Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nov. '07 Issue of Hoodlink now Online

This month Hoodlink features a good write up on the baffling city of Encinitas traffic studies, called unscientific and pathologically inconsistent, and a nice rundown of current local issues. It's always worth taking a look at Hoodlink (pdf file):

See past issues of Hoodlink here.


  1. A standing-room-only crowd of 100 people voiced support last night for CityMark Development's plans to turn five downtown blocks into a mixture of condominiums, shops and restaurants. But people also said they want more parking and less of a “wall” effect.

  2. Brown's only supporter was Gil Foerster, a Cardiff flower grower.

    “I'd appreciate it if you'd hold your catcalls until I'm done,” he told the audience, some of whom later applauded him while the rest remained silent.

    “This is a longtime Encinitas family working against the laws of diminishing return. It is not an unreasonable density for the area.”

    Foerster noted that Brown's property abuts a condominium complex zoned 11 units per acre. Surrounding density ranges from one to eight units per acre.

    “I support (an environmentally sensitive) community development,” Foerster said.

  3. Didn't Gil keep using the plural "we" when he spoke about developing the property?

  4. Don't forget Gil leaves in Questhaven and leases greenhouses from the Browns. He definitely has a vested interest in the outcome. He should have no credibility any this or any other debate concerning Encinitas.

    Whatever happens should happen with a vote of the residents of Encinitas, which doesn't include Gil.

  5. I wonder if Bill Rodewald is going to run for city council? He helped defeat the Ecke initiative and would be good to work to defeat this rezoning too.

  6. Even though I am not fond of the idea of upzoning, perhaps we could let the Browns pay for putting the measure on the ballot, much like we did with the Ecke's? In this way, the people could speak,leaving out the City Council and other "vested interests". What do you all think?

  7. No, not like with the Eckes. The Ecke vote was a fake vote. It was not binding and the Eckes did not have to fess up because it was just a "advisory" vote.

    If you didn't know that and you don't know what that is then you should be asking your council why that wasn't made clear to the public.

  8. Before it starts, don't take pot shots at Gil. If you must, discredit his reasoning and arguments. don't go after him. You don't have to agree with him to recognize and appreciate his contributions to the public dialog.

  9. Gil's argument was that the upzone is justified because the project is to be green. He said that "we" would attempt to get the increased number of homes qualified as the first LEED project in Encinitas. "Is this possible?", he asked. He answered that he didn't know.

    That's a pretty weak argument, based only on promises. The solution is simple: let the citizens of Encinitas decide in a binding vote. Gil has the right to support the Browns and express his opinion. Only he and Janet Lewis, sister of Scott Brown, supported the upzone. I think that says a lot

  10. Dear Anonymous: Please advise me as to the Ecke voting situaiton. I was always under the impression that it was binding. However the public voted, it went. Are you saying that this was not true? Please tell me more, as I was not aware of this all important fact. I do consider myself to be am informed citizen so this bothers me. Either I am not as informed as I thought, or something is wrong. Thank you for your help on this.

  11. Dr. Lorri-

    Its true. It was not binding. You can google the subject and find out for yourself. Dont beat yourself up over it. No biggy. I Dont support upzoning. The State already did a 30% upzoning of all property in Encinitas. That 30% more people than I think fit comfortably in this small space along North County. NO UPZONING. This issue should even need to go vote like Kathleen Kees said. Why waste public money. If the Browns want to waste their money on paying for a public vote, fine. Otherwise it should be a none issue. NO UPZONING!

  12. Woops forgot to explain the 30% up zoning the state did a few years ago. It’s called Density Bonus and it applies to all property in Encinitas. Google it and learn. It sucks.

    The Democrats love it cause it supports their joke of affordable housing (doesn't work - people need to take free enterprise classes), and the republicans love it cause it supports higher density meaning more buildings cramped into a small lot.

    I am voting out all incumbent state and federal representatives. They suck for giving us this lemon.

  13. Prop A was non-binding, but that was not really an issue, as nothing went forward.

  14. Gil is not a bad person. But he clearly has a conflict of interest on this one. Sorry Gil, you should do the browns justice and sit this one out. What advantage does encinitas have from having higher density. If you think higher density is so great, why do you chose to live out in the sticks where there is low density? Do you like San Ellijo Hells?

