Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2/11/15 City Council meeting open thread

The current city council has continued prior councils' practice of not providing written summary minutes of council discussion, but only "action minutes" which state the outcomes. Encinitas Undercover will provide a forum for observers to record what occurs at each council meeting.

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Item of interest: spending $500,000 to rehab the Pacific View buildings into a temporary museum (does this mean a CN Tower is out of the question?).


  1. Never thought I could agree with crotchety old Bob Bonde, but agree with everything Bonde said to the City Council about blowing a half-mil on Pacific View. Now, Bob, can you report on the community-based housing element committee this past weekend?

  2. Shaffer is so full of misinformation. This property is not zoned for the uses that she is proposing just as it was not zoned for the high density housing that they claimed, and most of all PV HAS NOT BEEN SAVED!

    The bonds that they bought would not allow for studios or galleries, so Shaffer's solution is to call it "a museum." I don't believe a word out of her self-serving mouth.

  3. Sabine was rated in a range between above average and excellent, and the Council said that his performance had improved.

    Is this the public's take on his work here?

    1. Sabine is a dismal failure and has cost the city a small fortune for bad legal advice. How has he improved by any metric?

    2. I think Sabine is doing a fine job.

    3. Texting from the chamber again.

    4. EU- If only that were true about Sabine. The only way this man gets that kind of score is if he has something on everyone. So be it. The problem with Sabine is that you don't get what you pay for.

    5. Sabine didn't "improve." Council let down the citizens in its evaluation. And his evaluation could have and should have been made more of a public process. Council just can't get over preferring to work behind closed doors. They don't want the public accountability. They already know there is no liability for evaluating executive officers, including the city manager and the city attorney, publicly.

      I think part of this was based on fear. It was too much for a relatively new Council to take on having to replace the City Manager and the City Attorney, at the same time. But Sabine, among his many other failures, is also responsible for not reviewing and warning Council Members about the recent changes in the contract with the YMCA for the sports fields, which changes also work against the public's best interests.

    6. 8:28,

      I was just planning a post on that exact issue! I had already written the headline: Did "above average to excellent" city attorney review giveaway of Little League fields?

    7. 8:28 AM

      You don't appear to understand how things work. The two page staff report clearly indicated that the lease agreement was being modified. The mayor and city manager are responsible for placing items on the agenda including what is on the consent agenda. Items on the consent agenda are deemed more of a routine matter. You may disagree that the lease extension and change in terms wasn't routine but any member of the council or public can remove an item off consent. None did even though another item that night was removed by the public.

      If any council member had any issues with the lease extension and change non voiced it at the time. Council can discuss any item individually with staff for clarification prior to the meeting. No council member indicated they had. While items on consent are considered routine and don't usually generate any discussion, they are still important and all the council should read and understand the reports.

      It's not the city attorney's job to weigh in on policy matters. If he had been asked the ramifications of the lease agreement changes, I'm sure he would told them what the change in terms mean. But then the city manager could have told them as well.

      People here keep trying to make like it's all the fault of the city manager and city attorney. Irrespective of whether they are doing a good job, the responsibility lies with the council. It's that simple.

    8. The YMCA deal is huge but nothing has become of it YET. In a couple of years when a field disappears it will be heralded as one of the most mindless, inattentive mistakes and it is CA, manager, and council responsibility but ultimately we know who reviews contracts.

  4. Muir acts as if he is on another planet. Blakespear had to remind him that he attended a meeting that he couldn't remember he was even there. Where in the hell do we get these people and how do they get elected?

    The only thing he will be remembered for is his saying "AS IT RELATES TO".

    Someone please bring duct tape to the next meeting and tape his mouth shut.

    1. Remember "Tried and tested" - the vague main script on Muir's campaign mailers? I think you could elect a seagull to the City Council with the right advertising. "Flying High for you" would work; the same sort of meaningless gingoism worked for the brain addled Muir.

    2. Tried and tested everything on the menu!

    3. No it was tired and thirsty!

  5. When is the city going to provide Muir with a longer microphone since he can't get close enough up to his and the volume is barely detectable every time he speaks up, as it relates to, ah, never mind. At least we finally have some unanimity, as it relates to PV.

    1. 3:46 I agree. He is big in everything except he can't open his mouth wide enough to hear him, except ''as it relates to".

      I hope this man can figure out what it relates to before his term is over. He sure is one dunderhead.

    2. Man, you guys amaze me. You talk about Muir's weight as if it was the biggest news in town. The biggest news in town is PV and Sabine getting an excellent rating. Also, Blakespear ( or perhaps Shaffer, as it was in her newsletter) suggested that the Council meet informally to work out the Housing Element Plan. Isn't that a violation of the Brown Act, or does anyone care?

