Sunday, September 30, 2007

Vino de Leucadia

One of Cardiff's more respectable citizens gave me this bottle of wine the other day, check it out:


Somebody named a wine after out sleepy little beach town, sweet!


Stylish label (notice the surfer's relaxed arms).


This wine is blabbing about all our secret surf spots!



After I open it I'll let you know if it's funky or fine.

Leucadia Wine Company

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Encinitas--The Northern Reaches



San Diego magazine piece about north county's growing pains:

The Northern Reaches By Lillian Cox

Relevant excerpts:

Like Howard Beale in the 1976 movie Network, many North County residents are shouting, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” The maddening issues are interchangeable: growth, illegal immigration and gang violence.

A week before Christmas, Gemway Jewelers in the Weigand Plaza Shopping Center on El Camino Real in Encinitas was having a going-out-of-business sale. One shopper asked an employee the reason. The clerk replied, “Our landlord doubled our rent to $75,000 a year. They don’t care if we’re moving. They want to redevelop the shopping center and put shops on the first floor and apartments above. It’s all the Encinitas City Council’s fault.”

Politicians are finding themselves between a rock and a hard place, trying to please their constituents and a higher power.

“All cities are being driven by state mandates for additional housing,” says new Encinitas Councilwoman Teresa Barth. “The El Camino corridor is the next place for mixed use. Many developers are going that way.”

Last November, Barth joined Maggie Houlihan as the newest pro-environment member of the council.

“The pressure to develop and redevelop is huge,” Houlihan says. “People are salivating to tear down and rebuild Leucadia. Without the original beach cottages, the houses on Third Street that are built in the shape of boats and the Self-Realization Fellowship, Encinitas would cease to exist.” The councilmember says there’s even been discussion on exploring the possibility of developing on protected habitats.

The drive to strengthen city coffers by inviting new business has resulted in communities such as Carlsbad and Encinitas stepping on each other’s toes.

“Today, each municipality robs from the other,” Barth says. “We’ve seen it here in Encinitas Ranch, where the income is flat because of the Forum. We have Linens & Things and Barnes & Noble on our side of Leucadia Boulevard. And the Forum has Bed, Bath & Beyond and Borders on the other side.”

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Lonely Pedestrian



Leucadia is currently getting some long overdue infrastructure improvements. The coast highway sidewalks in downtown Leucadia and Leucadia Blvd roundabouts are all great ,but lovers of Leucadia should continue to pressure the Encinitas city council to upgrade the Hwy101/Leucadia Blvd intersection.

The road is scarred and pot marked. The wear and tear on our cars driving on Leucadia roads is starting to wear on a lot of nerves.

All the paint lines have long worn away causing great confusion with drivers who are in the westbound left lane but want to go straight to Beacon's Beach. Encinitas traffic engineer Rob Blough hinted at repainting these lines back in August.

The NCTD has done a horrible job with their lack of landscaping and installation of ugly orange sandbags.

Every time the train barrels through it kicks up a huge dust cloud. The entire coastal section of Leucadia is covered in a dirty grimey film from the train tracks. It can't be healthy breathing in this dusty dirty air all day and all night. (Maybe we should go to the homes of the NCTD board of directors with leaf blowers and blast them with dust and flith so they will know what it feels like).

Good luck to pedestrians who have an almost invisible presence at this intersection. The person in this photo is risking getting hit from a car wanting to turn right.

This isn't some out of the way country road, thousands and thousands of cars are using this intersection.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Public can preview new library's art Oct. 1st

ENCINITAS: Residents interested in having a say in which art will be displayed in the new library under construction at Cornish Drive and D Street in Encinitas are invited to view 11 art proposals from 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 1.

The proposals will be available for viewing at a community forum in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 505 S. Vulcan Ave. The public can voice opinions to the Encinitas Commission for the Arts when the commission meets at 5:30 p.m. that day.

The library is scheduled to open in early 2008. The art will be displayed in three areas: a courtyard adjacent to the children's area, the gates leading from E Street to five reading patios and a terrace/courtyard gate near a community room terrace.

The artists being considered are Wick Alexander of San Diego, Christie Beniston of Solana Beach, Alber and Luna De Matteis of Fallbrook, Teresa Hansen of San Diego, Paul Hobson of San Diego, James Mullen of Palm Springs, James Nelson and T.J. Dixon of Leucadia, Eric Powell of Berkeley and Michael Stutz of Fallbrook.

The City Council will make the final decision. Encinitas has budgeted $55,000 for art at the library. –A.L.

