On Wednesday, March 13, at 6 pm, the Encinitas City Council will hear an appeal of the November 1, 2012 Planning Commission decision to reject a 17-lot; Density Bonus project in Olivenhain on Desert Rose Way.
The Planning Commission denied the developers plan to convert Dana Rullo Stables, a 7-acre equestrian boarding and riding facility, into a high-density housing project. The Planning Commission, in a vote of 3 to 2, found this proposal unsafe, unsuited for the lot they wish to develop, and inconsistent with Olivenhain's community character and the City's General Plan.
In a rural area currently zoned for lots with a minimum of half-acre per housing unit, the proposal under consideration has 10- ft. front setbacks, 5- ft. side setbacks, and substandard private roads with reduced parking. This project, as presented, would be enclosed on 2 sides by an 8-foot-high, solid firewall. The walled-project would provide a single drivable exit for evacuation in the event of fire. The proposed secondary fire escape route is a dirt footpath over a creek and through the adjacent Carlsbad Open Space.
More than 40 mature trees, including Torrey Pines, would be destroyed if the Planning Commission decision is overturned, and applicants have threatened that they will not clean up the wetlands on the northern and eastern boundaries of the property unless they are granted waivers including smaller-than-usual lots, narrow private roads, the fire wall, reduced set back requirements, and a reduced wetland buffer. They have threatened litigation if the project is not approved. While claiming to be environmentalists, the developers/property owners were cited with wetland violations that may have contributed to the poor condition of the wetlands.
We believe that the City Council Should uphold the Planning Commission's decision and that reversing that decision and approving the project will set a far-reaching precedent which threatens all of Olivenhain with similar high-density projects. Please join members of Save Desert Rose at the City Council meeting next Wednesday at 6 pm, and support our shared concern for protection our community character and of irreplaceable resource.
— Julie Graboi, Olivenhain