City Council denies residents’ appeal on Starbucks plans

ENCINITAS — The City Council voted unanimously to deny an appeal from neighboring residents and allow the development of a Starbucks to proceed.
Encinitas residents Susan and Dean Turney appealed the Planning Commission’s Oct. 20 approval of major use and design review permits for Starbucks.
Located at the northwest intersection of Leucadia Blvd and Interstate 5, the vacant lot where the coffee shop is designated to be built is surrounded by fencing. In their appeal, the Turneys argued that the commission and staff allowed the project’s developers to stray from the city’s building standards.
Complete with a drive-thru, the Starbucks should be operational by summer 2012. “In terms of bulk and mass (Starbucks) is very compatible,” said Associate Planner J. Dichoso.
The height and scale of the building, lack of adequate landscaping and inconsistency with the general plan didn’t sit well with Turney and several residents who addressed the council.
Dean Turney, a landscape architect who lives on nearby Fulvia, presented his own renderings of what he believed would be built as a result of the variances granted to the developer. “We aren’t against Starbucks, we just want it to be per the general plan,” Turney said. “We’re only asking that it fits into our neighborhood,” he said of the Starbucks project.
Joe Epstein, a bank representative refuted Turney’s depiction of the new development and said that the foreclosed property is not a good fit for most commercial businesses. He said the developers went out of their way to accommodate the neighborhood and try to fit in.
“We think we’re doing the right thing,” he said. “We hope the council will think the same.”
Julie Sanderson, a Leucadia resident said that since the former gas station was torn down at the site in August 2006 the community has been left with an eyesore. “We’re not opposed to Starbucks, just the special treatment they are getting from city staff.” She said during community meetings held by the developer, residents were given conflicting information. “Are you here tonight for us or for them?” she asked the council.
Kathleen Lindemann presented signatures from her neighbors in Leucadia Village. She said the real issues were “fairness “ and “consistency.” Lindemann brought up examples of the council’s denial of encroachment variances for residents and asked why a business should get special treatment.
The council disagreed. “From what I’ve seen this is a worthy project and one I can support,” Council member Kristin Gaspar said.
The 3,699-square-foot development, which includes two other small commercial rental spaces in addition to the future Starbucks, actually exceeds the city’s landscaping requirements according to Deputy Mayor Stocks. The site is proposed to have a 24- percent landscape coverage while city code requires 15-percent.

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