  15. Interesting conversation. I kinda thought that a small upzone with the promise of green Leed architecture would be a good enough compromise for most folks.

    By the way, are there any organic growers in Encinitas city limits?

  16. Nope.... People don't prefer to live one on top of another if they have a choice. People both their property based on the general plan.... to change it, screws everyone who bought before the change...just as Gil....Even though he "loves" Encinitas, he cant stand the crowds so he moved out to the sticks. I don't see Gil living in any of our Coastal trailer parks.

  17. It is interesting that Gil talks about "a long time Encinitas family working against the laws of diminishing returns". He did not say those kinds of things during Prop A. Could the difference be that this "longtime Encinitas family" is his landlord?

  18. Classic personal gain issue.

    Its only OK if my friends do it, but everybody else should play by the rules. Sounds like Duke Cunningham. I wonder if we'll ever hear about all the slimy back room dealing associated with even getting the issue to this point.

  19. Voting Resident is correct. Prop. A was not binding, but Paul Ecke 3 agreed to abide by the results, which he did. The Eckes had the solid support of 4 of the 5 council members. Only Maggie demured. She was completely intimitated by the wicked witch of the east, aka Christie Guerin. The council could have voted approval with a super majority, but feared that the Coastal Commission would overturn their decision. Gil Foerster was critical in marshalling forces against the zoning change.

    However, I agree with the poster above that Gil should sit this one out. He is too enmeshed with the Browns. He certainly has the right to speak out, but since he doesn't live in Encinitas, it makes his motives look very questionable.

    To J.P.:
    Take a look at the video of the meeting and listen carefully to Gil's comments. They are Clintonesque in their ambiguity. Remember he comes from a family of lawyers. The LEED homes will be much more expensive. This will cut into profits.

    The Browns are interested in making money. After all there are a lot of mouths to feed. I think they said twenty-two. I overheard James Greco, their high priced consultant/lobbyist, accuse one of the speakers of slandering him. I was shocked. This was a blatant threat. If the Browns have any integrity, they will drop this guy like a hot potato. I'm sure City Attorney Sabine would love to join in a lawsuit with Greco against the citizen speaker. We all know how Sabine likes to stifle free speech and make a little money at the same time.

  20. " Prop A was non-binding, but that was not really an issue, as nothing went forward"


    1) It didn't go forward because it didn't just loose it got completely slammed by the voters.
    2) Had it won, the rezone and violation of the development agreement would have happened. That would have been wrong because the Eckes would have won without having to show all their cards. The process was corrupted because the council allowed it to happen that way. They knew what they were doing because the public told them it was sleazy. By the way, you didn't see the Eckes objecting about the sleazy process.

  21. The Browns still qualify for the wonderful bill Arnold approved: SB1818, that runs roughshod over every city's general plan in state. The bill basically enables builders to double the size of their development if "low cost housing" becomes a part of it. At the same time builders double the structure, they are given the "incentives" of LESS parking space requirements! Whadda system.

    And if the Browns were allowed 5 times the zoning requirements they are now permitted, you might as well double that (thanks to SB1818) when it comes to ANYONE wanting to build there and maximize their buck.

  22. I have know the Browns for many years and they are good people, in my opinion. What should happen is the City should purchase their property and turn it into a nice quiet walking park. But that won't happen because your city council is gutless and weak. The city needs the tax revenue generated by these new homes to pay the outrageous salaries and retirements benefits of ex-workers. Plus there is no $$$ to be generated by a park, only outflow of cash. Nope the city needs houses for cash flow.

    From the sounds generated by this blog I doubt the Browns would a friendly reception if they decided to build only 1 house per acre. As per code.

  23. I can't find one quote that justifies this statement:"From the sounds generated by this blog I doubt the Browns would a friendly reception if they decided to build only 1 house per acre."

    In fact that is complete horse crap. Even better, who cares if they did because the Browns not do not need to ask for permission to build R1. They can do that by right. Upzoning is not their right.

    There is no money left for the city to buy anything. Thank you Dalager, Stocks, Bond, Guiren, and Houlihan.

    As for building houses for income: Residential doesn't pay for itself, especially in the long run. Even former Mayor Christy admitted that.

