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.
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.