Saturday, August 29, 2009

Batiquitos Bluff's Appeal Gets Backing: General Plan Doesn't

General Plan Violations
A month ago The Leucadia Blog posted a short note on the Batiquitos Bluffs project. I just received an update.

Three independent appeals were filled with the State Coastal Commission over the city issued permits. I won't be surprised if there is merit to the claims. There is a wide sense among council watchers that parts of the general plan and muni code are selectively overlooked or bent into pretzels by the city. In this case, two Coastal Commissioners have already taken the position that some details of the Batiquitos Bluffs permits violate the city's general plan.

This could be the second time this summer that the Coastal Commission catches the city violating its own laws.

I've had enough experiences over the last six years to feel comfortable saying that Dan Dalager, Jerome Stocks, and Maggie Houlihan actively ignore, if not promote, what is happening.

Context
We have council members who don't like many of the provisions found in the general plan. As the general plan update begins, I hope they will stand up and give the public notice that they they intend on gutting the general plan. They should be open about it, but, unfortunately, the city is not above trying to quickly slip nasty changes into our planning documents (ex: Housing Element Update, Traffic Study).

Watch to see if the general plan amendments are clear and intentions defined for the public, or if changes are camouflaged among a total rewrite of the chapters.


The Bigger Picture
I would rather see the council gut the general plan than continue down the path that they started. To some degree, our city is increasingly under the rule of man and the not rule of law. Development rules, and routes for (publicly) granting exceptions, should be knowable and consistent for all residents of Encinitas.

Adopt Good Rules and Follow Them
We have a pretty good general plan, but it is devalued if it is ignored at the whim of those in charge. I'm hopeful that Encinitas residents will once again get involved and help tweak the general plan, but their efforts will be wasted if the general plan is ignored by the city.

I'd like to see council members either affirm that they will uphold the general plan or be honest and openly strike the general plan down. I'd also like to see provisions added to the general plan that make the council members more accountable for following the general plan.

8 comments:

  1. That last line is a fantastic idea. It would also be great if Encinitas schools would follow along with this General Plan update, to activate civics education in our community. What better way to keep our council honest than to let them know the kids and their parents / teachers are all watching.

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  2. Whoa, whoa. A General Plan update isn't a change in the General Plan. The fallacy is that the plan must be changed. The state only requires that the city LOOK AT the plan. Our constitutional General Plan is among the best in the state, easy to read and understand. It isn't the General Plan that needs adjustment, it is the Council and the Planning department. They have hijacked the General Plan. DON'T LET THE COUNCIL, PLANNING DEPARTMENT OR ANYONE ELSE CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE CURRENT PLAN.

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  3. Paranoids. Do you all really think the council is so nefarious and so sophisticated as to be working for a secret world government in order to build a single family residence near you? Come on.

    The general plan needs not only updating but a re-write! It's a sprawl oriented, tract home development document that gets everyone panties so bunched-up as it is now written.

    We need to get away from strip malls and tract homes, encourage individuality and get more walkable designs built AND push for preservation of existing natural areas like Batiquitos Bluffs.

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  4. Who said anything about a secret world government? Are you saying that Kevin is wrong and the council upholds the general plan, or are you trying to cover the council's tracks by painting this as a conspiracy theory?

    How can we rewrite the general plan to get rid of sprawl? We are built out already!

    Are you suggesting we write the general plan so that people in Olivenhain can't put on additions or build anymore? How about in Cardiff along Lake Drive which is far from jobs and shopping. Should we downzone that area in the general plan rewrite?

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  6. anon 732,

    I'm guessing your just trying to be provocative.

    W.O. has a point that should remembered. There is no more room to sprawl, so sprawl is no longer an issue for Encinitas. The last big unaddressed space was the Ecke Ranch.

    The current general plan already addresses "preservation of existing natural areas like Batiquitos Bluffs." What do you suggest for improving that? Wouldn't making the general plan stronger on this point take away property rights?

    If the council was interested in conserving open areas like Batiquitos Bluffs they would consider the purchase of such property and set up the city so they can more easily obtain outside funding for such purchases (also, see the main post).

    What are the problems you see with strip malls and tract homes that could be addressed by changes in the general plan?

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  7. Excellent questions, Kevin, and great first post. I appreciate most of the posts on this thread. Thanks.

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  8. Well, I would look out for suggestions to upzone various areas of the City by creation of low income housing overlays, or overlays at all. Planners live in another parallel universe. They really don't care about your property rights, they care about their "vision".

    Watch carefully how the El Camino Real corridor will be viewed. There is pressure on the politicos to bring about "opportunity".

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