  24. Browns are good people? Why were they trying to rip off the citizens of Encinitas with an upzone to R15.

    That is not the act of good people.

    Good people don't hire scam artists.

  25. i still haven’t figured out how to have an “account,” so i don’t have to do the google dance each
    time i want to post. of course i had to do it this time, didn’t i?

    i do want to take the time to respond to each and everyone. if it takes more than one blog
    response, it’s because business life is pressing a bit now as i make plans to move my operation
    off the Brown property and prepare to address the coastal commission on the de-sal project, another difficult one for me.

    as a farmer, i support any additional water source that might help agricultural land use in san
    diego county remain healthy. as a ocean zone environmental and recreational advocate, i am
    uncomfortable with the plant’s ocean water intake design and unclear on the solutions for the
    plants brine/salt by-products. but that’s another story.

    the Brown property is going to cease being an agricultural property, that’s a fact. my interest in the aspects of that conversion have less to do with profit or money for myself or the Browns than with my perception of the best possible outcome for the residents of Encinitas and visitors to our coastal City. if you just do not believe that, then reading and thinking about anything i write is just a waste of your time.

    on using the plural “we” when speaking about this property. my life has been inter-twined
    agriculturally with this family for thirty-five years(35). Scott and AJ’s grandfather, A.J. “Dad”
    Brown Sr., schooled me, not only as a grower, but as a human being. part of that schooling
    allowed me to sit quietly at the propagation bench and ease-drop when Paul Ecke Sr., dropped by
    to chat and talk shop. i cherish those memories. AJ was eleven, Scott eight when i entered into
    this family’s lives. the Browns, as an extended Encinitas family of 22, seldom come to a
    majority consensus on anything. as long as i walked softly, i fit right in, almost like family.

    Eric Anderson’s grandfather was Horace Anderson. A.J.“Dad” Brown taught me the meat and potatoes of flora-culture production, while nurserymen like Horace Anderson showed me how to look for the spices that give the life-style it’s flavor.

    i moved from Encinitas to Elfin Forest because Eric Anderson asked me to be a part of, and
    eventually help guide the development of Seedco, the family 24 acre seed farm. to this day, i
    continue to care passionately about the success of that farm, and remain there because the
    relationship benefits both parties. when all parties benefit, this is called a good deal.

    i don’t form alliances very easily or often, my report cards used to say “does not play well with others.”
    i feel that my relationship with both these families has been healthy and nourishing for all
    concerned. i feel i have the same relationship with the City of Encinitas, i was here when the baby
    was born and i care passionately about it’s everlasting future. i would not change a thing, the
    good or the bad. when the Brown property is developed and i am forced to move my daily presence away, i will be very sad. i am a part of Encinitas just as much as it is a part of me.
    creditable? at the least a different perspective.

    Bill Rodewald was a perfect fit on the planning commission. i hate that he is no longer there.

    the Ecke vote was anything but a fake vote. the vote was a valid discussion among the citizens
    about their perception and interpretation of the term “in perpetuity” as it related to The Ranch property at that particular point in time. the citizens had to weigh the changes in the agricultural environment with their perception of the landholders relative financial burdens in dealing with those changes.

    it was a meaty question. it was binding at that particular point in time “advisory” or not. there
    may come a day when the citizens decide that “agricultural use” is no longer the best use of those
    acres and “advise” a council to release the Ecke’s of that restriction. that may even happen
    while i am still walking the streets of Encinitas.

    that’s enuf for the first blog in awhile but as the governor used to say “I’ll be back.”

  26. Gil, we often agree on a lot of issues, but not on the sum total of this one. I'm not sure if you will be doing your friends a favor by being so active in this rezone, you may actually harm their cause.

    Your point regarding water and agriculture is right on. We can't get enough water soon enough. And it's true of domestic water useage as well. Water however, is a very critical resource to development. The upzone that will be requested by the Browns will require 5 times the number of water meters than present development rights allow. Soon our leaders are going to be asking for significant reductions in water useage per household. My response will be, only if you quit issuing water meter permits! You can't have it both ways. I'll conserve when you show me you're conserving.

    I know that you will tell me that there will be a net reduction in water consumption relative to the present use, but that's not a logical argument. We still need that ag water somewhere.

    Water will be an ever increasing issue for all development here, and I hope we have the leadership to handle it responsibly.