    3. Blakespeare's proposed meeting would be publicly noticed. No Brown Act violation.

    4. Teresa Barth, Still The Not-So-Great Pretender...

      The Seaside Courier has published a piece by T.K. Arnold that makes very public what most folks down at City Hall have been kibbitzing about for two months now: Teresa's belief that she CAN fool all the people ALL of the time and take control of the PV development and elbow out any artists from the process.

      Her response to direct questions about her always secretive and semi-illegal appearing meetings at Lisa Shaffer's house, with the City's Communications Director in attendance also, is as follows:

      "Barth adds, “It is unfortunate that a few members of the community wish to find hidden agendas in my actions. I prefer to work to create a more open, collaborative and positive community dialog.”

      LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!

      Well, if that's true, Teresa, this would be the first time you have ever worked in the open in a true and honest manner for collaboration!

      And its only "a few members of the community" because you've always had the city staff to run interference for you, or for you to blame.

      Readers, Check it out for yourself...

    5. What's next? A flash-mob that shows up at the Lumberyard to answer Lisa Shaffer's and Teresa Barth's published question,"CAN WE TELL THE TRUTH?"

    6. It is a complete failure for council to give this kind of review to the city attorney after this past year's blunders. Especially that Blakespear can't see through him is doubly troubling. It would have been a dream to see Sabine follow Vina out the door, that was the change citizens want and we are watching and taking note.

    7. 3:30 It was a dream of Ms. Lorri that Sabine get canned. Now she'll have to dream about something else.

    8. To be honest, I no longer care.

    9. Good, we have been spared from your wrath.

    10. There are plenty of others who would like to see the city get a new city attorney. Sabine did not deserve an "improved" rating on his review. Council doesn't have the wisdom, courage and determination to effect positive change. I too was troubled by CB's being an attorney, and "going along to get along" on this issue. At most, she should have abstained, claiming she didn't know enough this early in her term, to rate Sabine.

    11. If anyone wants about 10 years of information on Sabine and Assoc. they are welcome to message me. After sharing all of it to many councils, I am convinced he will never leave, so at some point I want to cut my loses. And that point is now. Go for it everyone. Whoever can convince the council to take a hard look at hime has my blessing, but I am so over Sabine. Lorri

  6. They can have all the meetings they want. The Housing Densification of Encinitas is a scam, and I don't care if IT'S "the law". We have been punished for incorporating as a city and having a General Plan. We were duped and scammed.

    1. You do know the county has a general plan as well with the same requirements. They could decide to dump density on us if they wanted.

    2. Did someone scare the interim city manager away already? Kathy Hollywood would have been a great interim city manager. That gal is on the ball and puts the entire council to shame.

      Blakespear needs to get up to speed. She is beginning to look and act as bad as Muir. And, the mayor, well she is off in princess land somewhere. Half of what she was talking about with Pacific View had already been covered under the sub-committee's report. Get with it mayor.

    3. 6:39 scare tactics not true, but good try.

    4. 10:09 PM Scare tactics?? So are you going to circulate the petition to unincorporate?

  7. Sabine has been CA for to long. Time for a new CA.

  8. 8:13 is either seriously confused or has a lot riding on scaring folks into upzoning...I gotcha.

    1. I'm not confused at all. I just don't live in a fantasy land. Other than the city being compliant with the state's housing element law, I have nothing riding on this and have no desire to scare folks.

      But I do know that a judge can demand that the city approve a certified housing element in 120 days whether it's citizens like it or not. That doesn't scare me but I'd rather the city take the time to do it the best they can.

      But you'd rather confuse people by making them think that Encinitas is different than any other city in the state and we can just ignore the law and go on our merry way. Or maybe you're in favor of disincorporation. You can get things started by signing up 25% of registered voters which is a little under 10,000 signatures.

    2. Dude, do your research. Other cities are resisting the state "mandates" increasingly. Until the city comes clean on what it's really trying to sell, telling us the actual numbers and proving it's done all it can do reduce our allocation, there's nothing to discuss. The HEU as it stands is a City-backed free-for-all for developers.

      Talk to your Council members: first words out of their mouths if you dare ask that they enforce actual affordability on the upzoning is "we'll get sued." Until the City guarantees that this affordability business is real and not slip of the envelope to developers, it's not going to fly.

    3. 1:26 PM

      'Other cities are resisting the state "mandates"' - Name them. While cities negotiate with HCD on what it will accept, that isn't resisting. So until you can show us the cities by name and how they are resisting, I just can't buy it as anything more than wishful thinking. So dude, I assume you have done your research and it will be relatively simple to give us some examples that we can verify for ourselves.

      "slip of the envelope to developers" This meme is getting tiresome and just lazy thinking. Yes, developers have been involved in the legislative process along with affordable housing advocates and they continue to be involved. Do they think the current legislation is to their benefit? I'm sure they do or they would be advocating changes. But this refrain of the council being developer errand boys/girls is getting old. You've made up your mind no matter what the council says or does.

