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.