Sunday, May 20, 2007

Encinitas exploring 'retail-only' regulations for Ground Floors

Encinitas exploring 'retail-only' regulations

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

ENCINITAS -- Determined to retain the viability of its downtown business district, Encinitas is exploring a "retail-only" restriction for the ground floors of buildings on South Coast Highway 101.

In a report to the Encinitas City Council Thursday, Planning Director Patrick Murphy recommends amending planning documents to specify the kinds of businesses that would be allowed along 101.

The council will consider the report when it meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 505 S. Vulcan Ave.

Attached to the report is an analysis prepared by the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association. The analysis lists reasons why seven other California cities have enacted similar restrictions.

Maintaining a pedestrian-friendly environment and reserving space for businesses that serve residents and visitors are among the reasons the cities of Alameda, Arcadia, Atascadero, Coronado, Redwood, San Luis Obispo and San Mateo cited when regulating commercial space in their business districts.

"The concept is something I can support," Councilwoman Teresa Barth said Thursday.

Closer to Encinitas, the city of Del Mar recently adopted an emergency ordinance to encourage more retail and fewer offices in its small business district. Real estate, financial and legal offices occupy much of the valuable space.

"They lock the door at 5 p.m. and inadvertently take the life out of downtown," Barth said.

"The whole success of downtown is vibrancy," she continued. "That vibrancy is in the evening and the weekends."


  1. This is either the problem or justification for government in our lives.

    Why is government affraid to let individual landlords decide what is best? Ever heard of market forces?

    On the other hand individual decisions based on INDIVIDUAL profit motive can sometimes select for an outcome that is less productive for the landlords and for the public.

    This discussion is going to get interesting and unfortunately very political. I would suggest that the position of DEMA, L101, and the Chamber be on record even before this discussion starts.

  2. I fully support the regulations to preserve a downtown that is enjoyable to the residents and tourists. Realty and lawyer offices don't do squat for the area, except bring monkey suites to the area during the day.

    Great Job Patrick Murphy and Council for addressing this problem before we end up like Del Mar.

  3. If the taxpayer is going to be pouring money into downtown so that we have a vibrant downtown and the merchants invited the city's participation then it is more than appropriate for the city to make sure their investment doesn't go to waste.

  4. Does this mean I can open an F St bookstore in Pacific Station?

  5. That would be stimulating. Very vibrant!

  6. This is Planning Director Patrick Murphy trying to protect his giant salary and even more gigantic pension. Retail generates sales tax which the city relies on to help fund their overhead.

    Let market forces decide. Let property owners decide how to use their property as they see best.

    Less government is better government!!

  7. Will there be elevators to the 2nd floors? What if you are an elderly war veteran with a foot injury and you need to talk to your insurance agent and can't walk up a flight of stairs?

    Why does the city of Encinitas hate our veterans so much???

  8. Barth our savior from the good old boys is already talking about government regulating your lives.
    Let the free market rule.

    But if you are going to specify what business I can put in my real estate I suggest bars, strip clubs and sex stores. These will attract people from all over the county and we will have a lively downtown till 3 or 4 in the AM. We will have sexy girls on the street corners for us crippled war vets to ogle on the way to our insurance agents.

    Sleepy Encinitas is perfect, leave it alone.

  9. If Encinitas is determined to become more urban and increase the population density then it needs to allow more bars to open. D St bar&grill, the Saloon and 1st Street are overcrowded on weekends and have long lines just to get in. The addition of Pacific Station and the lofts at the artist colony are going to make this worse.

  10. All properties are regulated, every single one. It's called zoning.

    Let the market decide and you'll end up with a costco next to your house, or 25 units to the acre next to your 1 acre pad.

    This sounds reasonable to keep the first floor in downtown mostly retatil.
    there are plenty of spaces for offices in downtown.

  11. Developer might pay for train quiet zone

    By Angela Lau

    May 19, 2007

    Encinitas residents may get a break from train horns if the city pairs up with the developer of a downtown condominium-retail complex to silence the blasts.

