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Fate of Encinitas 'Right to Vote' Initiative to be Decided by Ballot

The Encinitas City Council voted Tuesday to order a special election for the "Right to Vote" amendment.

The Encinitas City Council voted Tuesday to order a special election for the "Right to Vote" amendment to the Encinitas General Plan and Zoning Code.

"If it is going to be adopted it should be by the people," said councilmember Tony Kranz, who seconded Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer's motion to hold a special election. 

The initiative would require a majority vote to major amendment of a planning policy document. Such amendments would include certain changes in zone types, increases in heights and increases of the amount of parcels on an existing parcel.

In order for the initiative to go to the voters, the ballot would need an argument against the measure. The council created a subcommittee—consisting of Mayor Teresa Barth and Councilwoman Kristin Gaspar—to write the initiative's counterargument. The wording will be presented to the City Council on March 27.

Councilmembers will be able to modify the wording at the meeting.

While the councilmembers discussed the initiative at the meeting, the council did vote for or against the initiative.

"I just don't what to say that I'm in complete opposition of this because there are a lot of components that I do agree with," Barth said."How that position argument is written is critical to can support it or not."

She could not support wording that is too general, she added. 

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Editor's note: I added quotes. 

Larry March 13, 2013 at 03:53 PM
The Council actually stated pretty clearly that they are not in favor of the initiative as a whole which is why they did not adopt it outright.
Daniel Woolfolk March 13, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Hi Larry, I added a quote at the bottom that better sums it up. I'm adding a video clip in a second too.
Mike Andreen March 13, 2013 at 06:58 PM
For clarity: the 5 person Encinitas City Council voted unanimously to place the measure for a Special Election on June 18th. At the public request of PEPR, the Council also voted unanimously to formally 'oppose' the Initiative: and also at PEPR's request, to form a Subcommittee made up of Mayor Teresa Barth and Councilwoman Kristin Gaspar to write a 75 word 'argument against' the Initiative for the Sample Ballot. While all 5 shared 'common ground' on wanting the public to have the right to exercise their vote on approving a 'new' General Plan, fulfilling the proposition of citizens having a 'Right-To-Vote' on the GP, the other less known elements of the Initiative that the Impact Report vetted, a citywide height requirement that would create a bifurcated city: those living in the local coastal zone and those not: plus: the superseding of the popular elements in the coastal Specific Plans (downtown Encinitas and Leucadia's North Coast 101) that have revitalized the Hwy 101 culture and business districts, combined with a removal of vested private-property rights: along with the fact that the moment the measure was approved that 2/3rds of Encinitas would lose 'local control of land-use' authority to the State led the 5 of them to 'oppose' the measure, even though the 'voter requirement' appeals to all 5. At the end of the Special Meeting it was clear the newly assembled council could not only find 'common ground' but could work together responsively to protect the City's future.
Daniel Woolfolk March 13, 2013 at 07:32 PM
Thanks, Mike!
change4encinitas March 14, 2013 at 06:10 AM
PEPR?, it should really be called PETLS (People for the Ethical Treatment of Land Speculators). That would seem to be a more appropriate acronym. It was good to see that council unanimously wanted to close policy 3.12 of our current Land Use element of our General Plan. This would close an important loophole that the Right-To-Vote Initiative is addressing, and that is to allow a 4/5th majority of the council to approve a major amendment base on some vague "pubic benefits". This would ensure that the public should have the right-to-vote on the General Plan Update. This in itself is a bit of victory for the passionate volunteers and supporters of the initiative that have brought this to the forefront of city council in the last few months. Kudos to them!
shaun w. March 14, 2013 at 03:20 PM
I try to keep abreast of local issues, but i simply do not have time to study all aspects of proposed amendments. Nor do most other residents. That's why we elected representatives who have offered to study these things for us, no? As Mercury insurance and PG&E have shown in recent years on the state level, a serious infusion of marketing $$ can persuade very large number of voters to pretty much anything. Remember, most residents will spend about 1 minute of"research" before choosing how to vote on anything beyond who should be their representative.
Mike Andreen March 14, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Actually, the folks most endangered by this Initiative are the families who have owned properties along Hwy 101 for generations; NOT 'Land Speculators': endangered most are small businesses that are popular and might want to grow: and once the 'grade' issue is understood by the electorate, residential homeowners all over the City might balk: because when a young family wants to build an accessory unit to for an addition to the family, the Initiative will make it nearly impossible because of the changes in 'how' and 'where' the building pad is measured: and it will take a lot more money and the patience of Job for that young family to add a single unit onto his existing property. Yes, it did give one hope for the council to work together Tuesday night when the Councilors all expressed their preferences to remove the '4/5ths policy' for trumping the local voting requirement: and 'Yes' Councilwoman Gaspar has spoken to her colleagues about placing the removal of that '4/5's policy' by the council on the next legally appropriate election date: to allow the voters to 'remove' that policy and let folks vote on the new General Plan: but the thousands of folks who signed the petition most likely had no idea that it would result in loss of 'local control' of 2/3rds of town, take many private property rights away and destroy the successful Specific Plans that have helped Leucadia and downtown Encinitas prosper.
