Community Community Encinitas News

Encinitas will fight BIA lawsuit

ENCINITAS — The city of Encinitas, as expected, has decided to fight a lawsuit filed by the Building Industry Association of San Diego seeking to void the city’s recent action to close several loopholes that have been popular among developers of so-called “density-bonus” projects.

The City Council earlier this month pulled its discussions of the new policies behind closed doors after the attorney representing the developer of the Desert Rose project threatened to sue the city because he said enforcement of the policies on the development, which is currently tied up in the courts, would violate state law.

Days later, the BIA hit the city with a lawsuit targeting the actions the council took July 16, which were hailed by opponents of density-bonus developments as a step in the right direction by the city.

The council emerged from a closed session hearing at the Oct. 22 council meeting with its decision to defend itself against the lawsuit, but the council directed the city to hire outside counsel to represent the city in the case, rather than using in-house attorney Glenn Sabine.

On July 16, the City Council nearly unanimously adopted a series of motions that memorialized its intent to stop the practices that they said have led to the proliferation of the oversized, super-dense residential developments citywide. Currently, eight of the 10 projects in the city’s planning queue are density-bonus projects.

State law allows for developers to build extra homes on land to offset the cost of building homes within the development reserved for affordable housing, but residents said the city has taken too liberal of an interpretation of the law, which has allowed developers to build far too many homes than the law intended.

The BIA’s lawsuit argues that the council’s actions, which they say were politically pressured, either violate state law or make it infeasible for developers to build the projects, and that the action would further damage the city’s ability to provide state-mandated affordable housing allocations.As part of the lawsuit, it is requesting the court order the city to update its housing element, which has not been updated since 1992.

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3 comments

Xavier October 30, 2014 at 10:21 am

“Loopholes”. In this case, a loophole is an ambiguity or inadequacy in the Density Bonus law, which can be used to circumvent or otherwise avoid the intent, implied or explicitly stated, of the law. The Coast News biases their reporting by using this term to describe what the builders are supposedly doing. Maybe this is intentionally used to make the reader believe that the builder is doing something wrong or maybe it is just a poor word choice on the part of the reporter. Best leave this sort of thing now to the courts which will decide who is right. Just report the facts and don’t introduce obvious bias by using terms like this if you want your readers to take your reporting seriously.

EricTredemyer November 1, 2014 at 9:10 am

It’s time for builders to build quality projects and stop stuffing big houses on tiny lots, making everyone unhappy, and destroying the character of our existing neighborhoods and quality of life. CA Cove, Leucadia-case in point (no park space, no parking in the development, no privacy for future residents…. This strip and fill mentality benefits no one but the developers. Meanwhile, the neighborhood loses precious open space and all suffer when thoughtful in-fill development could have been done right from the start. Other cities have closed these loopholes and Encinitas should do the same. Be careful who you vote for in this election and be sure to check out who is donating to Mayoral and City Council candidates for a real glimpse at what lies ahead, depending on who you vote for!

Alex November 3, 2014 at 9:00 pm

The developer’s choice is Kristin Gaspar, who have donated almost $7,000 to her campaign through their sham PAC “Public Safety Advocates”. Besides catering to out of town developers, Kristin also supports putting in 90 foot dome lighting towers over the new Encinitas community park, ruining the quality of life for hundreds of nearby residents so that she doesn’t have to drive her kids out of town to play at night. She also took cash from Union Kitchen & Tap so that they could continue making loud noise while catering to out of town drunks and degrading the quality of life of nearby residents. Finally, let’s not forget that Kristin was groomed by none other than Jerome Stocks himself, which tells you all you need to know about her character (Jerome also just gave her some cash). Kristin is a threat to our quality of life and doesn’t deserve our vote.

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