  27. Gil, what does this mean exactly?
    "the best possible outcome for the residents of Encinitas and visitors to our coastal City"

  28. i do remain supportive of LEED certified upzoning. is a quality LEED development possible on the Brown property? would it encourage other properties in the Lake Dr. area that are going to have their development density increased build LEED certified housing to the point that the area became a LEED certified ND development? i don't know.

    as far as speaking up for the project concept at Council, Bob Bonde, Jerry and the usual no growth advocates were out in force and the situation can be a bit intimidating for the newby. that's never bothered me. im a pretty honest, moderately well informed guy who likes me no matter what anyone says.

    i think the density bonus development bill hoodwinked our legislators and threatens our State's communities 90 out of 100 times that it is used. i hate it.

    i can't sit this one out until the Browns tell me to shut-up. i sat out of it when the concept was R-15 because i couldn't support that density on that property. i am only involved in it at this late date because i don't support RR-1 either and the MacMansions it seems to spawn.

    as far as being "screwed" by a zoning change after purchasing ones property (as local yokal pointed out) the Browns got the royal one. this property was zoned Agricultural-70 before city-hood, its the reason "Dad" Brown bought the property in 1951. if it had been left as A-70 at city-hood as i and the Browns requested, the Browns would only be requesting a change of zoning from A-70 to zoning similar to that on neighboring residential property. i spend 12 hours a day in Encinitas, i make an effort to eat at least ten meals a week in Encinitas, i buy my groceries, my gas, get my mail, do my laundry, my printing, and on and on, all in Encinitas. when i'm to tired to drive to my trailer in Elfin Forest,which happens as i get older, i sleep in a trailer in Encinitas.

    the Brown family, unlike the Ecke family made no "promises" to the citizens of Encinitas. this family, unlike the Ecke family does not have an income stream from the "other" 360 acres of their property. at the time of Prop A the citizens debated the community meaning of "in perpetuity" i just could not support the position which would have supported disolving the covenent, something that the document DOES allow.

    Part of the reasoning behind Maggie demurring was i plead with her to take the high road and not take a councilmember position on an issue the council wanted a non council influenced citizen decision on. Maggie hated sitting on the side lines and i know how hard it was for her. to this day i have nothing but respect for her.

    i don't get any personal gain whether the property is developed RR-1 or RR-5(Green). either way i am out a growing area. no classic personal gain benefits that i can see.

    i am flattered to be mentioned in the same breath as bill clinton. his mistake was letting the little head do some of his thinking while he was president. yes, i come from a long line of very honest and noble lawyers, something become rarer with each graduating class.

    and yes, the browns might very well make more take-home money if they developed macmansions on their property as compared to any green development. and they may decide to do that.

    if anyone is to be blamed for the Ecke's taking the question to the voters as anon 11/10-08:56 refers to as a sleazy process, it is i. it is the path that i told P3 was most likely to pass coastal if he could first convince the electorate. i spoke at council in support of P3's request that a vote be allowed. i also told Paul that i would be writing in support of maintaining the covenent at that point in time.

  29. "any additional water source that might help agricultural land use"


    This statement is how lots of people think. But how much is that water going to cost?

  30. Gil,
    No reason to defend yourself to this group, they have only one opinion in mind... their own. Anyone else is wrong in their eyes, no matter how decent and reasonable you may be.

    Anon 11:57, 11:59- Jesus loves you!!

  31. that's one of the other things that i find creepy about the de-sal plant. i hate to commercialize a commodity as basic as water.

  32. R1 is what it is zoned, r 15 is what they wanted, i would say no way to that. r 5 is a compromise and might be the way to go. I don't mind people building on THEIR property, it sucks when it is your neighborhood but it is going to happen. Be a part of the process, voice your opinion, and hope for the best.

    as for the water, I truly believe that San Diego region should have a desal plant if for no other reason than to have a source of water locally if and when a major earthquake disrupts north to south water flow. no water source in socal is crazy and having a local unending source should be a matter of public safety.

  33. Whoa, the question of the Brown upzone isn't just for those ten acres. There's hundreds of acres of RR1 zoned property in the Cardiff Lake area and thousands of acres in the city. The Browns want upzoning to R5 to make more money. How do you say no to upzonig to all the other RR1 property owners who want to make more money?