  9. Gawd spare us! You sound like slimey marco or slimey mikey. Don't question any of the numbers being passed down to us or else he and others will being suing the city for sure. That came out of slimey marcos' mouth last week at the speakers podium during one of the two HEU meetings on Tuesday or Thursday. This nothing new, of course, from this character, as we have heard this before from him when he lost out on Desert Rose. Coast Lose Group, may it sink under it own bs weight and we will all be better off here. I wish someone could make him an offer he couldn't refuse and go anywhere else as long as it away from our precious town. He has chosen to be on the dark side and I can't recall a single positive thing he has done for this city. Our downtown sure is vibrant but any longtime residents are repelled at what has been allowed to fester there. Shameful.

  10. It's a Vista mentality. Hasta la Vista back to Vista.

  11. The City's amnesty is a farce. There are no real incentives.

    Making sure that there is an accurate count of existing affordable housing is the first step in "resisting," the smoke and mirrors. Before you have a true count of the current population and the current numbers of affordable residences, realistic RHNA mandates cannot be set, or achieved.

    The Census counts residents, not affordable residences. Jeff Murphy is twisting the truth; if the voters can't trust the numbers, any ballot housing element update will be defeated.

    If Judges set the numbers, which is unlikely, they too would have to establish a more accurate accounting of pre-existing affordable housing.

    Again, Jeff Murphy, Director of Planning hired by Gus Vina, isn't telling the truth when he says pre-existing units have already been counted toward our numbers.

    Similarly, City Attorney Glenn Sabine lied on his not impartial analysis of Prop A. If Council can't tell truth from lies, or doesn't care, then they don't deserve the public's trust, either.

    No one I've spoken with trusts the City on the HEU, now. This is because the density being pushed on us is exaggerated and unfair.

    1. 9:04,

      State housing law has nothing to do with baseline numbers and existing stock.

      State law simply anticipates a certain population growth in each region. That projected growth is broken into various income groups. The regional agency, in this case SANDAG, rolls the numbers down to the city level.

      So it's about future units and growth, not a current deficiency.

      The reason our existing granny falts enter the debate at all is a novel and relatively clever trick the city has come up with. Encinitas' existing zoning is covers the upper income tiers just fine. We have enough greenhouse space left that can be converted to expensive homes to cover the anticipated growth in wealthier income groups. What we are short on is zoning that could conceivably support enough affordable units to meet our expected growth of population in the lower income categories. The city is arguing that if we can get owners to declare granny flats and place a covenant on them to cap the rent, then we should be able to count that as a NEW affordable unit. The logic being that the unit isn't new, but the affordability covenant is, so it should count as a new affordable unit against our future needs.

      Again, the HEU, and state law has nothing to do with existing stock. It's simply about demonstrating to the state that our General Plan can support projected growth at specific income segments.

      Does 30 du/ac equate to affordable? No. That's an obvious flaw in the law, but the city can regulate the overlay zones to fix that. Council has the power to impose restrictions on unit size in the zone, for example. Not sure if it's possible, but I'd like to see the same affordability covenant we use on granny flats used in the overlay zone, perhaps with means testing.

      If we insist on a covenant for granny flats to count units as affordable, then why would we not impose the same requirement on other affordable units?

      You can rage against the RHNA numbers, SANDAG, or the state law, but none of that will do any good. Irvine challenged their RHNA numbers in court, and the precedent has been set--courts are not going to help.

      Don't blame the messenger. It is what it is.

    2. "What we are short on is zoning that could conceivably support enough affordable units...." Therein lies yours/the City's problem: because the zoning won't require affordability, the entire endeavor is a sham. Law or no law, the HEU goes down in flames.

      I'll take my chances with the State; with the City of Encinitas, I already know that the deck is stacked.

    3. 1:07, did you read the whole post?

      I basically agreed with you.

    4. If the population projections are off, that is relevant. Also, if there are misassumptions about how much existing affordable units we have, and there is a re-count, then those previously uncounted affordable units should reduce the numbers that SANDAG is "rolling over" on us.

      Jeff Murphy had said that a covenant is not required for a unit to be counted as affordable. He said that at a Council Meeting. These covenants are something the City is forcing on homeowners, which is a disincentive to anyone's coming forward to declare they are IN FACT offering some affordable housing, voluntarily, without having a covenant.

      This is not a "clever trick." The HEU and state law has everything to do with existing stock. Our numbers are set at the level they are because existing stock is purposefully not being fully accounted for.

      SANDAG does not rule us. I feel certain that many of the cities that do have approved housing elements have done everything they could to actually get an accurate count of existing stock, and to make sure SANDAG's population projections are accurate.

      7:20, it seems as though you are being an apologist for those who would profit by exaggerating the scarcity of affordable housing in Encinitas, by simply taking that as a "given."

      The "clever trick" was the way Jeff Murphy and Gus Vina pushed out the amnesty, so that there are no actual incentives. In fact, there are disincentives, like requiring fire sprinklers to be retrofitted on dwelling units that existed long before our local fire code was updated.

