Residents in Encinitas do not want the city to pass a Safe Parking Program for homeless in their city, they met with County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar and City Councilman Tony Kranz on Thursday to voice their concern.
The Safe Parking Program, waiting to be approved, will be run by the Jewish Family Service (JFS) and will provide individuals and families living in their vehicles a secure and safe place to sleep seven days a week in Encinitas.
Residents are concerned because they believe these parking lots should be in industrial locations not in residential areas.
“This isn’t just going to impact the neighbors right next to Leichtag but this is going to impact the whole city,” said Crista Curtis a resident of Encinitas.
The proposed location is Leichtag Commons, a 67.5-acre property in Encinitas, according to JFS.
If approved, the parking lot will have no more than 25 parking spaces, including on-site support with case managers and overnight security. It will be for people who recently became homeless.
Concerned residents said the city had discussed the matter in two closed sessions saying there was no advance notice, public notification or community forums.
“The city has not told any of the residents about this, there have been no notices, and no notices to neighbors,” Curtis said.
On Oct. 17, 2018, a shelter crisis was declared by the City of Encinitas and approved the city’s effort to work with local service providers and the Regional Task Force on the homeless in applying for the Homeless Emergency Aid Program grant funding.
On Nov. 20, 2019, the City Council was presented by JFS drafting of agreements and negotiation of terms to establish a Safe Parking lot in Encinitas.
A petition was filed on Change.org to stop the City of Encinitas to approve the parking lot. It had gathered more than 3,400 signatures by Thursday night.
“I’ve seen an increase in homeless people just along my walk, and things like that it changes a whole city. This is a safe city and I want to feel safe when I’m walking around,” Curtis said.
The drafting agreements and a final program plan will be presented to the City Council in open session on Jan. 22.