ENCINITAS — Lost amid the debate that raged in recent months over the city’s $10 million purchase of the Pacific View Elementary site was the question of what to do with the property’s two current tenants.
That question was recently placed at the forefront of city business when the owners of the two businesses approached the council at a meeting earlier in the month and requested they be allowed to remain on the premises for a short period in order to find a place to move.
The council on Wednesday obliged the owners’ request, granting the businesses — Leucadia Towing and Encinitas Glass — six months to find new homes.
After six months, however, the council said that both businesses have to be off of the Pacific View site because the city would not grant the businesses the major-use permit to stay on the site, which the city has designs for a cultural arts center and some interim uses.
The agreement comes on the heels of an off-hand announcement by City Manager Gus Vina at Wednesday’s meeting that escrow on the Pacific View property closed on Thursday.
“I would hope they would find a place in town because they have long been businesses in town, so my goal is to hopefully keep these businesses here (in Encinitas),” Councilman Tony Kranz said. “But I personally don’t see extending them beyond the six months because they won’t be filing for a major-use permit, so six months to me would be it.
“After six months, I suppose I don’t know what they would do,” Kranz said.
Leucadia Towing, which is contracted with AAA to provide emergency roadside assistance, has operated at Pacific View for several years, owner Joe Radick said. Encinitas Glass, which has been in business for 57 years, uses the Pacific View site to park its glass-installation trucks.
Under the previous arrangements with the Encinitas Union School District, Radick’s business paid $1,500 a month in rent, and Encinitas Glass paid $100 a month for the parking spaces.
The council’s vote would allow the city to continue to collect rent over the six-month period.
Both Radick and Encinitas Glass’ owner Ronald Bub implored the council at the Nov. 10 meeting to help them keep the businesses in the city, though it would require a costly major-use permit for the towing company to stay in town, regardless of where it would be located.
“The residents of Encinitas need to keep us local,” Radick said.
City officials agreed that both businesses provide valuable services to residents — Mayor Kristin Gaspar said she had personally benefited from Leucadia Towing on several occasions.
“It is well appreciated and your businesses do provide a convenience for our citizens,” Gaspar said.