    5. 1:19,

      (1.) if the growth numbers are off, then what should they be? Show your work.

      (2.) If the growth numbers are reduced, then we will still have to adopt zoning maps that satisfy affordable housing needs (R30) at the reduced rate. Where would you put those R30 parcels, and would you then support HEU? (I doubt it. I think you throw up red herrings. You want zero growth, and zero affordable units, right? Why not come clean and say that?)

      3.) Re: "Also, if there are misassumptions (sic) about how much (sic) existing affordable units we have, and there is a re-count, then those previously uncounted affordable units should reduce the numbers that SANDAG is "rolling over" on us."

      Okay. I'll bite. prove it. According to the interwebs, there are 482 incorporated cities in CA. Surely, you base your claim on at least one that has succeeded in such a claim.

      (4.). Re: "I feel certain that many of the cities that do have approved housing elements have done everything they could to actually get an accurate count of existing stock, and to make sure SANDAG's population projections are accurate."

      You "feel" certain, or you have certainty, because you have evidence. I feel certain that I would have more confidence in your assertion if it was based on evidence.

      Finally, I am an apologist for no one. Can't we debate and hold opinions without pretending to know the motives of anonymous posters? That's so tired. Just address the points.

    6. The 2010 census was taken during a recession and shows a higher vacancy rate than used in the forecast. Demographic forecasts don't try to predict recessions. They analyze trends and conditions taking into consideration changes that might be occurring that may impact the forecasts.

      Just as the stock market will jump up and down based on good and bad news, the important thing is to watch the trend line. And growth continues in the San Diego region with some of it being in Encinitas.

      Finally, HCD gave SANDAG a number to distribute within its region. All cities and the county worked with SANDAG to arrive at the final RHNA numbers. This wasn't SANDAG arbitrarily deciding who gets what.

  12. Replies
    1. There's a fly in the ointment that the state and SANDAG want to apply to Encinitas. Around 2005, when Council Member Jerome Stocks was working his way up to Chairman of the SANDAG board and becoming buddies with Director Gary Gallegos, he accepted high RHNA numbers because it served his political ambitions. In 2007 it came out that then Planning Director Patrick Murphy helped put the El Camino Real corridor on the SANDAG maps at medium density, that is, 4-7 story zoning.

      When the 2010 census figures came out, they showed that population figures had been overestimated. Instead of 65,000 residents, there were only 59,000. HCD and SANDAG use population figures to calculate housing inventory, even though the census only counts numbers of people, not numbers of structure. There has never been an accurate inventory of housing in Encinitas.

      SANDAG doesn't plan for growth, it pushes growth, neglecting infrastructure that is needed to support growth and quality of life -- water supply, energy supply, sewer facilities, alternate transportation, and clean air. SANDAG is appealing its lawsuit loss about putting all its money into freeways.

      There are increasing protests all over the state, the latest being densification of waterfront property in San Francisco. Planning Director Jeff Murphy said that R-30 upzoning is a "proxy" for affordability. It doesn't guarantee it. Putting restrictive overlays will surely invite lawsuits by the BIA. We already have a taste of this with its lawsuit against the city on changes made in how the Density Bonus law is interpreted.

    2. Patrick Murphy went FURTHER than Jeff Murphy and wrote a two page summary for so-called "stakeholders" during the Ugly Baby role out in 2011. Murphy distributed a 2 page document at a housing meeting that told the developers and affordable housing advocates there WOULD BE no low-income housing, but that they would have a plan for HIGH DESNITY MARKET RATE HOUSING. By the way, no citizens were considered stakeholders or at the meeting unless they could get a cut of the spoils.

      I mention this because they are all pretending now that this is a new threat when it has been the plan since the General Plan Update!

      Furthermore, Teresa Barth, Tony Kranz, and Lisa Shaffer all received a copy of this document in 2012 before the election.

    3. 11:35 AM

      I keep seeing these accusations of Patrick Murphy but no hard evidence (like that is unusual here).

      There appears to be a core of commenters here that are convinced that the only reason for city hall is to manifest developer's wet dreams. To that end every politician and staff person is guilty until proven innocent but, of course, there is no evidence that will ever prove them innocent in their eyes. They are by definition guilty.

      By saying that I don't mean that they shouldn't be open to criticism. They should.

    4. We are not saying that there is a SINGLE cause, but Patrick Murphy hid documents and covered his tracks and protected his staff. There are others who are as dishonest as Murphy who still work in Planning.

      Murphy and Barth advocated for MIG as the contractor even though they were not the low cost bid and had disclosed that they were involved in a lawsuit and alluded to a history of lawsuits in their bid.

      Murphy was paid a six-figure salary and held a position of director-for which apparently he was not qualified since he did not have an advanced degree.

