ENCINITAS — With all 12,867 ballots counted, Prop A passed with 51.85 percent of residents voting “yes.”
Bruce Ehlers, spokesperson for the land-use initiative, said that supporters of Prop A spent the past few weeks “doing what we do best — getting out there and talking to residents.”
He made that comment Wednesday, when 1,800 ballots remained to be counted, but Prop A was on track to pass with 51.5 percent approval.
Mayor Teresa Barth, who was against the initiative, said in a statement Wednesday:
“I am committed to supporting the voter’s decision and working to bring the community together. I do believe we all want the same thing…to keep Encinitas a wonderful place to live now and in the future.”
Billed as a way to protect community character, Prop A would place some zoning decisions in voters’ hands.
In most cases, major increases in density and changes in zoning are already subject to a public vote.
Prop A was drafted to eliminate the City Council’s ability to “up-zone” beyond the city’s height and density limits with a four-out-of-five councilmember vote.
Groups like the Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association and Encinitas Chamber of Commerce joined City Council in opposing the initiative. Those in support include former Mayor Sheila Cameron and Pam Slater-Price, Encinitas mayor in 1990 and former supervisor.
Last summer, residents began collecting signatures for Prop A. In January, the initiative qualified for a special election, triggering a debate about how the city should grow.
Prop A needed at least 50 percent voter approval to pass.
Despite being out-funded, Prop A managed to gain voter support. Three organizations, two against Prop A and one for it, were active in trying to sway voters with mailers and signs around town.
As of June 19, the two “no” on A groups combined to raise more than $94,800,while the organization in favor of it brought in $19,200, according to campaign contribution reports filed with the city.
The special election cost the city $300,000. The bulk of that went toward recruiting poll workers, training them, translating ballots and administration costs associated with overseeing the election, according to Michael Vu, the county’s assistant registrar of voters.
Because Prop A passed, developers who ask for an increase in density or height would pay for ballot items. Likewise, if the city asks for the up-zone, it would fund the ballot items.
Zoning changes can either be placed on a special election at a greater cost — loosely estimated around $300,000 — or wait until a general election.
Items on the general election would have a price of around $30,000 for the first item and $20,000 for subsequent ones, but that’s only a rough estimate.
This story was updated at 6:00 p.m. Thursday to reflect the additional ballots released.