ENCINITAS — Encinitas proposed housing element, Measure T, has been debated within the community for years.
With less than a month before the election that will decide the fate of the local measure, supporters and opponents will meet on stage for a forum to debate its measure.
The forum is set for 6 p.m. at the Encinitas Library, and is hosted by the community engagement nonprofit Engage Encinitas.
Encinitas is the lone city in San Diego County without a housing plan, which hurts it when competing for regional grants.
The city’s proposed update would create a new land-use designation dubbed “At Home in Encinitas,” which would encompass the 13 sites the city has identified as potential housing sites. The designation would allow property owners in the site areas to develop between 20 and 30 units per acre and build up to three stories of housing, the density that the state uses as a proxy for affordability.
Under the “At Home” designation, the city’s housing element update proposal would accommodate nearly 2,000 units of this type of residential development, more than the 1,300 that the state is mandating. City officials said the buffer is necessary to ensure if people opt not to use the new land-use designation there would still be enough designated properties to satisfy the state mandate.
Among the sites identified on the housing map are:
- two sites in downtown Cardiff, including the Town Center
- sites along Coast Highway 101 in Leucadia,
- several commercial areas in New Encinitas, including the Encinitas Ranch Shopping Center on El Camino Real and two spots at the Encinitas Boulevard intersection.
- four areas of Old Encinitas, including along Coast Highway 101,
- two areas of Olivenhain at the intersection of Rancho Santa Fe and Encinitas Boulevard.
In a compromise, the City Council voted as part of its approval to remove a story from the proposed three-story allowance at the Cardiff Town Center, which had prompted the ire of a number of Cardiff residents.
Supporters have argued that not passing the measure exposed the city to further housing lawsuits by developers or affordable housing advocates, and could result in the city ceding its land-use authority to a judge.
They have argued that the plan represents the city’s best possible plan to assign affordable housing in a fair and equitable manner across Encinitas five communities, and that it was borne from more than 140 public meetings and input from hundreds of residents.
Opponents have argued that Measure T would lead increased density, building heights as tall as 48 feet when taking into account roof features.
They also argue that lawsuit threats are simply that — threats.