ENCINITAS — Encinitas has been hit with yet another legal challenge to Proposition A and the city’s failure to adopt a housing element update.
This time, a group of attorneys specializing in affordable housing law on behalf of the low-income community has issued a letter to Encinitas demanding it adopt a housing element by March 30, or be sued.
The four-point legal demand dated March 15 argues that the city has repeatedly failed to meet it’s state requirements to zone appropriately to meet its regional affordable housing needs. The letter then takes aim at Prop. A, the 2013 voter initiative that requires a public vote on major zoning changes or changes to the Housing Element, which the attorneys argue directly conflicts with state law.
“By continuing to require voter approval to adopt an updated housing element, the city continues to be without a housing element that complies with applicable state law, and will not be in compliance for the foreseeable future,” the letter states.
San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, Cozen O’Connor P.C. and the Public Interest Law group represent Lorraine Del Rose and San Diego Tenants United in the case. Del Rose is described as a San Diego County resident who has struggled to obtain affordable housing due to lack of supply.
Encinitas has been in the crosshairs of developers and other interests in recent years on issues ranging from the city’s stance toward density bonus developments to, most recently, its lack of an updated housing element. The document was last updated in the mid 1990s.
The Building Industry Association and DCM Properties had previously settled their lawsuits against Encinitas with the condition that they would approve a housing element in November. But voters rejected the city’s proposed update, Measure T, by a 56-44 margin.
Encinitas officials have been working on an update since January, when they empaneled a four-person subcommittee comprised of Mayor Catherine Blakespear, Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz, Planning Commissioner Bruce Ehlers and Measure T proponent Kurt Groseclose. The group has been meeting semimonthly to expedite a housing plan that the public would embrace.
The Coast News has reached out to Valerie Feldman, an attorney with the Public Interest Law Group, and will update the story with her comments. The Coast News will also reach out to City Manager Karen Brust and Blakespear for comment.