  13. Kranz claims overlays that come with restrictions mean we won't get sued. Not true. Surprised? No, me neither.

    1. Restrictions made for the purpose of hindering development is illegal and will win in court.

      However, since this state mandate is explicitly about affordable housing, I bet affordability covenants are within the spirit and the letter of the law.

      How could a judge rule that we are out of compliance with state affordable housing law because we insist that housing be affordable? Huh?

    2. Correction: ". . . Illegal and CHALLENGES will win . . . "

    3. 12:57 PM

      Affordable housing overlays have been done in a number of cities and counties without legal challenges. This is especially true in the Bay Area where affordable housing advocates have been aggressively suing, and winning, housing element cases. But they are supporting overlays as long as the overlay policies don't inhibit affordable housing projects.

      I guess its easier to just try to sound smart instead of actually taking the time to check it out.

    4. The City should not be forcing affordability covenants on anyone except those developers and property owners who benefit from density bonus projects.

      Because "density is a proxy for affordability," then all single family residential lots have the zoning potential for affordable accessory dwelling units. These units do not have to be built and do not have to have covenants placed on them to be counted.

      COUNTING the POTENTIAL for affordable units through Encinitas' "by-right" accessory dwelling unit law, enacted in 1993, will not change our already existing community character. It will not change all development in single family zones into "duplexes" as irresponsibly suggested by one outgoing Planning Commissioner at the Thursday Special PC and CC housing element update meeting. These scare tactics are part of a bag of tricks to frighten the public into voting for a disingenuous HEU.

      Exaggeration and hyperbole won't work. Thank goodness for the Prop A people, who are informed, determined, and who can see through the smoke and mirrors, helping to guide the electorate to the truth.

    5. 1:37,

      You criticize the HEU because it doesn't assure affordable housing in practice.

      When someone suggests overlay zones that assure affordability, you criticize covenants.

      Do you have any solutions, other than "no?"

    6. It's funny that so many people believe accessory units to be our panacea. I know owners of unapproved accessory units that have no intention of ever making them legal and therefore would never count toward out RHNA numbers ever. And how many more people like that are out there? I can see someone building an accessory unit for a relative or student but how many people want to be an actual landlord? How many people want to have that unit constrained by a covenant?

      I also never hear commenters here say "I" want to build an affordable accessory unit on my property. It's always the other guy.

      The Prop A people distorted what happened in the past and played on people's fears of what might happen going forward.

      Finally, a block full of single family houses all with accessory units rented to families definitely would have a different character.

    7. I meant "count toward our RHNA numbers". Damn those typos.

    8. So a homeowner wanting an accessory unit has to have a low-income covenant for it to be counted, but a developer building a 30-unit-per-acre luxury condo project doesn't?

    9. EU,

      Correct. Unless the city establishes the requirement as a condition of the overlay zone.

      As I understand it, the state assumes R30 will be affordable, because the cost of land per unit will be lower. But Trump Tower probably has at least 30 units per acre.

      Personally, I'm in favor of the covenant-overlay to get real affordable housing.


    10. A: have you seen the overlay restrictions that will guarantee affordable housing? I haven't, either. City oddly quiet on just what will be required of developers.

    11. 6:46, Long way to go yet. I agree this needs watching. It's going to be interesting though. There is a zero growth, fight the state voting bloc. Many of them have been using affordability as a fig leaf to hide their extreme position. It will be interesting to see them scurry away from affordability to other issues when overlay restrictions emerge.

      Watch, Ii'll prove it.

      Anyone here reading this who has criticized the lack of true affordable housing in the R30 proxy, a challenge: if the city imposes restrictions on overlay zones that assure true affordability, will you then support the R30 overlays?

    12. 7:10 AM
      Encinitas is built out. What part of that don't you understand? There is no extreme position. You want to live in a crowded high density area - go to LA.
      There is no true affordable housing in the proposed R30 zone.
      And, stop calling this housing affordable. Your children will not be allowed to rent these apartments unless they qualify as very low or low income. Tony Kranz and Lisa Shaffer want their children to live in these apartments. Planning Commission O'Grady wants the overlay restrictions so he can live in the apartments but he wants the apartments for moderate income.
      The truth is that the apartments will be restricted to very low and low income which is income for a family of four from a high of $39,450 to $63,100. The families must meet other restrictions. For Planning Commission O'Grady moderate income would be from $45,800-$61,100 for a family size of one.
      Has Encinitas met its requirements for moderate income housing?
      Probably. City planning is only concerned with the very low and low income. That multi-family housing can only be built with restrictions on the renters. Go to the city website and check out the paperwork that low income renters must fill out to be eligible to rent the low income housing.
      The overlay zone is not assuring true affordability. That would be in a free market.
      Restrictions don't assure affordability.
      Stack and pack overcrowding isn't good for any resident.

