Saturday, September 01, 2007

Save Cardiff?

Big story in the Union Tribune today about the growing concerns about the new Cardiff downtown master plan.

Cardiff downtown master plan will shape growth

Business district at risk, some fear

ENCINITAS – V.G. Donuts & Bakery is still an institution in Cardiff. Its coffee is still 99 cents a cup, and its wedding cakes are still in demand.

But there is something different at the shop these days.

The buzz at the bakery in an aging commercial center has veered from city politics and surfing to a recent upheaval in Cardiff – its controversial downtown master plan.

It is a planning document that would dictate the growth pattern of the community's business district known for its casual, unrefined and friendly atmosphere.

Some fear a portion of the proposed plan that allows mixed-use developments with residential-commercial combinations could raze the business district – generally a four-block stretch along San Elijo Avenue – and replace it with a massive housing complex.
read the rest.

A new website has been created to tackle to issue (the site design is the best local political website we've seen yet),

Save Cardiff Dot Com

Blogger's take:

*Is the issue really mixed use? Because downtown Cardiff is already mixed use. For example, the studio apartments above Pipe's Cafe.

*The main concern is that the classic and iconic VG's shopping center will be torn down to make way for a sprawling Pacific Station style development. The UT article doesn't mention who owns this shopping center. What does the property owner think? What are his/her long term plans? VG's and Besta Wan Pizza are the heart and soul Cardiff and it would be insane for the city of Encinitas to entertain razing this area.

*The new Cardiff master plan should include language that preserves the VG's shopping center. Can this shopping center become a designated historical landmark? I know the local Cardiff residents feel it is.

*The city of Encinitas has hired Peder Norby as the coast highway coordinator/czar. Technically, downtown Cardiff is not on the coast highway but it's close enough so that he should be involved in this process considering he brings a lot of knowledge and insight to the table.

*An interesting sidebar to this story is that hundreds of local Cardiff surfers, normally apathetic to politics, have become extremely active in this issue. Why? Besides that VG's is ground zero for Cardiff surf culture, the much maligned surfer statue sent a shockwave through the Cardiff surfing community. The arrival of the statue is viewed as the precursor to the yuppification of Cardiff.

*I had a conversation with a Cardiff resident recently and I told him I thought a lot of the chain e-mails circulating about the downtown master plan had a lot of fear mongering. He shook his head and said, "Be afraid, be very afraid." implying that I was naive. He also expressed frustration that city council member Teresa Barth who lives in Cardiff can't vote on the master plan (it's easy to see both sides of that issue).

*Keep Cardiff Funky?

Coast News op-ed piece about Cardiff, click here.


  1. The noveau riche who are building the McMansions don't care about VG's and Besta-Wan. They want upscale and the old shops are just eyesores to them. Look at the Seaside Market shopping center and the building that replaced Miracles for a glimpse of what the future could hold for Cardiff... if the Manchester (& Seaside Upholstery)building architecture is replicated there's a chance that our towne can retain some of the old (funky)charm. Keep Cardiff Cool?

  2. Oh come on-

    Look what a few thousand caring fellas did to renovate hillcrest. And don’t you just looovvve it!

    I think I just bring the awakening of Cardiff's efforts to become the hillcrest of N. County. Hold on babes, this is going to be fun!

  3. Oh, Mary, you're such a drama queen... let's go shopping!

  4. City Planning Director Patrick Murphy is wrong when he says the opponents of mixed-use "are running on fear." There has always been the real threat that mixed-use will ruin downtown Cardiff. It has only been the very strong opposition from local residents that has forced the proponents of mixed-use on the committee to consider putting strong restrictions on mixed-use, yet to be voted on. I wonder why we need mixed-use at all. The mixed-use that is already there is grandfathered in.

    Mayor James Bond's vaunted transparency in city process has been a mockery here. There has been a carefully orchestrated attempt by the city and its supporters to push mixed-use. I am puzzled by the motives of these supporters. They seem to be ignoring the wishes of a majority of the community.

