Crest Drive can remain ‘rustic’

ENCINITAS — Encinitas’ upcoming overhaul to its street design standards won’t apply to residents along a rustic stretch of Crest Drive — much to the delight of the residents along the street.

Nearly a dozen homeowners in the area came to Wednesday’s City Council meeting to protest proposed changes to the city’s long held street standards that they believed would take away the rural charm of the street.

After hearing from the residents, the council unanimously voted that Crest Drive from Melba Road to Birmingham Drive would be off limits.

“You can all breathe now,” Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer said.

The meeting was the latest in a yearlong series of meetings aimed and updating the city’s street standards, which actually require the installation of curb, gutter and sidewalk for any new development in the city, regardless of the surrounding community’s makeup.

But much of the debate has surrounded parking standards that would be changed as a result of the proposal, which originally was slated to require homes to have street parking along the entire frontage of their property.

This is what drove Crest Drive residents to the meeting, as most said they have no need for street parking in front of their larger lots (most said they could provide parking for guests on their properties), and adding such a parking requirement would irrevocably change the character of the neighborhood.

“Leave us alone,” Sandra Goldberg said. “Don’t regulate us, don’t give us requirements, you don’t have to park in the street, we don’t wanna know about you, hear about you or see you.”

Rather than full frontage parking, the council agreed with residents and members of the committee who crafted the proposed changes that a requirement of one parking space per home would be a fair compromise. There are several exceptions: Cardiff west of Interstate 5 and Leucadia west of Coast Highway 101 will be required to have street parking along the full street frontage.

The City Council also gave staff several other recommendations for the standard changes, including allowing landscaping on a portion of the property frontage, even in the right-of-way, eliminating the requirement that a sidewalk or walking path be constructed in areas where they don’t currently exist and maintaining the minimum 24-feet street width requirement, which is compliant with fire codes.

City staff expects to return with a draft plan in early 2015.

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