  34. Anon - November 11, 2007 8:44 AM:

    How do you say no to upzonig to all the other RR1 property owners who want to make more money?

    Well, according to Gil, if they "have money", (like the Ecke's), then they don't get to upzone. If they are a "hard working" family like the Browns, they get to. Simple as that!

  35. ANON 810: "R1 is what it is zoned, r 15 is what they wanted, i would say no way to that."

    Why would you say no to R15?

    ANON 810: "r 5 is a compromise and might be the way to go."

    Why is R15 no good but R5 is fine? How is that a compromise? The Browns gave nothing up coming down to ASKING FOR R5. Nothing. With your perspective it is a good thing they didn't ASK for R100, because we could end "compromising" to R50???

    ANON 810: "I don't mind people building on THEIR property, it sucks when it is your neighborhood but it is going to happen."

    Correct. It is going to happen and it shouldn't "suck" because that is the right of the property owner and was always their option. Did anyone speak out at the meeting and say the city shouldn't allow houses to be built? No, then give up that straw man argument. These people are not against the Browns executing their property rights and building.

    That is so important. These people are not against the Browns executing their property rights and building. The issue is upzoning.

  36. with a majority of the other properties zoned RR-1 being LESS than five acres it is only going to take a simple majority of the sitting council to allow one step upzoning.

    in the lake drive area i would prefer that such up-zones had to be "green." "green' homes are not going to have lawns (huge water wasters), they are going to re-cycle their grey water, and pump power back into the grid. the buyers are going to be eco conscious, they will be driving small hybreds, they will very likely not have cars the size of tanks. right now when it gets a little chilly the air in the park place area smells of fireplaces burning wood, most eco concious folks understand this too contributes to poor air quaility and global warming. families in something less than macmansions are more likely to send their kids to our public schools. the probability that they will be more involved with our community, rather than living behind their fenced gated homes seems likely. this kind of residents i want in Encinitas.

    do not confuse my position on wealth. i love rich people. they have the disposable income to purchase the product that i produce. it is really up to the community to decide what the future growth and inevitable RR-1 upzoning looks like in Encinitas.

    if the citizens, as a group, act like ostriches, putting their heads in the ground at the sign of something they don't like or understand, when they finally pull those heads out they have no one to blame but themselves.

    have to load truck for monday delivery the rest of the day and may not get back to answer blogs until late tonight or tomorrow. Coastal meets wed.-fri. this week and so tues is "gils prepares" day.

    and contrary to some bloggers opinion nothing, nothing,is "as simple as that."

  37. Responses:

    Gil until you LIVE in Encinitas stay out of our politics

    NO UPZONING without a VOTE of the citizens

    De-Salt as much sea water as possible. Technology won't improve until we start using and buying the water. Water is already a commodity. We pay for it.

    Browns could be nice people but they shouldn't be allowed to profit on the backs of their neighbors.

  38. Is the spice of life something you can grow and then smoke?

  39. Gil ... You commented about Bill Rodewald being on Planning Commission. When was that?

  40. R1=McMansions. Visualize just how big an acre is. My parents house is on a 1/4 acre and their backyard is huge.

    I think for the Brown's R5 is a reasonable compromise.

    And, Leed homes don't have to really expensive. Part of Leed is designing a home that is energy efficient (not having to turn on any lights during the day due to clever window placement, etc). If they built Leed pre-fab stuff like the Dwell home it would be cheaper than the Barrat American Nantucket homes.

    I think the Brown property should become a new groovy pre-gab mobile home village powered by solar. Or, a senior citizen RV park.

  41. The issue isn't about a compromise. It is about an upzone.

  42. Just a comment about LEED certification. It's not what you think. Yes, it does represent green, responsible and sustainable development, but it is a monitored and graded process that requires a lot of money to comply. You can develop in a responsible way without the certificate, simply your choice. The certification is only an ego contest, a silly game played by municipalities, etc. to measure their eco-prowess.

    If it is important for you to be eco-conscious, and it should be, design and build it so. Don't bother with the paper.

    There is no reason to grant an upzone for being responsible for the environment, we should all be doing that anyway.

