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Community Commentary Opinion

Opinion: There is nothing to be gained from Measure U

Sheila S. Cameron is the former mayor of Encinitas

The State of California has required that Encinitas supply land to accommodate 1,140 low- income housing units (Low income for a family of four ranges from $48,650 to $77,850).

The State has also designated Encinitas as a Metropolitan area, and has implied that the only way we can possibly supply low income housing is to build a minimum of 30 units/acre.

Encinitas City Council has submitted Measure U which:

• Proposes 15 sites to be up-zoned to R-30 (30 units/acre) to accommodate 1,600 units, (a buffer of 460 houses over the 1,140). With potential for density bonus, there can be a 35 percent increase over the 1,600 to 2,000 additional units.

• Allows 33 feet in height, 37 feet for a peaked roof, and up to 42 feet for appendices on rooftops.

• Requires only 15 percent of this high density housing to be low income.


• Why should Encinitas be designated as a Metropolitan area requiring a density of 30 units/acre? A Suburb designation is only R16 to R20.

• The increased height allowance violates Proposition A, which limits the building height to 30 ft or 2 stories to preserve the character of our coastal community.

• Only 15 percent of the rezoned land is required to be low income. Even if all 1,600 units are built, only 240 compliant units will be created; 85 percent will be million dollar market rate homes. The balance of the State requirement that are not created (1,140 – 240 = 880) will be carried over to the next Housing cycle in 2021.

• Developers have escape mechanisms that allow them not to build even the 15 percent affordable housing … at least not on their project sites.


Alternative sites, which allow developers to dump their 15 percent elsewhere; or to use affordable housing credits from another developer in place of building the required low income units.

This measure increases density but does not provide any infrastructure support for the increased traffic, roads, schools, water. This is an Unfunded Mandate by the State.

The site selection process was not transparent. Last minute removal of the 9 acre site, L-7 owned by Encinitas taxpayers, voted by three Council members, meant scrambling by the City assigning subpar housing site replacements and creating chaos among our communities.

Since Encinitas owns L-7, it could have delegated it all to non-profit builders to get 100 percent developed in quality, modern, low income structures. Many of the added sites would not be needed.

Most of all, if Measure U passes, our Right to Vote in future housing element cycles is in jeopardy – the City is deliberately vague in their language on Right to Vote protections given to the voters through Proposition A.

San Diego County is being allocated 171,000 houses in the next Housing Element Update cycle in 2021. There are more housing allotments coming to Encinitas.

What we need is a comprehensive detailed measure that maximizes bang for the buck:

• Fight the State on Metropolitan vs Suburban designation

• Close loopholes that allow developers to avoid their responsibility to build their fair share of low income units

There is nothing to be gained here. VOTE NO on Measure U.

1 comment

Fred Caldwell September 29, 2018 at 11:32 am

Thanks Sheila. Also, in 1995, SANDAG claimed Encinitas missed their quota of low cost housing by 500 units. 20 years later with only a 12 % increase in population, SANDAG’s requirement jumped up to 2000 homes. So when I see a 12% increase in population and a 400% increasing in their housing demands, it makes me wonder what magical place they pull these numbers out of. Not to mention what their motivation is.

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