ENCINITAS — A proposed 48-home subdivision adjacent to Batiquitos Lagoon has received a unanimous endorsement from the Encinitas City Council.
The council was hearing an appeal of the project filed by the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, which contested several portions of the project’s environmental study.
The subdivision is on 14 acres owned by the Weston family that used to be nurseries and is bordered by the lagoon to the north, Interstate 5 to the east, and neighborhoods to the south at west along La Costa Avenue.
Council members listened to Batiquitos Lagoon’s appeals team and several neighbors argue against the project, which they said would snarl traffic along two-lane La Costa Avenue, did not account potential impacts to the lagoon in the environmental report, and separated the affordable units from the rest of the project.
The project has been the subject of controversy since the Planning Commission took it up in February. With only three members present and thousands of documents to wade through, the commission postponed its decision until March 14.
At that meeting, the panel riled up opponents when they announced that since they closed the public comment hearing in February they couldn’t legally re-open it, leaving several speakers unable to comment on the project before the commission approved it.
One speaker at the April 24 council, Katrin Flechsig, brought up the issue, and took issue with the March 14 vote because a recently appointed commission that wasn’t on the panel in February took part in the vote.
“The commission’s vote is invalid,” Flechsig said.
Other residents were concerned that the project had too many homes, pointing to a Department of Fish and Wildlife letter that recommended a 22-unit development instead of the 48 homes.
But the council and city staff pointed out that the Westons were entitled to build far more homes on the site than they were proposing, and that four of the units would be earmarked for low-income residents as part of the density bonus, a state program that allows developers to build more homes and receive certain breaks if one or more homes are designated affordable.
The City Council ultimately felt that the project’s development consultant, David Meyer, responded adequately to the issues raised by the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation.
Councilman Joe Mosca said that some of the arguments raised by the foundation felt like “semantics” differences rather than more substantive ones.