Susan Willhoit March 14, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Daniel Woolfolk, Who is "she" in the last two paragraphs that you wrote? Proof read...a good journalist always does. If you make a lot errors, it diminishes what you write.
Daniel Woolfolk March 14, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Thanks for the note. It was Barth. I updated.
change4encinitas March 15, 2013 at 04:00 AM
The idea of loss of control of 2/3 of the city is ludicrous at best. The 2/3rd of town that Mr. Andreen is referring to is pretty much the portion of Encinitas west of El Camino Real. While it is true that that this part of town falls under the jurisdiction of the Coast Commission, it is pure speculation to try to guess how they would view the Initiative if it passes. From the outside, one would think they would be more likely to embrace it than reject it. After all they are more concerned about preserving wetlands and open spaces than building up skyscrapers along the coast. It is also interesting to notice the position of the council regarding the Coastal Commission: They seem to have no problem flipping it the bird in regards to the 101 lane diet project, but when it comes to the initiative, they are acting all worried: what will the Coastal Commission think of this?. There is no problem with building accessory units because of the way the height of the structure is measured, unless of course somebody were to build a granny flat over 30 ft tall from the natural slope to the top of the structure. In my book, I don't call this a granny flat, but more like a substantial size building, the kind of buildings that neighbors would probably object to.
change4encinitas March 15, 2013 at 04:03 AM
The initiative does not interfere with people rights to build according to the current zoning of their parcels. It does limit or slow down high density zoning that do not belong in Encinitas. This is precisely why 8,500 people have signed the initiative. Frankly, it does not take high density and tall buildings for an area to prosper. Downtown Encinitas is a good example. Aside from Pacific Station buildings are under 30 ft and max 2 stories. You can build vibrant, sustainable neighborhood without adding the kind of density that eventually will have unitented consequences on many things: traffic congestion, pollution, noise, and the cost of infrastructure. Let's keep Encinitas livable and let's not open the floodgate to Orange County style development.
Frank H. Robles March 15, 2013 at 04:26 AM
So are elected officials, could not decide or did not want too........OK...!!! How much is this going to cost us " The Special Election"
Leonard Kroeker March 15, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Council members clearly did not reach consensus. Therefore, I'm pleased that our input will be considered on this question. Let's get full input on this question from all the members of our community. Therefore, I'm far less concerned with the cost of such an election than with getting a proper vote that reflects the general will of the community !
Lynn Marr March 16, 2013 at 06:35 PM
The families who have owned properties along Hwy 101 for generations are NOT endangered. They are paying very low property taxes, and, with the exception of Fred Caldwell, are charging market rate rents. Some commercial property owners expect to get "something for nothing" through the Leucadia North 101 Streetscape Project. The southern portion of that project, the initial phase (after the already implemented "lane diet") is to be from A Street north to Marchetta, which is neither in Leucadia nor on N101. The point, to me, is that all this "doom speak" was designed, once again, to scare Council. The issue with the Coastal Commission is hypocritical and inconsistent, because Council thumbed its nose at the CCC when it defied its direction and didn't complete the Coastal Development and Design Review permitting process which require amendments to our Local Coastal Plan, our General Plan and our N101 Specific Plan before eliminating a lane for motorists on N101. Council knows that because, generally, line striping is exempt from environmental review, that is not the case SPECIFICALLY when a primary circulation element in the Coastal Zone is being reconfigured from 4 lanes to 3 lanes. Lawsuits were threatened in this case, too; Council's decision to defy the CCC is being appealed! But when it comes to the right to vote on upzoning initiative, where CCC review won't be problematic, development interests want to make that a big issue. Council has been unfair.
Lynn Marr March 16, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Council could have voted to adopt, with the condition that it would place a similar, but slightly modified proposition on the ballot for the next General Election, Nov. of 2014. The new ballot measure could have ironed out any "kinks" that Council fears the right to vote on upzoning initiative has. But the initiative was written by an environmental attorney who is far more familiar with the "workings" of the Coastal Commission & Coastal Act Law than our City or its "paid henchmen," with decidedly pro-development leanings, Rutan & Tucker. As Everett Delano stated (his lawfirm wrote the initiative) there's a difference between the time of enactment & the date of effectiveness. The date of effectiveness could have been adjusted so the ordinance created by the initiative would be consistent, citywide. The initiative was written so that it shouldn't mandate review by the Coastal Commission. Also, the CCC has worked with the City to expedite meetings & would surely do so in this case, should limited review be required. Also, the initiative is "severable," so that if one part is found to be invalid, the rest of the resulting ordinance would remain effective. The dooms speak impact report doesn't include consideration of outright adoption, with the provision that another ballot proposal, or the opportunity for repeal would be on the Nov. 2014 ballot, as requested by Tony Kranz. The report should have also included a comparison of Escondido's similar initiative.

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