North County Times-ENCINITAS: Traffic consultant's selection causes conflict Council agrees to spend $1M on update to city's general plan
The Encinitas City Council agreed Wednesday night that it will spend about $1 million to update a 20-year-old citywide planning document, then it promptly stepped into a controversy over who will do the plan's traffic study.
In a 3-1 vote, with Councilwoman Teresa Barth opposed and Councilman James Bond absent, the council agreed to put together a $110,000 contract with Austin Foust and Associates for the traffic study to be incorporated in the update of the city's general plan.
Before the vote, several residents told the council that they wanted anyone but Austin Foust. That company did a "very, very poor" job on a Leucadia area traffic study, argued one opponent, Steven Gerken.
Another man, Jim Cowles, said the city should get the best job possible on this traffic study because the data will become the heart of the city's new general plan, which will guide the city's development for decades to come.
Councilman Jerome Stocks said he didn't have an issue with the Austin Foust company, but wondered if the traffic study should be put out for public bids the way that the overall general plan update had been.
Barth asked if city staff members could do the traffic study. Murphy said he wasn't sure whether that was a possibility. Barth then said she would be voting against the contract agreement that night, saying she didn't have enough information to make a decision.
"This update is the most critical thing we're going to do in our community in the next 20 years," she said, later adding, "I want this to be a great kickoff, and this isn't the way to start."
Patrick Murphy, the city's planning and building director "wasn't sure" if the city staff could handle a traffic study? That is just sad.
Jerome Stocks expressed a half intelligent thought with the public bids and then went ahead and voted for the controversial consultant anyway. Quack quack quack.
Maggie Houlihan is not a very good mayor.
Teresa Barth will get slammed for being the lone no vote even though it was the only logical vote.
Encinitas city hall has long lost it's enthusiasm for hard work and should just move back in with it's parents.