Examiner Theodore Paul Hunter of the Sound Law Center ruled the new ownership group may receive a conditional use permit to allow for the new retail development, which will be based more on a cottage concept that will replace the former condo plans. Hunter and the city found the new retail plans would have a “smaller impact of this proposal compared to the proposal made in 2006.”

In a summary of his findings and testimony from a public hearing last month, Hunter said the new owners propose the retail/commercial complex on 100,517 square feet of total area on Lot 4 within the revised development, located at 135 Marine View Dr. SW at the southern end of Ocean Shores peninsula adjacent to the Oyehut Wildlife Recreation Area.

The new plans are part of the overall pending application for a planned-unit development that will be the subject of another public hearing, likely in May, before the city Planning Commission. The original permit in 2007 allowed for 20,000 square feet of retail/commercial use in one building within a gated, private community with age restrictions; where the new plans will be for 30,000 square feet of retail/commercial in five buildings, which will now be open to the general public, “not just the residents of the surrounding development.”

The newly designed buildings containing retail shops will have 10,000 square feet of residential living space above the bottom stories, which will contain 20,000 square feet of retail/commercial space. There will be 80 parking spaces for the commercial space and another 30 spaces for the residential space, along with five handicapped spaces.

The building footprints would cover 22,717 square feet each, and the proposed streets and walkways would cover 56,417 square feet of the overall lot, using about 79 percent of the total square feet.

In a public hearing on a portion of the plans for a revised retail area within the development, owner Stavros Anastasiou said the new ownership group is committed to building smaller cottages rather than the condo buildings permitted in the original plans. Also, the retail will be a town-square concept similar to Seabrook, south of Pacific Beach.

Anastasiou and two other owners on Dec. 31 purchased the 43 acres behind the gates at The Villages after paying $1.6 million for the halted development project. The property includes one existing building of condominiums. The new ownership company is known as Ocean Shores Villages LLC. Others listed in the company’s governing structure are Loch Anderson of Bellevue and Jeffery Foushee of Bellevue.

The property had been tied up in financial and legal trouble after plans to build a much larger gated condo project fell through and only four condo units were sold after the lender provided about $8.9 million for buildings and infrastructure improvements.

Anastasiou has said the new owners would like to open the development to businesses such as small bistro, a deli or mini-mart, a coffee shop, small restaurant and professional services, such as a yoga studio or office for an architect or doctor. In granting the go-ahead for the retail and commercial plans, Hunter listed 15 conditions, many of which were in place as a result of the original permits. Among those are ensuring adequate erosion control to prevent sediment and debris from entering wetlands and buffers; retaining all stormwater on site; following city code and requirements in constructing utilities and paying mitigation fees; using native vegetation in landscaped areas; following parking regulations and other permits.

The project also shall not include any adult entertainment businesses.

“All businesses within the proposed development shall be open to the public, and no business with the proposed development shall remain open past midnight,” according to the conditions.

At the hearing, Anastasiou asked for a five-year timeline “in order to phase in the retail/commercial development as needed by residents,” Hunter noted in granting five years before the conditional use permit expires in the event the project is not completed by then.