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Community Commentary Opinion

Cry, our beloved Leucadia

By Sheila S. Cameron

Our beloved community of Leucadia is in pain! There has been a slow eroding of our Community Character and with it our Quality of Life – the two principles each distinct community was promised when we joined together to create the City of Encinitas in 1986.

Four businesses in the heart of Leucadia burned down in the early hours of Monday morning. It seems to strike at the core of who and what we are – Shatto T-Shirts has been with us for 44 years, Mozy’s restaurant, and Peace Pies were favorite restaurants for locals, as well as the treasure trove of art and photography in CaliLife Gallery. All gone. Can they rebuild with the same sense of Leucadia laid back charm, or will we end up with another lot line to lot line, 3-4 story sterile building?

Kudos go out to all the brave firefighters who fought this fire that kept erupting with flames. It was a joint effort by our own Encinitas Fire Department as well as the neighboring cities of Carlsbad, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Vista, Rancho Santa Fe, and Oceanside. THANK YOU ALL!

It begs the question however, IF the Streetscape plan of only one lane on the South and North sides of that stretch of Highway 101 with 4 roundabouts was in place – Would these fire companies with their huge apparatus be able to get on the scene as quickly? Or have room to operate their trucks and equipment efficiently?

Perhaps this is an opportunity for the Encinitas Mayor and City Council to rethink this unpopular Streetscape plan. There are a tremendous number of residential properties west of Highway 101 that could be at risk.

Streetscape basically benefits the bicycle community (approximately 400 in Encinitas) and a lot more bicyclists up and down the Coast who like to ride 3 and 4 abreast. A small percentage of businesses think they will benefit, while the majority of businesses do not support this plan, nor do the majority of residents. Why spend $50 million dollars (current projected costs) to cause congestion and frustrate drivers?

Does Leucadia have a target on its back? Along with the proposed controversial and costly Streetscape scheme, Leucadia is experiencing the the dissolution of our Community:

The beautiful bluff on the very north end of Leucadia is ripped down and a huge hotel is being built with 5 stories of concrete walls. The debris from excavation is dumped into the ocean and residents are told they should be grateful for the additional “free sand”, and apparently, the construction flotsam as well?

A gross Las Vegas-style staircase proposed for Leucadia’s iconic Beacon Beach and is only stopped (temporarily) because it was shouted down!

Neptune Avenue in Leucadia is re-striped so that pedestrians are required to walk in the middle of the street, to make way for bicyclists.

The Housing Element Plan has 40% of all high density housing being built in Leucadia!

The Portofino hotel on Highway 101, is going to be rebuilt – patched with band aids of a sort, leaving the drive through in the center; and part time valet parking to handle all the additional cars in the surrounding residential neighborhood. There will be added a rooftop bar, pool, and sound system.

All with promises by the developer that “The Ray” parking issues and noise will be mitigated?

Ahh, and the iconic “Trees of Leucadia” once our most visible Community Character asset along Highway 101 entering our City – are being cut down.

To make way for what?

The Streetscape, of course, and those 4 roundabouts! It is projected that over 100 trees will be removed along this 2.4 mile stretch of Highway 101 including many of those in the median.

Why doesn’t the Encinitas City Council…. Fix the drainage in Leucadia.

Leave our trees and designated Scenic four lane highway alone. Put in the long awaited Rail Trail for bicycle enthusiasts that Sandag is willing to fund.

Save taxpayers a lot of money and let Leucadia be!

Once you’ve done the above, we’ll let you know if we need you. So, fellow Leucadians, either Cry for Leucadia or Take Back Leucadia – your choice!

Sheila S. Cameron is a former mayor of Encinitas

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2 comments

Scott Rose October 4, 2019 at 4:16 am

Build the bike path between the Coast Highway and the railroad tracks. Make it smooth and make it wide since the stretch
of PCH between Solana Beach and Carlsbad is reputed to be the most heavily trafficked stretch for cyclists in the entire United States. Allow for safe interfaces, crossings, exits and turn lanes. Will likely be more difficult/dangerous and definitely more expensive than slightly modifying the current conditions along the Coast Highway tho. The traffic circles will be a welcome change to slow aggressive/speeding motorists. There are also emergency response time issues related to the Coaster/Amtrak but nary a mention of that particular interface. Consider, for a moment, expanding the width of the PCH and Vulcan stretch thru Encinitas/Leucadia, making PCH only southbound and Vulcan only northbound (or vice versa) while making half of the Coast Highway (or Vulcan) a dedicated, carproof lane alongside all the businesses open to all non-motorized traffic. Roller-bladers, runners, cyclists, walkers for those few miles? Would you walk/jog/run/cycle it? Would others? So much room along with the railroad corridor. Remove the existing non-native trees (and replant elsewhere) and plant native ones. Granted, we’re talking about a 40-year realization but it sounds like you bring 40 years worth of locality into the editorial.

Reply
Tree Hugger October 4, 2019 at 9:44 am

The community of Leucadia has always been a cool place to visit with its unique businesses, natural beauty, and its expressive and artistic residents. Why is the City set on ruining what others love, just for the short-term financial gain of a few developers?

Keep Leucadia funky!

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