    Andrew Audet has been unfairly criticized for a flyer he prepared showing the Pacific Station plans for downtown Encinitas as a possibility in Cardiff. Yet these same plans were presented to the committee by facilitator Peder Norby and planner Dave De Cordova. The consultant Mark Bordeur brought in at city expense at the last meeting agreed that a similar project could happen in Cardiff on the larger parcels or through lot consolidation of smaller parcels.

    The real threat is that residential units will end up as short-term rentals, not as units for owners of buinesses or permanent residents, thus defeating the purpose of mixed-use. Even if short-term rentals are restricted in the specific plan, the Coastal Commission could overrule this. The CC likes to promote access to the beach. The city failed in its attempt to restrict short-term rentals in Leucadia.

    Watch the Robert Mance building across the street from the Patagonia store. Mance was planning to live there on the second floor, but is now asking for permission for short-term rentals. If the city denies this, he will probably appeal to the CC. As this plays out over the next month or two, it will show where the future of Cardiff will be. The fear is justified.

  5. The owner of the property where V.G's is located lives in Spain and he will sell for the right price. That is a afct. Good bye to the old Cardiff unless we do something. Don't count on Council or some so called community leader to do anything.

  6. OMG- Who give a crap about zoning or whateverrrrrr!

    Lets talk shoes!

  7. Yes, the owner of the shopping center where VG Donuts is located does live in Spain. He will surely sell when the value of his property doubles with mixed-use zoning. There will be a huge transfer of public wealth to a private property owner.

    The new developer will promise to preserve VG's in the new complex. That is what Rainer Klewiter promised when Miracle's and Taco Auctioneer were razed. Look what we got instead -- a monument to an owner's ego, an empty retail space on the ground level, and 2 stories of underground parking that is available to the public, but rarely used. There is no helpful signage, so patrons next door at Cicciotti mostly park to the north along the railway right-of-way. Talk about bad urban planning!

    The Klewiter building met existing zoning and building codes, except for one small detail. The project was not viable without a variance for a loading dock on busy San Elijo Avenue. This was slipped in at the last moment, and our city council approved it. Even the city-hired consultant Mark Brodeur admitted at the last CSP meeting that this was a loss to Cardiff. This consultant lives in San Juan Capistrano, where he worked against mixed-use. As a result SJC doesn't have it, yet it is supposed to be good for Cardiff.

  8. Mary: I think you have too many shoes.

  9. I moved here in 1983. It was a small and charming community. Where Cardiff Seaside Market is now, used to be a Value Faire and a Vons. I think that the developers did a nice job with that location. However, enough is enough. Is it just a coincidence that Teresa cannot vote on the Cardiff Specific Plan? She seems so well versed on the rules and regs of lots of other things. Or, is it possible she did not want to vote on this? As I campaigned for her and donated money, I am somewhat disappointed.Perhaps it is time for some folks who think that they run this community to take a hard look at themselves and wonder if their power hasn't led them into areas that they never thought they would be in. Often politicians start out with a great idea, only to be very incidiously drawn into the power structure and the "heady" feeing it can have knowing you have it. My cousin is the Lt. Governor of this State. I have seen it personally, so I have no ilusions about it happening and how it hapens.We live in strange times, however, people are people and the old addage "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" stil can hold true. Do not be afraid, instead take action. Fear stifles the imagination and prevents change.There is nothing to be afrid of if the "little people" that care ban together. These people are all over Encinitas, not just Cardiff. Please get involved. What happens in Cardiff will happen in Leucadia, Olvenhein and other areas in this City. Speak out. As far as I know , there is still no law against that.

