This landed in in my inbox over the weekend:
ENCINITAS HOMETOWN ALLIANCE UPDATE
September 2, 2007 P.O. Box 230314, Encinitas, California WWW. hometownalliance.org (760)753-7477
CITY COUNCILMEN LEARY OF 2008 ELECTION
City watchers are amazed at the change in several Encinitas City Councilmen. Some optimists believe that the election of Teresa Barth has caused the culprits to trade in their black hats for bright new white ones. We would all like to hope that is the case, but most activists attribute the transformation to the fact that these so-called representatives are realizing that their reelection won’t be a walk in the park come November 2008 and are temporarily playing to the crowd.
After so many years of disrespect shown the public and the taxpayers, it is probable that there is little these individuals can do to redeem themselves.
Have you noticed that more and more people are standing up for their rights and are demanding to be heard? What was in the past just a whimper from people who had been stepped upon has become a roar of discontent. Residents are finding hope that by organizing they can overcome the moneyed special interests and upset the power base in city hall.
The 2008 election strategy is being formulated and workers organized. Volunteers to help assemble city council voting records and lists of wasteful city actions are being solicited along with an army of walkers and talkers to assist in the local grass roots campaign to take back our hometown.
CARDIFF SPECIFIC PLAN
The first couple of meetings were productive, but 5 Cardiffians on the Encinitas Planning Commission Specific Plan review committee members want to protect Cardiff as it is and do not want to give commercial and office zoned property owners millions of dollars of non-revocable mixed-use high density development rights. The representatives from Cardiff Town Council and the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce, the Olivenhain and New Encinitas planning commissioners, a property owner that could benefit from the decision, and 2 resident committee members voted to approve the upzone.
A new group called Cardiff Protection Association (CPA), lead by Andrew Audet, has done a spectacular job of informing the public about the pitfalls of the Draft Specific Plan and methods to correct it.
CPA representatives stood before Starbucks and walked neighborhoods and polled residents about what they felt about upzoning the 6 block downtown Cardiff business district to allow more residential units above offices and commercial areas. CPA reported that at a ratio of about 300 to 1, Cardiffians wanted to maintain Cardiff’s funky character and the scale and size of existing buildings. The 1,000 plus Cardiffians contacted were against high-density development, mixed-use, more traffic and spot zoning.
CPA presented this fact to the committee along with overflow crowds of concerned citizens but the Review Committee ignored the facts and the people and voted 6 to 5 to proceed with mixed use development on smaller lots in the heart of the community.
It should be made clear that property owners do not now have the right to develop dwelling units in the Specific Plan area. What the majority of the committee is doing is granting these owners a benefit that could increase the value of their property many times over with the city receiving nothing in return. The result will undoubtedly be that owners will scrape their lots and build new lot line to lot line cookie cutter buildings similar to those constructed in every other “Smart Growth” community.
The Coastal Commission supports short term beach rentals and can override city regulations. Consequently, there is no doubt that most of the rental units proposed to be built over commercial space in Cardiff will be occupied wall to wall with vacationers and outsiders.
It is not hard to understand why the two planning commissioners, who do not live in Cardiff and are beholden to the city council, would support high density development and traffic, but no one can figure out why the 5 Cardiff residents are going against the city’s general plan and their neighbors wishes.
Some residents believe that the reason the city has hired 3 high priced consultants to push mixed-use is because it’s hoped that such units will help the city meet its low income housing quota. Others feel it’s just a manifestation of the city council’s disregard for Cardiff.
BROWN NURSERY DEVELOPMENT
The Brown group has supposedly resubmitted its application with the City of Encinitas to develop its land at the corner of Lake Drive and Santa Fe Drive. They had previously requested 15 units per acre, this time they are asking for an upzone from 1 unit per acre to 5.
A developer confirmed this week what most residents had always suspected. He said that builders always ask for far more than reasonable so that neighbors think they have won when a lesser number of units is approved. The game seems to be working to a degree as some neighbors seem to be falling for the ploy.
