The Encinitas City Council Wednesday night stalled on providing direction to one of the committees tasked with reviewing the general plan update.
The City Council voted 4-0 to continue its discussion and direction on the Element Review Advisory Committee’s vacancy, attendance and quorum, as well as the Housing Policy Report presentation schedule, to its next meeting. Councilman Mark Muir was absent.
City Manager Gus Vina requested council members postpone their discussion until the Jan. 9 meeting when he will make a presentation on the city’s budget development approach. During his report, Vina said he would present a decision-making model that the City Council can use to advise the ERAC.
“I’m not suggesting that we throw out any of the work that’s been accomplished by the groups, I’m just suggesting that we put those on hold,” Vina said. “Then after Jan. 9, given your direction, we can decide what to do with all of that work and we can certainly direct ERAC on what they need to do next.”
The City Council established the ERAC in December 2011 to review all draft general plan elements and provide feedback on the plan's goals and policies. Originally intended to be a 23-member volunteer board, one position was not filled and one member recently resigned.
With membership already down and attendance sporadic for some of the members, the committee has failed to reach a 12-member quorum on multiple occasions.
Peter Norby, the ERAC facilitator, suggested the City Council establish different standards for what constitutes a quorum.
A few residents urged council members to move in a different direction with the ERAC, pointing to the committee's lack of attendance as only one problem.
Sheila Cameron of Leucadia argued there are too many developers on the committee. Instead of the ERAC, Cameron suggested forming an ad hoc general plan steering committee comprised of only Encinitas residents.
“Please dissolve this current Element Review Advisory Committee,” Cameron said. “We don’t need it. They’ve got a bad reputation, and they are not the right people for this job.”
Councilman Tony Kranz said he doesn’t support dissolving the committee at this time.
“I’ve attended several meetings and heard a lot of conversation,” Kranz said. “I didn’t agree with several of the opinions, but nonetheless, I think that it’s important to hear from everybody.”
In addition to seeking direction on the ERAC’s vacancy, attendance and quorum, Norby asked the Council to confirm whether the tentative housing policy reports schedule is appropriate. The ERAC, General Plan Advisory Committee and Planning Commission are tentatively scheduled to present individual housing policy reports to the Council in February.
Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer said that it’s “premature to make any decisions.”
“I think that we’re not in a position to give specific direction to the ERAC right now,” Shaffer said. “We need to relook at the whole process we’re going through to update the general plan.”
Kranz added that the new City Council might want to develop a new vision for the ERAC and the city’s general plan.
“We’ve got some new people here and perhaps we want to take this in another direction,” Kranz said.
In other City Council business:
- Council members approved their appointments to city and regional committees and boards.
- The Council canceled the Jan. 16 meeting due to lack of quorum.
- The Council approved a contract with WalkSanDiego and appropriated $210,450 to conduct public outreach activities and prepare the Encinitas "Let’s Move" Pedestrian Travel and Safe Routes to School Plan.
- The Council awarded a $280,046 contract to PAL General Engineering, Inc. for the construction of Gardendale Road Traffic Calming and Safe Routes to School Improvements.