The process continues to transform a longstanding equestrian facility in Carmel Valley into senior housing. The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board’s regional issues subcommittee reviewed the proposed Seabreeze senior living community at its Aug. 6 meeting—the project is located on the site of the Seabreeze Farms Equestrian Center on Old Carmel Valley Road.
According to Ryan Leong, principal with SRM Development, Seabreeze has received its first round of comments from the city and resubmitted on July 31. The developers plan to come before the full Carmel Valley Community Planning Board in October and to the San Diego Planning Commission for approval by the end of the year or early 2019.
Seabreeze Farms Equestrian Center has been on Old Carmel Valley Road for almost 30 years, situated adjacent to open space near Cathedral Catholic High School. The current zoning allows for licensed residential care facilities for seniors but the developers will need to amend the precise plan for the area and obtain a conditional use permit.
Of the 32-acre site, only 8.78 acres will be developed, leaving the remaining 24 acres as open space. Seabreeze Equestrian Farms owner Chad Harris, a partner on the project, will maintain a small pasture and boarding for 15 to 25 retired horses.
Leong said the proposed project will add community benefits by meeting the demand for more senior housing in Carmel Valley and the region as well as improving and expanding the property’s trails with additional access points for public enjoyment.
The developers have been working with Cathedral Catholic and the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego to establish the trail connection alongside the school property from Del Mar Heights Road. The proposed trail, which will feature trailheads open to the community from the Seabreeze property, will wind through the preserved open space and connect at Carmel Knolls Drive.
SRM Developers have met with surrounding residents and the neighboring homeowners association several times over the last year, most recently on Aug. 5. A focus has been placed on preserving views and keeping common areas and the main entry away from the adjacent community, facing the canyon instead.
“The architecture is very different from what you saw the last time; that really is from the direct feedback from neighbors about what they would like to see in their neighborhood,” Leong said.
The design has evolved from modern architecture with flat, low-pitched roofs to a Spanish Colonial aesthetic with elements like tile roofs, arched windows, recessed openings, Juliet balconies and a cascading series of roofs to help break up the massing of the two-story main building. The main building will house 104 assisted living units as well as a separate memory care wing with 14 units.
Seabreeze will also include five one-story casitas with two units each for independent living.
One resident at the meeting said that privacy is one of the main issues for existing homeowners that face the back of the casitas. Leong said they have heard those concerns and worked to minimize the amount of windows on the back of the casitas—only the laundry rooms and kitchens will have rear windows.
The casitas will have back patios but no backyards, and landscape architect Jon Becker said they have scouted out areas where the vegetation has not flourished along the edges of the property and will fill in the barren areas with a native plant palette to help screen the new development.
According to SRM and the residents at the subcommittee meeting, the architectural changes have been positively received although planning board Chair Frisco White made a recommendation to create a better sense of arrival when coming onto the property from the long drive off Old Carmel Valley Road.