Opinion: Jim Crow in Encinitas

Opinion: Jim Crow in Encinitas

While the Housing Element battle raged over selecting locations for high density housing in Encinitas, the City Council slipped an offensive zoning chapter into the Municipal Code, E.M.C. 30.41.010.

Fully aware of the racial and economic stench and consequences of this chapter, the City went out of its way to proclaim multiple times in the “whereas” and preamble that this was not the purpose of this chapter. Yet as Shakespeare said: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

This chapter is simply the true sentiment of the Council and belies occasional statements by the Mayor and others. On 2/1/17 at the special housing meeting the Mayor said: “so what we heard the most is that we want the [housing] plan to have true affordability…guaranteed affordable…” This summer the Council slipped E.M.C. 30.41 into the Code proclaiming: “the Council desires to provide the residential development community with alternatives to construction of the affordable units on the same site as the market rate residential development. Therefore, this chapter includes a menu of options from which a developer may select an alternative to the construction of affordable units on the same site…”

The options include the following: Encinitas Municipal Code 30.41.080:

  1. a) 5 accessory units will satisfy low & moderate housing requirement;
  2. b) rental units: 15 percent low income or 10 percent very low will satisfy;
  3. c) offsite construction of affordable housing will satisfy;
  4. d) preservation or conservation of existing units;
  5. e) in lieu fee instead of building (NOT ALLOWED IN R-30);
  6. f) dedication of land in lieu of building affordable housing;
  7. g) affordable housing credits from a developer with surplus affordable housing may be used instead of building; and,
  8. h) “a developer may propose an alternative compliance method of providing affordable housing through other means.”

Who grants these alternatives? The unelected City Manager is the only review and necessary approval. What corruption and mischief does this invite?

These disgraceful ways to avoid providing affordable housing were in the defeated Measure T and the Council knew that it would fail again, so they removed them from Measure U and slipped them into the Municipal Code zoning for all City lands. Is this the community that you want to live in? The Mayor and Council say one thing and shamelessly do another.

Is this the open heart of Encinitas, welcoming to returning students, downsizing seniors and those who never will be able to afford to live here? Who thought of this exclusionary zoning chapter? Who are we keeping out (or off site)? Did staff do this on its own? How come no one will take ownership of this segregation chapter, despite the unanimous approval of every Council member? And, if this is not segregation: how come the preamble in multiple places desperately proclaims that it isn’t?

This is another reason to vote NO on Measure U. Not only does Measure U create terrible high density disproportionally throughout the City, add thousands of cars to our roads, evade a proper EIR for each location, allow heights up to 42 feet, and causes million dollar condos to be built; but also now, has racial and economic prejudice.

Dr. Gary Rogers, Leucadia

2 Comments
  1. Anthony C 3 weeks ago

    I wish I could understand this article, but it flows poorly. The sentence that I had to reread over again is “And, if this is not segregation: how come the preamble in multiple places desperately proclaims that it isn’t?”

    The double negative makes my head spin. Take a deep breath, write several drafts, and repost this. I know this is opinion, but this borders on “rant and ravings”.

  2. taxpayer2017 3 weeks ago

    Thank you for bring forth the many changes the Council has done in the backroom with Measure U as the screen for them. The current inclusionary housing ordinance has required that subdivision developers build one “affordable housing unit” per each ten market rate units. One of the reasons for the State law was to integrate lower income families into a neighborhood of more affluence – the social equity factor. By direction of the City Council, the Planning Commission is exploring ways to increase the mandated 10% low income housing in the market rate development to 25%. However, if the Council votes in a new chapter in the municipal code for the developer that negates or removes any requirement of building the low income housing within the market rate development, what happens to social equity? Whether the required low income housing units are 10% or 25% created by a new ordinance the requirement for the subdivision is negated in another section of the municipal code when the developer can choose not to build the low income housing in the project. It is a shell game. The Iris apartments represent a previous City Council decision to allow a developer/developers to consolidate all the required low income housing from other market rate developments into the Iris Apartments.
    Where is the social equity? Lower income residents/ families are clumped together in one building. More affluent buyers are clumped together in their own enclave. Where is the social equity?

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