By Lisa Shaffer
DISCLAIMER: Consistent with government code 54965, no public resources were used in the preparation or dissemination of this statement. I prepared it on my personal computer, as a personal statement.
I want to limit development in Encinitas, so I’m going to vote no on Prop A. I appreciate that the proponents believe the initiative will be good for our community. I understand that they are responding to past decisions and trying to close what they see as loopholes. But they also want to impose city-wide development rules that would undo some locally-defined choices made by residents about their own individual communities, and I don’t agree with that. I also have concerns about possible unintended consequences of the initiative.
I plan to vote no because:
Prop A is not needed to fix the major loophole in the General Plan. The council is in the process of eliminating the General Plan provision that allows four-fifths of the council to approve any change in density by declaring a “public benefit” without a public vote. We plan to submit this change and the whole updated General Plan to a public vote in 2014 so a future council can’t undo the changes. Prop A is not needed to fix this problem.
Prop A would override the “specific plans” that were worked out by community groups to enable unique zoning arrangements that serve the specific area (Leucadia, Downtown, Cardiff). Prop A would impact historic preservation plans and undermine unique community character decisions made by residents in each neighborhood.
The requirement that more projects would have to be decided by a public vote is likely to result in more high density development rather than less, regardless of a public vote (see below).
I want the council to have time to develop a thoughtful, coherent updated General Plan that will be submitted to a public vote once.
This will enable us to incorporate community input and fix problems from the past without burdening either property owners or voters with special elections on specific projects.
Why do I think the initiative could lead to more development? The reason: state density bonus law. Regardless of what the General Plan and the initiative may say, if a developer includes one or more affordable units in a development, the city must allow higher density and grant waivers of development standards in most cases, if requested. The harder we make it for property owners to build within our existing land use policies, the more likely they are to use the density bonus law to circumvent our constraints. Density bonus waivers do not need a public vote regardless of Prop. A.
There is uncertainty about the impact of the initiative on height limits, but there is no question that state density bonus law trumps local codes. There are already several density bonus projects in our community that do not fit well in their neighborhoods. Prop A will not prevent such projects – in fact it could encourage more of them. That would not be good for Encinitas.
Encinitas has a new planning director and a new council. Give us a chance to fix the problems of the past and set us on a strong, clear path that encourages only development that enhances quality of life. Your voices are being heard. Things are changing. Let’s not make it any more difficult to do the right thing.
I am voting no on Proposition A.
-Lisa Shaffer is the deputy mayor of the city of Encinitas
Setting the record straight on Prop A
I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Leucadia-Encinitas Town Council (L-ETC). We are anxious to clarify a statement that was printed in the May 3, 2013 edition of The Coast News.
In her community commentary encouraging people to “Vote Yes on Prop A” (pages 4 and 26), Lynn Marr misrepresents the position of the board of the L-ETC when she states, “That’s why Leucadia Town Council members, including Fred Caldwell who’s also on the board of Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association…”. Fred Caldwell is a valued member of long standing on our board and he would never presume to speak for the entire board. Neither would he speak for the entire board of the L101 without their approval.
We would like to make our position clear. The L-ETC is a nonprofit organization and it is our long-standing policy for the board not to take a stand, either way, on candidates or political issues. Instead, we provide information about the issues to our members and Encinitas citizens in general. We trust that a well-informed public is able to make their own decisions. That is why L-ETC is hosting a community forum to discuss this issue.
The public is invited to hear the pros and cons of Prop A, the Right-to-Vote Initiative, on Thursday, May 16,in the Community Room at the Encinitas Library located at 540 Cornish Drive. The program will offer two subjects. At 6:30, Councilman Tony Kranz will present a North County Transit District update on at-grade crossings and other Railroad Corridor issues. At 7:15, Bruce Ehlers and Steve Shackelton will present the pro and con sides of Prop A, the Right-to-Vote Initiative. There will be an opportunity for questions from the audience at both presentations.
The L-ETC board of directors appreciates your efforts to keep the public accurately well informed on local issues.
Secretary to the Board
Leucadia-Encinitas Town Council
Leucadia 101 Main Street’s stance on Prop A
Leucadia 101 never agreed to have our logo, our name or any of our communication be used by the No on Prop A organization and we have asked them to refrain from using it in the future. We do not have a budget to send out flyers, put ads in the paper or have legal representation to dispel rumors and we have submitted this letter to the Coast News for our larger public explanation of our position.
As a Board, Leucadia 101 voted to support our City Council on their stance on Prop A. While the result was not unanimous, the overall majority approved the support of the Council’s position. The “one size fits all” approach of Prop A creates problems in Leucadia and doesn’t solve the predicaments that really affect our district. These issues center around reduced parking and increased density that recently and even under Prop A would be allowed through the state bonus density law. State law trumps local planning controls like those proposed under Prop A. Small business owned by people like Fred Caldwell need parking for their business and due to the current state law they has lost some valuable street parking. At this time we believe that the current City Council that was elected by the citizens of Encinitas will incorporate the parts of Prop A that can be successful throughout all of Encinitas.
As the Board discussed the Right-to-Vote language and the city prepared documents the question was raised, “Is now the time to look at the North 101 Specific Plan to see if some of Prop A can be incorporated, are there other incentives that can be offer to stop the state bonus density efforts that reduce parking requirements, increase density and reduce setbacks, what is the vision for Leucadia since the N101SP was completed in 1997?” We as a Board will be discussing the possibility of a revision to N101SP amongst ourselves, with our membership and friends. N101SP was drafted by Leucadians for Leucadia and that is how Leucadia should be guided toward the future.
— William Morrison
President, Leucadia Main Street