    13. 2:11, I never said no to an overlay. But proposing an "affordability" overlay which will apply to developers/property owners who build at the higher density as a "proxy" for affordability does not address the questions I raised (at 1:57) about the lack of an accurate count of existing affordable housing, and existing POTENTIAL, through our current zoning, for affordable accessory dwelling units.

      The City could be pushing creative ways to challenge the numbers handed down to us through SANDAG, while Jerome Stocks was on board. We all know he was pro-density, pro development.

      Until there is an accurate accounting for POTENTIAL affordable units, and existing affordable units, not just accessory dwelling units, I intend to vote no on any housing element update, and I'm very grateful to the Prop A people whose initiative guarantees us a vote. Council didn't want Prop A to pass. Sadly, we can't trust Council and staff on this issue, until they establish an accurate count of our current population, adjusted for the errors made by the City and SANDAG through Stocks, and an accurate count of existing affordable units throughout the City, as well as existing potential for affordable units in residential zones here in Encinitas.

      I am being consistent, here. Until the underlying assumptions for the amount of affordability we have, and the potential affordability, which HASN'T BEEN ACCURATELY COUNTED, are analyzed and addressed to the public, then there is no reason to push through higher density, including higher density with overlays, at the expense of our infrastructure, lack of water, deteriorating roads, increasing traffic congestion, at the great expense of the decline of quality of life and community character in our pre-existing neighborhoods.

      Marco, we aren't trying to keep low income people out, or Mexicans out, as you wrongfully alleged. We're trying to get the City and the powers that be to count the true number of residences that are already providing housing for low income residents, as well as the true potential for affordability through our existing zoning, which allows for (more affordable) accessory dwelling units in all residential zones, without forcing covenants on anyone. There should not be an assumption that existing accessory dwelling units are "illegal." One accessory unit is allowed by right on each residential lot. By right entitlements do not require separate permits. If the units were built before the City incorporated, they are already legal, through the County. This is about documenting POTENTIAL affordability, not coercing people to "legalize" by putting restrictive covenants on them.

      I don't think the Prop A people "distorted what happened in the past." Upon what are you basing that statement? To the majority of the voters, it was Rutan and Tucker, Council, the City Attorney, staff, it was the City, the Mainstreet Associations, the EPA, and other development interests, usually City subsidized, who distorted the potential consequences of Prop A.

    14. Just as density bonus requires a developer to provide a certain number of affordable units (no in lieu fees) in return for building at a higher density, an affordable housing overlay zone would require a certain number of affordable units to be included to be able to develop at the higher density. And it doesn't have to be a single option situation.

      The default zoning could be R-15 at 15 units per acre. The overlay zone might have two options, R-25 (25 units/acre) if 25% are affordable and R-30 (30 units/acre) if 50% are affordable. Don't hold me to these numbers as they are for illustration only. The percent of required affordable units may need to be higher. I don't have time to run the numbers.

    15. "The City could be pushing creative ways to challenge the numbers . . . "

      Have you considered that the numbers are a zero sum game? SANDAG has requirements at the regional level. For Encinitas to seek relief from all or a portion of our responsibility, another city or cities would have to absorb the adjustment. Since all the other cities in SANDAG have already passed their HEU and met their obligations, what makes you think they will agree to reopen that can of worms to redo HEU with a higher number of affordable units? Assuming that housing allocation could be traded, what incentives do you propose we offer for other cities to reopen their zoning maps to add some of our affordable unit share?

      Be specific.

    16. 1:21 PM

      To piggyback on your comment, who would we trade with? My guess is that if it were possible to trade it would have to be with surrounding cities. Del Mar? Solana Beach? Rancho Santa Fe (county)? Carlsbad would be the only logical city to trade with but I doubt they would have a sympathetic ear. Anyway, that ship has sailed.

    17. 11:49 AM

      The Prop A people I talked with made it sound like there were abuses in the past by council. There weren't. There were only few rezonings over the years and none of them were big deals. They were either to correct a mistake in the original or fit the surroundings. Their pitched was couched as "since the council abused the 4 fifths vote in the past we can't trust them now".

      Whether you think putting things to a vote for any change, major or minor, is a good idea in its own right is one thing. Selling it as protection from a wanton city council is another.

    18. 1:05 PM
      Planning Commissioner O'Grady likes the Poway housing element housing overlay zone for moderate housing for himself. Have you read Poway's housing element?

      Please stop using the scam word affordable. These apartments are restricted to a certain level of income.

      Do you mean that a developer can build 25 apartments (R-25) on an R-15 lot if 25% are restricted to low income? That would be 6 restricted apartments. Without the low income housing overlay the developer could build 15 market rate apartments. With the overlay the developer could build 25 apartments but 6 would have to be restricted. On top of that the council wants these apartments as mixed-use. HCD would only count half of the 6 as meeting the RHNA. More crowding, density and a big help for the developers for market rate apartments.

    19. 2:13 PM

      Sheesh. As I said, don't hold me to numbers as it was only an example and I was doing it off the top of my head. The point of the example was to show how multiple options for an overlay might work not the actual percentages. That needs to analyzed.

