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Pacific View, field lighting agreement coming to council

ENCINITAS — A group that is planning to build an arts center on the Pacific View Elementary School site is receiving the go-ahead from the city to pursue the entitlements necessary to enter into a lease agreement.

The City Council announced that after a closed session discussion it unanimously agreed to bring back an open-session item next week that would, among other things, authorize the Encinitas Arts, Culture and Ecology Alliance to pursue the necessary permits and environmental review for their proposed project.

According to Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer, the Nov. 16 agenda item would also include an extension of the group’s right-of-entry agreement with the city and an exclusive negotiating agreement to develop a possible lease, but no lease would be signed until the group obtained the necessary entitlements, permits and environmental review.

Throughout the election campaign, the current council majority had been criticized over speculation that the city was poised to approve a $1-per-year lease with the Alliance for the property, which the city spent $10 million to purchase from the Encinitas Union School District.

The City Council also voted in closed session to bring back on Nov. 16 an agreement that will restore temporary lights to Leo Mullen Sports Park.

The council recently agreed to move forward with the process of amending the Encinitas Ranch Specific Plan to allow for field lights on the soccer field, which was recently renovated. The amendment process could take anywhere from a year to 18 months depending on if the city is required to perform a more stringent environmental review process.

But the agreement to be discussed next week would allow for the Encinitas Express soccer club to resume using gas-powered portable lights on the field, a practice the city council barred last year after it was determined the temporary lights violated the specific plan.

The agreement will likely include some kind of gradual phaseout clause that would conclude once permanent lights are installed around the field.

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