Encinitas announces top-10 list of projects
By Angela Lau
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
January 24, 2007
ENCINITAS – Despite worries about a potential dip in sales tax revenue and a smaller contingency reserve in the coming years, the city has decided to embark on long-awaited capital projects that include Encinitas' largest public park.
The City Council settled on 10 priority projects Monday in an informal goal-setting session. They are:
*A 43-acre park south of Santa Fe Drive and west of Interstate 5. The park's environmental review, which must be critiqued by the public and adopted by the City Council before construction can begin, is expected to be released tomorrow. The first building phase is expected to cost $19 million and will be paid for from bonds sold last year. Operating costs, estimated at $500,000 per year, have not been budgeted.
What is that sucking sound? It's the sound of all of our resources getting drained into this crazy expensive white elephant park. We all want the park, but it's mind boggling how costly this thing has become.
*The beautification of North Coast Highway 101 from A Street to La Costa Avenue in Leucadia. The cost has not been determined.
This can be done frugally and quickly. If done right it will pay for itself in no time at all as downtown Leucadia attracts more pedestrian shoppers.
*A sea wall and improved trails at Beacons Beach in Leucadia, at an undetermined cost.
This seawall is going to be trouble with a capital T. We must try to improve the bluff access with no seawall or leave Beacon's alone. I still want to see some porti-potties there and at Grandview beach too.
*A $200,000 study of Encinitas Boulevard's alignment to help the city determine how much to charge developers when they build near the east-west artery.
Wow, $200,000 for a study? I need to get in on this gravy. Developers like Michael D Pattinson are going to throw a fit when they hear about these new fess, ha-ha!
*A $20 million pedestrian crossing at the Leucadia rail tracks.
There is no freaking way in hell that every time I cross the tracks to pick up my dry cleaning in the 7-11 shopping center that it should cost $20 million. The world has gone insane. I can avoid getting hit by the train for free. A few thousand in landscaping I can understand, but $20 million? This is the kind of stuff that makes me crazy.
Improvements at Leucadia Boulevard and Vulcan Avenue that would cost $5 million. The intersection is a car length east of the railroad tracks. Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks suggested moving the Leucadia Boulevard rail crossing farther south, where the tracks are lower and the street could be built with less incline than it currently has.
Now, this is confusing. Is this related to the above $20 million? Why do these improvements only cost $5 million while a single pedestrian crossing cost $20 million. I don't get it. Moving the intersection could work as long as it doesn't screw over the good people who live on Cadmus. We want to see traffic studies on this one.
*Sidewalks and roundabouts on Leucadia Boulevard, estimated to cost $1 million.
I decided I'm okay with the roundabouts because I drive like a little old lady from Pasadena anyway, but people are kind of flipping out about these things. I think we all like the sidewalks though. I had a lot of near death experiences when I was kid walking from the Flats to Beacon's down Leucadia Blvd. Sidewalks would have been nice.
*A downtown parking facility at a cost to be determined.
*cough* Pacific View would be a great downtown and beach overflow parking site. Anyone? Is this thing on? *cough*
*Traffic improvements near the 43-acre park near Santa Fe Drive. The cost has not been computed.
The cost has not been computed? Somebody get one of those new fangled electronic abacass asap!
*Ongoing road improvements to establish a network of routes for children to ride their bicycles or walk to school.
I thought kids got to school as single riders in big plush SUVs, sipping juice boxes while watching Finding Nemo on DVD.
Besides setting priorities, the council also decided to:
Authorize a ballot measure asking voters if they want to collect a hotel tax on vacation rental units.
I am usually against all taxes but if the hotel owners have to pay taxes then the summer renters should have to pay taxes too.
Study whether special events, such as sister-city activities, should be held by private entities to save taxpayers money. Already, the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce has offered to take over the Christmas Parade.
Will this really save us money? How?
Study whether the city should establish a permanent environmental oversight committee.
This sounds good in theory, but what are the details?
Accept an overall MainStreet “czar” – Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association Executive Director Peder Norby – as the coordinator of downtown, Cardiff and Leucadia merchants associations.
Right now there is a certain amount of competition between downtown Encinitas, Cardiff and Leucadia. Can Norby be neutral and fair to all three downtowns?
Consider designating downtown as a historical zone.
Sounds neat-o. But, what does this mean for the ambitious high density projects that are going into downtown? What does this mean for the small business owner who wants to make improvements to his/her building? Or, is this simply installing a plaque that reads "You are standing in a historical zone"?
Post public documents on the city's Web site and consider announcing closed-session decisions more often.
Yes and yes.
Explore the formation of a construction oversight commission to ensure that the city gets the biggest bang for its buck.
Be careful of running into the law of diminishing returns here. We don't need anymore $100,000 a year jobs with fat pensions.
Consider banning or regulating commercial enterprises, such as surfing schools, at the beaches.
BAN ALL SURF SCHOOLS! LEARN TO SURF ON YOUR OWN AND STAY OUT OF THE WAY YOU YUPPIE FREAKS! Surf schools are insane. Sending a dozen novice surfers out at a time causes serious havoc in the lineup. If you don't surf you have no idea of the major tension that has been building up over the last 5 years over this.
Read the entire UT article by clicking the link at the top of the post.