Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Incentives for Derelict Land Lords?

Mailed in submission regarding  tonight's Starbucks appeal:

At 4:55 Bart said, "whatever they put up will be better than what is(n't) there now"


I agree that the lot and the chain link fence is less-than-attractive. There are, however, two reasons I strongly disagree that whatever they put up will be better than what is not there now.

The first reason I disagree is because "anything is better" is far short of a legitimate reason for the City to allow any zoning variances on an already busy corner which will likely get busier for the foreseeable future. If the lot is an eyesore, then the City should require the owner to maintain it. The City should not reward them by granting variances for being an irresponsible citizen.

The second reason is that any opinion which includes "anything is better" only feeds the City's motivation to allow certain vacant lots to become eyesores. The cultivation of high-profile ugly lots causes some members of the community to develop and voice the opinion that anything is better than the non-maintained vacant lot. These opinions will, in turn, be used as the self-fullfilling twisted logic for the City to allow up-zoning and the building of grossly inefficient, out-of-character, and traffic impacting commercial buildings which are not intended to serve the neighborhood.

The City has the opportunity to encourage better commercial building practices which will blend well with the neighborhood in exchange for the possible bending of some of the rules for development on that visitor-serving-zoned corner lot.

If you believe the lot is ugly, call the City and file a complain about the lack of maintenance on the lot. Please don't let the City use it as a lame excuse to continue to engage in bad community planning.


LB comments: A common ploy of some developers is to let their property go blighted prior to pushing for a big government favor.

The City of Encinitas does have a Dandelion Police Force.


  1. B.D.
    When I said "anything will be better", I was not advocating a zoning variance. I was stating my personal perspective (looking at the lot from my kitchen), that I am looking forward something other than chain-link and concrete.

    To address your final point, I think that the lot is ugly, but it was ugly before I lived here. I took that into account when I bought my house. I don't want to be one of those people who moves in and says "This place is great, now change X and Y and Z to make it suit my tastes."

    Beyond that, I agree with what you said. The city should enforce zoning laws. Citizens should get involved. I expect the city to do their part. I will save my efforts for when things get worse. I try not to complain when things get better, even if better isn't as good as I had hoped for.

  2. Seems like the same tactic is happening at Pacific View as well.

  3. i couldn't agree more that this is an inappropriate use for a variance for the reasons you've stated as well as the fact that it violates the basic requirements for a variance.

    variances are supposed to be granted to alleviate a hardship brought about by something outside of the owner's control (irregular lot shape or an unusual grade situation) that wasn't envisioned by the planners when writing the zoning ordinance. variances are also supposed to serve the public's interest.

    last time i checked starbucks' profit margin is neither a hardship nor is increasing it at the expense of a landscaped setback in the public interest. if making more money is enough for a variance then i think i should get a variance to add another four stories to my house since it will increase my profit margin when i sell it... duh


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