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Pacific View Rezoning Request Gets the Red Light

The Encinitas Union School District is likely to take legal action in response.

The Encinitas City Council’s decision to deny rezoning for the property was upheld Wednesday night during a public hearing. The council voted 2-2 on the item, failing to garner the super majority that was required to move the request forward.

The next time this rezoning issue is brought forward, it will likely be before a judge, as this is the latest chapter in ongoing negotiations between the city and the Encinitas Union School District, which owns the property and has already threatened legal action.

The rezoning proposal first , when the Encinitas Union School District requested that the 2.8-acre site be rezoned so that developers could build about 16 houses there. After the council , the school district trustees authorized Superintendent Tim Baird to sue the city over the decision, prompting negotiations between the two sides.

On Wednesday night, the council considered a revised plan for the property, which included a number of concessions by the school district — namely, an agreement to not take advantage of any density bonuses, which would have allowed a developer to build additional homes if some of them qualified as affordable housing.

Encinitas Mayor James Bond and Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks both voted in favor of the revised proposal, saying that it may help the city avoid a legal battle down the road.

Council members Teresa Barth and Maggie Houlihan voted against the rezoning request, saying that they felt a residential development is not the best use of that land. Houlihan, who participated via phone because her health prevented her from attending, likened the property to “a goose that lays golden eggs” and said it is something “worth fighting for.”

About a dozen residents echoed those thoughts, saying they would rather see that property , like a community arts center — an idea that the Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association

Councilwoman Kristin Gaspar recused herself from the item, saying that she felt she should not participate because she was not on the council for the first vote. 

Mike August 18, 2011 at 04:52 PM
The ineffectual local government (both the city council and EUSD) is a poignant commentary on our country’s problem as a whole. This is costly on the local and national levels. It is the job of bodies of local government need to develop anacceptable plan. It does not matter which side a constituent is on, houses, art center, etc... The lack of decision making is a serious problem that has gone on too long. One thing is clear; the lack action on this property is costing the city/school district and taxpayers. I challenge the EUSD and the city council to quickly develop a quality plan. You were elected to make decisions and plan, not bicker and send key decisions to the courts. This delays the benefit the property to the public and incurs wasteful legal costs. I challenge the constituents to no longer accept this type of governing. If there is no clear action on this and the Hall property before the next election then it is up to us to elect a new city council. If this issues goes to court I see no reason to re-elect any of the officials. This is a very balanced council with respect to priorities, business, environment, etc.. I think 5 new people with a similar set of balance who make decisions in a timely manner can be found in our city if these 5 can’t accomplish their elected duties to our satisfaction.
Walter August 18, 2011 at 05:23 PM
Gaspar's excuse is pathetic. She just didn't want to be on record either way.
Marianne August 18, 2011 at 06:09 PM
I am a mom of 2 young kids in EUSD. Our district is in a major budget crisis that is threatening the quality of the education that we can offer our 5,600 kids that we serve. EUSD should be allowed to garner a fair market value for this property in exchange for a mixed use development that can be a compromise between the financial needs of EUSD and a benefit to the Encinitas public. A park sounds nice, doesn't it? ....but honestly, we have many beautiful parks and I cannot possibly even visit them all...AND, we barely even have time to go to those parks since I am spending 20+ hours per week, outside of my regular job, trying to raise money for my kids school so they can offer quality programs not covered by the CA State Government. Some people see a park, or a community arts center as a legacy to Encinitas. I see the 5,600 kids...I believe the true legacy is providing them with a world class education. We live in a beautiful community, and I am grateful for that. But if you ask me to choose between a park, an art center, or sustaining quality education in Encinitas- I'm going to support the kids. In my eyes, they are the true legacy in Encinitas and they deserve our support. Sincerely, A park-loving, art loving mother of 2
Diane August 18, 2011 at 08:44 PM
Agreed! Find a compromise that benefits our children and community quickly. Quit wasting time and money and just "get along!" Education needs to be the priority.
Joe McNalley August 20, 2011 at 08:30 PM
"get along" starts with the school district having a little respect for the citizens of Encinitas, the wishes of the grantor, our history and culture. From day one the district has attempted to bully the neighborhood and the citizenry; the very people who support the schools and voted for a 44million dollar bond this past election. Tim Baird and his predecessors started with an idee fixe, and have not wavered, despite how bad it is for the city to create another housing project downtown. The school board needs to take a long look at the staff, and the citizens need to take a long look at the school board. There are many win-win scenarios out there, but they all begin with the district recognizing what that land means historically and ethically. Congratulations to the City Council for doing the right thing. Now lets hope Tim Baird can overcome his overdeveloped sense of entitlement to do the wrong thing, and instead negotiate something that helps preserve it as something that actually benefits the children of Encinitas, as it was intended by the founders of the city - in perpetuity.

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