To try to avoid going to a vote of the people, Browns have submitted a development agreement to the city. There is speculation that they will try to meet with the city council behind closed doors to discuss the merits of their agreement sometime in September.
An effort is being made to formalize the Neighbors of Brown into a powerhouse organization, complete with officers, bylaws and budget. Expect an announcement shortly.
This item is scheduled to be heard by the traffic commission on September 10, 2007 at 5:30 at city hall.
It would be beneficial for all to consider attending this meeting. Somehow we must insist that the traffic commission become involved early in the process and be allowed to screen all general plan amendments for traffic impacts before the items go to the city council.
Staff is working with the state housing authority in an effort to achieve compliance with state requirements. It submitted a draft proposal to the state on 8/9/07 without clearing it first with the whole city council. It is feared that some of the appeasements included will be contrary to the wellbeing and quality of life for Encinitas residents.
The staff expects a response from the state within 60 days. Citizens must be standing by to act quickly once the Sacramento shoe falls.
City staff is bogged down working on the Hall property EIR and has not had the time to work on the school project.
MOBILE PARK STUDY
No new developments in the city effort to classify the mobile parks as affordable housing. This looks like another misdirected effort on the part of city as just the space rental alone in many parks exceeds the amount allowed for low or moderate-income households.
LA COSTA VISITOR SERVING PROPERTY
The city council unanimously voted down a rezone of the piece of property on La Costa Avenue west of the gas station next to the I-5 freeway from visitor serving to high-density residential.
On Wednesday, August 22, the city council voted unanimously to reject the application for a rezone at 945 Orpheus. This is the property adjacent to the Texaco gas station property just west of I-5 and north of Leucadia Blvd.
The owner had applied for a General Plan amendment to change the zoning from Ecological Resource/Open Space to Office Professional. A similar request was rejected in 2005.
SCRIPPS HOSPITAL EXPANSION
No date for the completion of the master plan EIR has been set.
ADES AND GISH
It is reported that the developer appears to be willing to work with neighbors. Although it appears a little better than first presented, the applicant is taking full advantage of the dastardly Density Bonus law and jamming in as many units as possible.
Meyer still has not resolved his request to switch the required square footage between his two low-income dwelling units. The man responsible for the Density Bonus Law must have missed a benefit for all developers that he could now use.
CHESTERFIELD VACATION RENTALS
Applicant has an appeal in to the city council to be allowed to include transient habitation (vacation rentals) on the top floor of his mixed use building in the Cardiff business district. The appeal is expected to be heard on September 26, 2007.
If council rejects the appeal, expect the applicant to next appeal the issue to the Coastal Commission.
BLUE RIBBON ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE
The city council voted to conduct a public workshop to consider the Blue Ribbon Environmental Committee recommendations. The report from this committee had been sitting ignored for some time.
The workshop will be October 11 from 4 to 6 p.m. at city hall.
The latest word is that the EIR report should be completed in fall 2007.
Three groups supporting a community park and not a regional soccer tournament facility held a very successful public awareness event on August 11th. The event drew good TV as well as press coverage. The timing was perfect because lots of people were out for the Dog Days of Cardiff as well.
ENCINITAS OFFICE BUILDING
This project is located at the old Sunshine Gardens site. Application is scheduled to go before the planning commission on September 6, 2007
QUAIL GARDENS DEVELOPMENT
The application for this project was heard on August 2, 2007 by the planning commission. It was continued to allow a subcommittee to work out some problems with the project design. No date for the next hearing has been set.
EL CAMINO REAL CORRIDOR
If the city can suppress Cardiff, expect the next big mixed-use push to focus on the El Camino Real commercial corridor.
HOMETOWN ALLIANCE ACTIVITY
HTA members in support of various groups throughout the city have expended hundreds of hours this summer. Everyday has been filled with productive activity and the results are beginning to really show.
HTA has filed with the State of California as a political action committee in preparation for the 2008 election and possibly for an initiative to control growth and traffic increases.
This Update is an HTA president’s report to members and interested persons. It should not be considered an official HTA publication