      Speaking of Poway, don't they have a certified adopted housing element?

    20. 2:13 PM

      Yes, Poway does have a letter from HCD that said that the housing element was in compliance with state law. That means that Poway filled in all the required blanks on the checklist.

      Poway's housing element also provides this information -

      "In November 1988, the voters of Poway adopted an initiative (Proposition FF) that requires a vote of the people before lands in the rural residential, open space, and planned community
      categories can be re-designated to a denser category or before any changes can be made to slope or other criteria that would result in the allowance of greater density. Proposition FF was
      enacted by the City Council as Ordinance 283. The Ordinance affects the City Council's ability to rezone land to densities that are compatible with the development of affordable housing or to
      attach the Affordable Housing (AH) overlay to parcels in these categories."

      Poway also "relaxed" their parking standards in the housing overlay zone citing this example -
      "For example, the Solara development, built in 2007, was
      approved with a 30 percent reduction in parking. Without this reduction, the 56-unit project for low and very low income households would have required 130 parking spaces, but the project was approved with a 90-space requirement."

      Of course you do know that Poway is using density bonus regulations for the "affordable" housing overlay zone.
      Or, as it is written in Poway's housing element -
      "Affordable Housing Overlay Zone (AHOZ): To provide adequate sites for affordable housing development and to ensure that any increased densities allowed are used for the provision of
      affordable housing, an Affordable Housing Overlay Zone (AHOZ) was established in the Zoning Code for Low Income (AH-L) and Moderate Income (AH-M) households. This included providing flexible development standards that will allow the densities up to 30 dwelling units per acre. Placement of an AHOZ designation was completed in 2012 on six (6) publicly-owned sites. An AHOZ may be applied to property within any land use category, including nonresidential categories, but not including the Open Space or Rural Residential categories.
      Additionally, AHOZ development standards allow for development concessions consistent with density bonus regulations."

      Then the Poway housing element list of very low and low income properties for up zoning has 28 listed properties which includes parcels from the previous housing update cycle.
      As stated in the Poway housing element -
      "The new Residential Sites Inventory for Very Low, Low and Moderate Income households identifies the individual properties and includes other parcel information for each property. Of the
      28 parcels identified in the inventory, ten (10) of the properties were included in the previous Housing Element Update cycle. Five of those ten are privately-owned and are split among three
      ownerships. The inventory includes 18 new properties, of which 12 parcels are privately owned; however, the 12 parcels are split among only five ownerships. All of the sites in the inventory are
      proposed to have an Affordable Housing Overlay Zone (AHOZ) applied on them. Six (6) of the sites already have an AHOZ."

      Then there is that very long list of possible moderate income housing parcels in the Poway housing element update. Planning Commissioner O'Grady wants a list of moderate housing parcels in the Encinitas housing element for his current or future place of residency.

    21. See 6:55 PM below

  14. 12:57 - and overlays overlays have had legal challenges. Given the opportunity to sue, do you really think the BIA will sit silent?

    1. I know-let's ask Marco if the BIA will remain silent.

    2. Let them sue. Doesn't matter. They won't win.

    3. No matter whether developers think building affordable units is highly profitable, an overlay zone merely sets either a different set of rules for development or an additional set of rules on the base zoning. In the latter case an example in Encinitas is the hillside overlay which adds restrictions to development on parcels with natural slopes on them. An affordable housing overlay is an example of the former where there is a default zoning and an optional overlay zone with different requirements and incentives.

      A developer can choose to develop the property at the original zoning density or decide to meet the overlay requirements to build at the higher density with affordable units included. The one requirement the city has to do is make sure the policies and requirements in the affordable housing overlay are conducive to the affordable housing option and don't actually frustrate it.

    4. Will the City put the restrictions in stone, will they be significant, and can the Council alone undo them? All good questions to ask before, not after, the 2016 vote.

      Will Sabine and the Council guarantee that we will not be sued? Will they cite case law to support their assertion that we cannot be sued or that even if the BIA tries one of their nuisance suits, we would prevail?

      All good questions to have answers to before the 2016 vote and the ballot statement had better include the details.

    5. How can the city attorney guarantee that the city won't be sued? Cities get sued for all kinds of reasons but they often prevail. The city attorney can indicate whether ordinances follow the law including recent judicial decisions. Any requirements in the ordinances should be clear and practical otherwise they may not hold up in court.

      Any subsequent change to the affordable housing overlay policies, which I assume you are referring to, runs the risk of frustrating those policies adopted in the housing element which would then invalidate the housing element and general plan. The city must report yearly their progress on implementing the housing element.

    6. So 10:46, sounds like you're saying that the miracle overlay won't do anything for affordable housing, despite Council promises, promises? Tony's running around with "overlay is the answer" practically painted on his car.

