Encinitas seeks input on housing plan

ENCINITAS — Encinitas city officials are facing a challenge when it comes to local housing and they are asking for input to create a plan that includes community-supported solutions.Housing costs in Encinitas continue to climb, while the availability and variety of that housing continues to drop. At the same time, we have a growing population and our existing residents have changing needs. Simply put, Encinitas city hall believes the city is evolving and that more housing choices are needed that reflect the growing and changing community. To make this happen, they are planning to update the local plan that addresses future housing opportunities. Called the Housing Element, this plan hasn’t been updated since the 1990s and a lot has changed since then.

An updated housing plan for Encinitas can help plan for future housing that reflects community characteristics residents value. It will make the city eligible for regional and state grants that will help fund infrastructure improvements and public amenities (including public art and beautification), and additional housing can help pay for new facilities, like parks and recreation.

The plan that residents help create will be put to a public vote in November 2016. Now is the time to learn how housing affects you, and how you can help guide the future of Encinitas.

During the month of November, you can offer input through e-Town Hall to help determine viable sites where future housing could be located. The city believes it needs to plan for around 1,300 new units in the city, distributed throughout Encinitas’ five communities.

With public input, the city will:

—Identify the type and location of future housing in Encinitas

—Determine the community characteristics that you value to ensure that they are preserved

—Create design standards for future projects so that the community can be confident that they will fit in with existing neighborhoods

Using the e-Town Hall, you will be able to review sites under consideration for new housing and the type of neighborhood design you think best fits on that site. You will also be able to provide your preferences, including what sites you do not think are appropriate for new housing. You can select from some ready-made options, or dive in and create your own.

In addition to this e-Town Hall activity, the city is hosting a series of Community Dialogue Sessions – one in each of Encinitas’’ five communities. At these sessions, residents can review more detailed information, ask questions of city staff, and share input. Staff can also assist you with the e-Town Hall activity. All Community Dialogue Sessions will be held as an open house format. Drop in anytime between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

More information on the following input opportunities will be available at athomeinencinitas.info, as it becomes available.

—December 2014/January 2015: City Council and Planning Commission review results of public input and provide direction on a preferred land use and community character plan for future housing.

—February 2015: City Council and Planning Commission form joint study session to review the complete draft housing plan and policies, and submission of the draft plan for State review.

—March 2015: City Council and Planning Commission joint study session and public review of related draft rezonings and Zoning Code amendments.

—May 2015: Environmental Impact Report (EIR) scoping meeting

—May-Dec 2015: City staff prepares Draft EIR

—January-February 2016: Draft EIR public review and comment period

—February-March 2016: City staff prepares responses to comments on Draft EIR

—April 2016: Final EIR published

—May to June 2016: Planning Commission recommendation and City Council decision to refer final housing plan to voters.

—November 2016: Public vote on new housing plan.

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