  10. Responding to Lorri's concern re: Teresa Barth. Teresa lives within the Cardiff specific plan under study and is prohibited by law to be involved with it. This is considered a conflict of interest. Lorri can verify this with the city attorney. Teresa was interested in the community plan more than six years ago when she was not on the council. She chaired a group of more than 100 volunteers who devoted hundreds of hours of their precious time on a plan. The City on its own hired a highly paid outside consultant. After approximately six years and a lot of excuses for the long delay a draft was finally submitted. It was completely foreign to what the volunteer group turned in. The current study panel should resist an outside consultant being hired. Period.

  11. All of what Bill says is factual. I spent hours on the same committee, as did Teresa and many others. He is also correct about the City hiring an outside consultant. All of this has taken a considerable amount of time and useless effort and money on the part of the City. The citizens of Cardiff never asked for much in the first place. However, we now have a supposedly "blue ribbon" committee of hand chosen people to come up with a new plan. I know I wasn't asked to be on this committee, and I am not aware of being able to even apply for the committee. How it was formed is a mystery to me. Perhaps I am just "out of the loop"? However, Teresa was kind enough to phone me tody to talk about her conflict of interest. I have been gone all day, so have not been able to return the call.I will report back when I speak with her.

  12. why not just build mixed use around the Sports park, it'll give the NIMBY's a place to shop for there "Cardiff Local since 2002" T-shirts

  13. I spoke with Teresa Barth today. She was very kind and forthcoming. She stated that, yes, she knew that she would not be able to vote on the Cardiff Specific Plan when she ran for office. She also stated that she did not believe that it would be an issue because the City had hired an outside consultant and she believed that the consultant would come back with something quite different than the document finally disclosed to the Council and citizens of this community.She feels there are a lot of issues needing to be addressed in Encinitas and she wants to be able to particpte in the process. For this I commend her.
    I am still not quite certain as to how the "blue ribbon"Cardiff Specific PlanC ommittee was selected.In all fairness to Teresa, she did attempt to explain this, however, I am still confused. Perhaps it is me? I am pretty certain, that citizens could NOT have filled out an application asking to be on this committe, as ther were no applications to be filled out. It was hand selected. By whom I am not quite certain. I do know that some of them are the same people who gave us the already infamous Cardiff Surf Statue. One thing that I will say for Teresa Barth. She is available and appears to be into the spirit of transparency in government. That IS refreshing.

  14. OH JOY.

    The approximately $25 million road extension between Twin Oaks Valley Road and San Elijo Road officially opens to traffic Thursday. The steep new road is expected to cut commute time because it will provide a more direct route for motorists moving between the southern and southwestern parts of the city. They'll be able to avoid Rancho Santa Fe Road – the long way around.

    YES - This is great!

    Now Encinitas will get even more commuters “freeway avoidance traffic”. I’m sure the Residents of Encinitas don’t mind picking up the cost for maintaining the roads for the regions commuter traffic, and gridlocking our intersection which lowers emergency response times. We welcome all. More cut through traffic please. And PS- Can you try and speed up a little more. We don’t enforce our laws anyway.

    I bet the existing Encinitas commuters want mind adding a few more thousand cars waiting to get on the Manchester I5 interchange in the morning. Welcome San Marcos, Vista and Escondido commuters to our traffic nightmare.

  15. If anyone cares to know the "players" in the new committee on the Cardiff Secific Plan and how thy voted on mixed use, read the current Home Town Allience newsletter. VERY revealing and VERY disappointing from my point of view. I will say I am no longer a memebr of the Cardiff Town Coucnil or the Cardiff Chamber. I am sure they are not too upset about it.

  16. I often look back to the good old days of pre-incorporation, and I wonder what it would be like if we hadn't decided to become a city. Then again, I was hopeful that incorporation would improve and at the same time preserve the communities of Cardiff, Leucadia, Encinitas, and Olivenhain. I was wrong... I admit that recently there have been some decent improvements made: The roundabouts, the alien surfer statue, etc. However, the road closures (ex: La Posta and Crest), and the plethora of stop signs (ex: RSF RD.) were either questionably legal, or just plain BAD decisions.


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