Encinitas to hold housing workshop Dec. 16

ENCINITAS — Residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on the potential sites officials are considering for the city’s latest attempt at creating a housing plan that passes muster with voters. 

The city is hosting a joint workshop with the City Council and the Housing Element Task Force at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 16 at the Encinitas Community Center. 

Encinitas has grappled for more than two decades with adopting an update to its housing element, the blueprint for the placement of future affordable and denser housing units. Encinitas is one of a handful of cities statewide and the only one in the county without an updated housing element. 

Encinitas is also one of a handful of cities with laws in place that require voters to have a say on plans such as the housing element that would require changes in zoning or land use. Voters in 2016 voted against the city’s latest housing element attempt, known as Measure T.

Now, the city is working to get a housing element proposal on November 2018 ballot. 

The task force — a group composed of Mayor Catherine Blakespear, Councilman Tony Kranz, Planning Commissioner Bruce Ehlers and former Planning Commissioner Kurt Groseclose — has been working since February on a plan to put forth to voters. Recently, however, a consultant working with the group informed them that recent changes to state law would require them to change their approach.

The new laws would limit the number of already developed sites the city could designate for future affordable housing, as well as providing a larger number of sites, known as a housing buffer, in the event a landowner chooses not to rezone the property. The consultant has put together an inventory of new sites that would satisfy the changes in state law. 

At the Dec. 16 workshop the council and task force will review the new sites and discuss the new state laws, and the public will be able to weigh in on the discussion. 

“The housing element update is about more than just meeting a state mandate — it is about helping Encinitas provide housing options for all of its residents and workers in the various occupations that make up a thriving city,” Blakespear said. “We hope our residents will join us in this informal setting as we review sites to help us meet our community’s housing needs.”

For more information, visit www.encinitasca.gov and search “Housing Plan Update.”

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