ENCINITAS —After reading over 100 testimonials and comments, the Encinitas City Council voted to reauthorize the extension of the Jewish Family Services Safe Parking Program for its full 16-month lease during its May 20 meeting.
The council also adopted the revised 2019-2020 Fiscal Budget, among 16 other items that caused the meeting to end around midnight.
Voting unanimously to extend the use agreement at Leichtag Commons, the city council approved the extension of the Safe Parking Program, which accommodates households living in their cars and holds a maximum of 25 vehicles.
Additionally, the council passed 16 other items, including a budget amendment to receive $250,000 from the California Department of Housing and Community Development for homeless prevention and intervention services, a recommendation by the youth commission to prohibit the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products, and a reduction in the speed limit to 35 miles per hour on South Coast Highway 101.
Furthermore, the council voted to approve Encina Wastewater Authority’s Fiscal 2020-2021 Pension policy, adopt Phase 3 of Encinitas’ Plastics Initiative, complete new MUFG Union Bank Funds Transfer Authorizations, consider an exclusive negotiating agreement with Encinitas Arts, Culture, and Ecology Alliance, and adopt a resolution to improve fire prevention security gates.
The council also voted to reject bids for the Conservation Demonstration Garden, approve plans surrounding the FY 19-20 Citywide Sewer Rehabilitation Project, finalize negotiations on the 1711 Eolus Avenue Storm Drain project, conduct a public hearing on TransNet Local Street Improvement Project as well as authorize the city manager to accept a grant from SANDAG Shared Streets Pilot Program.
As with other city council and commission meetings during the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting was broadcast live via Zoom, incorporating residents’ opinions remotely.
Julie Thunder, Encinitas mayoral candidate, questioned why the city council chose to entertain so many “non-routine” items in the consent calendar that could have been individual action items, without any option for residents to be physically present to represent their concerns.
“I suspect this is a result of nearly canceling half of the City Council meetings,” Thunder said. “Now, you’re cramming two meetings worth of items into one agenda”
However, the council did vote on individual items in the calendar, often without in-depth discussion.
Members of the public were given the option of removing an item by submitting a “PINK” slip to the city clerk, however, few residents did.
The overwhelming majority of public comments were directed towards the Leichtag Commons Safe Parking Program, as well as residents opposed to high-density housing and a restaurant complex in the residential Fox Point neighborhood.
At one point during the two hours dedicated to hearing public comments on the Safe Parking Program, City Clerk Kathy Hollywood noted there was a skunk in the chamber, pointing out that those listening through Zoom were lucky to be at home after all.
Caitlin Steinberg is a Leucadia resident who is covering all things Encinitas for The Coast News.
She is also a fine art photographer, as well as a military historian and CEO of Operation Green Faces, a 501(c)3 nonprofit preserving the oral histories of UDT & SEAL Team operators in the Vietnam War.