  43. let's see...i lived in Encinitas 19 years before i moved to elfin because of my job. i have been appearing before coastal and the city for 22 years. do you want to pick and choose the actions i have influenced as they suit your political bent? too bad, you can't.

    water is a commodity. but it is a commodity priced by the water co.s that provide the infrastructure that transports it at a cost determined by your water co. without any taken for shareholders. the citizens within each water district are the "share holders." the de sal plant is a private for profit water producer. does this mean that in the future you only get water if you can buy it from a private company, other wise you get none? in other words profiting on the backs of the of the users? (read neighbors)

    no,the spice of life-style has to do with making a vocation an avocation. don't think you can smoke that but if one's successful it is a daily high.

    interesting that JP should talk of a mobile home village. this was the first idea i tried to get the Browns interested in but they were sure the neighbors would be against it. i liked the idea. and i love the dwell house, the wee house, and many of the other space resource conscious pre fab designs available today.

    LEED certification makes the builders toe the mark and yes it is another expense but it necessary so the communities don't get flim-flammed.

    and yes being responsible for the environment should be a way of life. left coast will be starting a campaign tomorrow to remove all the lawns from residences in encinitas as well as mandating carpooling. i cant believe the number of commuters driving to work with only one person in the car. go get em leftcoast.

  44. Hey JP- the Size of the lot has nothing to do with McMansions. I have seen many small mobile homes on 10 acre lots. I have also seen thousands of 6,000 sf (two story) houses on 5,000 sf lots (just look at Carlsbox). Personally, if people are going to build McMansions I rather they have the large lots to screen the public from their ego blight. I hate the classic CA box home Mcmansion Architecture on the typical 5,000sf lot all so common in S.CA today. I say stay with R1 which is really R1.33 now.

  45. Stay with the RR1 zoning and the General Plan. No upzoning.

    Have you read the facts concerning the Browns Developer Agreement? The information included in the Brown's Developer Agreement outline proposal may be found in the City Council's November 7th agenda packet. I guarantee you will find all the letters and documents worthwhile.

    You can find this City Council agenda packet by going to the City's website
    or call the city at 633-2600 for help in accessing the site.

    When you finally get to the agenda for Nov 7 scroll down until you get to item #7, then click under the name of Scott Brown.

    Think about the developers agreement submitted by the Browns and their consultants and developers.

    The Brown's Developers Agreement states that one of its purposes is to establish a precedent with the city in how upzoning applications are to be processed in the future. It wants to change the process for upzoning as required by the General Plan.

    Please take the time to read the letters Scott Brown has sent to his small 4-6 member Focus Group and his letter to the city.

    He asks the focus group to gather support from the community to promote the Developer Agreement PROCESS, not the specific elements of their housing plan, but the PROCESS.

    Makes you wonder why.

  46. JP,

    Do you define compromise like this:

    com·pro·mise /ˈkɒmprəˌmaɪz/ noun, verb, -mised, -mis·ing.
    1. a settlement of differences by mutual concessions

    What concessions do the Browns give up?
    How about this compromise? The Browns build at R1. That is fair.

    At R5 the Browns are still going to build McMansions and that is why square footage is not in the development agreement.

  47. At Brown's Plants on Lake Drive in Encinitas, one of the owners, Scott Brown, is waiting for the right buyer to come along. He said developers approach him and make offers every month.

    Brown, who co-owns two properties on Lake, said he wants to sell the 10-acre parcel, buy a farm somewhere in inland North County and keep the 6-acre nursery for retail sales.

    He said the market for his specialty, houseplants, is not a growth industry.

    "Everyone wants something new, but there are not a whole lot of new green plants, whereas in flowers you can breed orange and blue and come up with purple," Brown said. "Are we selling? If the price is right, yes."

  48. I have an acceptable dealNovember 12, 2007 7:08 PM

    I have the compromise.

    If the Browns what to upzone to FIVE TIMES the current zoning and they are really concerned with affordable housing for young couples. Lets say:

    If you limit your house squarefootage to 1,200 in the legal documents, then you can develope at R5.

    Otherwise develop at R1 with density bonus with no compromise deed restrictions.

    Lets see what they say to that.

    I agree if they develop at R5 they will just cramp huge 6,000 on small lots. A .25 lot is small in my opinion. and 6,000sf per lot puts houses right on top of eachother. Yuk!


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