On Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 6 p.m. the Encinitas City Council will hear arguments against the city’s engineering department mandates for a curb, 7-foot-wide concrete parking and pedestrian walkway on the corner of Crest Drive and Birmingham drive, a rural residential subdivision of one-acre lots within Old Encinitas.
In the proposed single family home, the city originally asked for 8-feet of concrete parking with curbs 450 feet long and a 5-foot walkway, eliminating 13 feet of natural landscaping and threatening old growth trees and vegetation along Crest Drive. All the land adjacent to the pavement would also need to be removed and graded down to the level of the street, thereby widening the street by more than 26 feet when both sides are complete.
Why any single family home would be mandated to provide 450 feet of public parking (enough for 25 cars) seems to defy logic. To mandate this at the detriment of the existing trees and vegetation, thus totally affecting the community character of one of the most unique Old Encinitas streets, demonstrates a total lack of understanding how important community is to its residents.
Based on my meetings with city staff over that past several months, it has come to lite that the city wants to have curb, concrete parking and sidewalks in front of every home in Encinitas—and that staff believes it is OK to remove the old growth trees along Crest Drive because they are compromised by the power lines. This is in total conflict with the ‘Tree City’ designation Encinitas received earlier this year.
The implementation of these seemingly arbitrary rules (normally associated with a new subdivision) will eventually result in the generic appearance we see in new developments. The entire cost of the city’s right of way improvements, permits and civil engineering is born by the individual homeowners, in this case more than $150,000.00.
Secondly staff's incomplete explanation on its Crest Drive tree removal policy, have raised more than a few eyebrows with Crest residents and supporters determined to preserve the unique and historic character of their community.
In an effort to impede this seemingly senseless destruction to our oxygen-producing vegetation, I have launched a “Save Crest Drive,” petition that more than 400 residents have signed. I am a Crest resident and local architect, and I will continue to work diligently for this worthy cause. I, and the others who have signed the petition, don’t understand the benefit the city would get from this plan.
With so many people opposed throughout Encinitas, it would be a win-win for the city to re-evaluate and leave our neighborhoods the way we want, not some engineers personal preference. We have appealed the engineer’s finding to our city council members for a final determination. We are optimistic the council will assist in helping preserve our trees and vegetation, thus maintaining the community character we love.
Please join me at the city council meeting next Wednesday at 6 p.m. and help support this worthy cause in keeping Encinitas the way it is. A presence in numbers will help to get our point across.