    John DeWald, developer of Pacific Station, said he was considering paying for more safety equipment at the E Street rail crossing near his development to eliminate the need for train horns.

    He is the first developer in North County to offer to pay for a so-called quiet zone, said Jerome Stocks, the Encinitas councilman who is chairman of the North County Transit District board of directors, which owns the tracks.

    Quiet zones are federally approved crossings that have additional safety features so train engineers are not required to give warning blasts before approaching – though they retain the option.

    Cities along the rail line have been considering quiet zones to placate residents who say the horns play havoc with their sleep and sanity. So far, no city in the county has established a quiet zone.

    The city of San Diego may be the closest to navigating the costs and federal requirements. It expects to install 13 quiet zone crossings near downtown by September.

    In Encinitas, Pacific Station, which is expected to break ground in six to eight months, will include 47 condos and roughly 51,600 square feet of retail, office and restaurant space at 687 S. Coast Highway 101.

    DeWald's offer to pay for a quiet zone would be ineffective unless the city helps him meet federal standards.

    Quiet zones must be at least one-half mile long. But the E Street crossing is only 100 yards south of the D Street rail crossing. To make an E Street quiet zone possible, there must be one at D Street as well, Stocks said. The city would need to consider footing the bill for that crossing, and Stocks said he planned to ask the City Council to consider the issue.

    “We have people from various parts of the city who want quiet zones, but no one wants to pay for them,” Stocks said. “This is a very refreshing development.”

    DeWald said he needed to know the price tag before making a decision. The expense varies depending on existing safety equipment, the way the crossing was built and its history of accidents, Federal Railroad Administration spokesman Warren Flatau said. Stocks said hehoped the cost in Encinitas would fall between $250,000 and $750,000.

    Cities that wish to establish quiet zones must first assess the risk of accidents at those crossings.

    The D and E streets crossings have had accidents, according to Federal Railroad Administration records.

    The D Street crossing had five accidents between 1978 to 2005, one of which involved a pedestrian injured while stopped on the crossing. Others involved cars stopped or stalled on the crossing. No motorists were injured because everyone got out of the cars before the trains hit.

    At the E Street crossing, four accidents occurred between 1975 and 2003. A pedestrian on the tracks was killed. One motorist driving over the crossing was injured and the other two motorists escaped injury by abandoning their cars.

    Safety measures that qualify a crossing as a quiet zone include:

    Quadruple gates across the road.

    Fiberglass medians that separate traffic lanes to prevent motorists from driving around lowered gates.

    Cameras to catch violators.

    The conversion of two-way roads to one-way.

    Most cities along the rail line – except Solana Beach, which has no crossings – have discussed establishing quiet zones.

    Oceanside is considering assessing property owners to raise the $7 million to $9 million needed to establish quiet zones at five crossings.

  12. free market when convenient..

    government involment when you want something...

    How much money has the taxpayer poored into downtown Encinitas? Why shouldn't we have let the merchants and landowners pay for these upgrades that we are told pay for themselves when you consider all the new customers.

    Why should the taxpayer pay for a 101 czar? Let the free market take care of everything. Let the merchants fund the czar! Let the chamber of commerce justify their funding to their members instead of getting a wellfare hand out from the taxpayer.

  13. anon 12:04,

    you seem to support anarchy when things are well.

  14. anon 1204

    You hit the target. You are on the money. The merchants should be paying for those positions.

    I say more bars and restaurants. Close first street and make it a walking mall. route traffic to second street. Maybe it will help Dalger's business.

  15. John DeWald's offer to pay for a quiet zone at E Street crossing is not any good will effort. Pacific Station will benefit greatly.

    We should be concerned about Downtown being walled out with dense projects like Pacific Station. It really is just the beginning. John DeWald has had numerous meetings with the owners of the Lumberyard. Pacific Station from E Street to Hanson's.

  16. JP should get his pokey sticks ready.


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