San Diego

Plan to Rezone for High-Density Projects in Encinitas Upsets Residents

A nearly nine-hour city council meeting to consider a re-zoning plan to allow for high-density housing in Encinitas ended with a passing vote despite boisterous opposition from residents. 

Encinitas is the only city in San Diego County without a current housing plan, which is required by the state to show the city is planning for its future housing needs. 

The city was sued over its practice of denying high-density developments with approved height changes in an effort to keep neighborhoods from changing.

The city must build more than 1,000 more low-income units to keep in line with state mandates and it has only built 53 since 2008.

In November 2016, voters rejected a housing plan saying it would increase traffic, ruin community character and take control away from residents.

After a marathon meeting that ended after 3 a.m., the council passed the measure 3-2.

The re-zoning measure affects about 17 sites and allow for developers to build 3-story properties with about 30 units per acre. Some of those would be low income. 

Land on Quail Gardens Drive near Encinitas Boulevard is one of the sites affected.

"Leucadia is absorbing over 40 percent of the overall affording housing plan and we believe that’s unfair," said Dick Stern who lives near the Quail Gardens Drive location.

Several meeting attendees said, "Not in my backyard!" to high-density, multi-story housing developments. 

Encinitas does have an inclusionary housing ordinance that requires 15 percent of new units be designated as affordable, according to Councilmember Tony Kranz.

If the city of Encinitas does not develop a plan to comply with state law it will run the risk of more lawsuits. 

A second reading of the plan is scheduled for July 18 and the people will vote on it in November.

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