UT link

I vote for a Pete Wilson statue!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

North Leucadia Coast Mobile Gas Station Now Open

Big week for Leucadia, sidewalks are going in, roundabouts are getting built and now we have a nice gas station to fill our hybrid vehicles up with when needed.






"I remember a meeting of 100 or so Leucadians in the Poinsettia room a few years ago that started out very contentious, then this guy named Fred [Caldwell] presents the idea of using old gas station architecture for the design of the station.

By the end of the meeting 100 folks were happily doodeling with Fred and the owners coming up with the concept.

The rest is history.

Leucadia is very lucky to have the citizens that it does, you now also have the nicest looking gas station in all of San Diego County as well."

Interim Pedestrian Improvements Begin



Work begins on Leucadia sidewalks

Eight blocks getting sidewalks in $389k job

ENCINITAS -- Crews tore into aging asphalt along North Coast Highway 101 on Monday as part of a 90-day job to build eight blocks of sidewalks.

Bowing to pressure from merchants, the city is paying $389,000 to build concrete curbs, gutters and sidewalks on the west side of the coast highway from Jason Street to North Court.

"There is that temporary inconvenience (during construction), but when it's over it's a wonderful thing," said Paula Kirpalani of the Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association.

Crews from Bonsall Construction Services have been hired to do the project and will work their way from north to south, officials said.

About half of the eight blocks getting sidewalks between Jason Street and North Court now have none. The stretch represents the heart of Leucadia's commercial strip.

The sidewalks are considered temporary, however, as the city moves ahead with plans for a much-larger street and sidewalk improvement program, from A Street to La Costa Avenue.

The North Coast Highway 101 Streetscape Program will unfold in phases, from south to north, with a first phase beautifying the highway from A Street to North Court. The city has saved $1.2 million for the work and an additional $2 million is budgeted through fiscal year 2010-11.

On Monday, the toil of an orange-vested road gang signaled the start of the so-called "interim pedestrian improvements."

The five-foot-wide, concrete sidewalks, curbs and gutters are considered "interim" because they may or may not be preserved as part of the long-term streetscape program.

To customize the fresh concrete, the mainstreet association has ordered stamps bearing Leucadia logos.

The association produces the events. Merchants and property owners belong to the association, which works to promote and revitalize Leucadia's commercial district.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mailboxes of Leucadia



Photo montage by Makana Cummings. Click image for large view.

Leucadia Roundabout Now Open

The landscaping is not complete, but the first of three roundabouts is now open for your driving pleasure on Leucadia Blvd. It will be interesting to see if it becomes easier for cross traffic to enter the road now and if weekend knuckleheads and weekday cut thru commuters will be able to navigate the thing.




Friday, September 07, 2007

What is Jim Bond's Legacy?

The news that mayor Jim Bond will not seek re-election in 2008 prompted longtime blog commenter "Roadside Park Bum" to post this gem:



Tomorrow marks the 1 year anniversary of the death of the man killed at the railroad tracks in Leucadia. What has the city done to correct this most deadly of intersections in Encinitas?? Answer: NOTHING!!

This will be James Bonds most lasting legacy, that he had 16 years on the city council and did little to nothing to improve the infrastructure and safety of Encinitas!!

16 years ago you had 24 trains whipping through town at 70+MPH, today you have 48 trains whipping through town at 70+ MPH.

16 years ago you lacked sidewalks under Santa Fe Dr. Today there is a sign asking to walk on the north side of the underpass, where a walking path about 2 foot wide allows you to be out of the street.

16 years ago traffic whipped up and down the 101 at 45+ MPH( really any speed you could get away with), today there are no signs of speed reduction nor traffic slowing of any kind.

16 years ago the city wasted thousands of $$$ on wasteful consultants and stupid studies, today nothing has changed with the most recent city survey of satisfaction costing tax payers over $10K.

James Bond used to have an election sign that said "Encinitas needs James Bond!!" Well you got him... for 16 years and you have nothing to show for it. How much will Mr. Bonds pension be after all this time?? Long after he is out of city politics the tax payers of this city will be paying Bond, James Bond!!!

RSPB


Leucadia Blog: Mayor Bond won't run for office in 2008

Leucadia Blog: Mayor Bond Speech Highlights

Mayor Bond won't run for office in 2008

This story does not come as a surprise to many:

Three-term mayor not planning to seek re-election at this time

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

More Cardiff Stuff

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.




CIRCULATION ELEMENT



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.

HOUSING ELEMENT

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.

SANDERLING SCHOOL

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.

ORPHEUS REZONE

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.

DAVID MEYER

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.

HALL PROPERTY

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

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.