      All five are acting like overlays will save the day, yet....?
      The city attorney cannot guarant

    7. 6:18 PM

      There is no miacle anything. I'm surprised you even think that. There are solutions better than others but there is no silver bullet. Perhaps you'd rather go with R-30 base zoning and if any affordable housing comes out of that then we lucked out. Of course if all that gets developed is R-30 density at market rate then we're back where we started and have to zone more high density. It will be a vicious circle.

      But some people here appear to be against anything that isn't perfect. Guaranteed to solve all our problems.

      Let's take a look at where we stand.

      There are some who think this is all a farce and basically want to do nothing with the attitude of the hell with it, sue us.

      Then there are those who think secondary/accessory units are the answer but nobody seems to be stepping forward to either bring their unit up to code and convenant it for affordability or volunteer to build such a unit on their property. Maybe we should send code enforcement out house-to-house to ferret out all the undocumented secondary units. That should make a lot of people happy.

      Then there are those who criticize various solutions but don't seem to have any viable alternative solutions. I guess it's easier to lay back and take pot shots.

      So what is the collective wisdom moving forward?

    8. 5:09 PM

      I'm sure you know that Poway is only one of a number of cities that use an affordable housing overlay zone to fulfill their housing element RHNA requirements and they all don't work the same. Poway had a redevelopment agency which owned a number of parcels, four of which are included in the AHOZ. The other two are owned by the city outright. Encinitas doesn't have the same circumstances and will probably implement different overlay requirements if they decide to do so. They may use a different city's template or create something wholly new. The key is to get it approved by HCD.

    9. Government Code which references density bonus law does not require in lieu development fees. But the City of Encinitas does. When projects of a certain size are built, or perhaps any size, not sure, the developers must either provide actual affordable housing, or pay into a fund the City administers, for "in lieu" development fees. This is in addition to, not instead of any density bonus requirements, where actual affordable residences are required.

      With respect to the former comment, "be specific," it's not an individual citizen's job to be specific, and to dig up all the related facts. What we know is that Encinitas was incorporated to slow growth. The City is pushing for more growth to maximize income from development fees, property taxes and sales taxes.

      We incorporated, through a public vote, to gain more local control, take back some power from the County, which has also been pro-development, at the cost of pre-existing residents, at the cost of maintaining our infrastructure and quality of life. Now the City is attempting to manipulate us through fear of law suits, and the threat of a judge taking control of our zoning, to bow down to the regional authority of SANDAG, and the State.

      Other cities which already have a certified housing element would not have to "take up the slack" if Encinitas residents insist on an accurate count of existing affordable housing units, and existing potential for affordable housing. There are many ways we, as a city, can assert our own ability to question authority. The numbers we are being pressured to adhere to are inaccurate.

      Again, thank goodness for the Prop A people. Thanks to Prop A, we will be able to vote, and the voters can decide. We can decide if we want to buy into fear tactics and manipulation of public perception through a well-funded marketing strategy to convince us to vote to upzone throughout the City, when that is not what most people have expressed we desire.

    10. Most people don't want to declare an expensive and futile legal war on Sacremento.

      "Simply stated, a land use preemption is the legal authority of a higher level of government to supersede or displace a subordinate local government's land use regulation through statutory means, case law precedent, or other preemptive authority, such as a regulation."

    11. 2:53 PM

      You're not helping your cause when you confuse the Inclusionary requirements which are under Title 24 Subdivisions section of the Municipal code 24.21 Dedication: Affordable Housing Assistance with Density Bonus. The city's density bonus code is out of date so the city follows the state statute which doesn't provide for in lieu fees. The city's inclusionary ordinance 24.21 does allow in lieu fees and developers frequently choose that option although the last time council approved in lieu fees they were at a lot higher amount than previously.

      So yes, I do want you to be more specific so we can see if you know what you're talking about.

      So on the one hand people complain about the city attorney not doing a good job but on the other hand if he warns us about potential lawsuits if we continue without a certified housing element, those are just scare tactics? And a judge disqualifying a local initiative and directing a city to produce a certified housing element while suspending the city's land use authority isn't theoretical. It's already happened.

      By the way, do you have an accessory unit that hasn't been permitted? If so, are you going to do so and agree to a 25 year affordability covenant? If not, are you going to build one?

    12. 2:53 didn't confuse the in-lieu affordability fees with the density bonus requirements for new build affordable units.

  15. 6:55 PM
    Very astute of you. The key is to get the housing element approved and not a housing overlay zone which in essence is spot zoning.
    No housing overlay zone and no mixed-use in the housing element. The council should be working towards that goal. Instead, Murphy and Ranu come back with mixed-use on every busy corner in Encinitas.
    Poway's RHNA for very low and low income housing was 353. Encinitas' RHNA for the same housing income was 1,033. SANDAG was out to get Encinitas.

    1. SANDAG was not out to get Encinitas. All the cities and county worked with SANDAG to arrive at the numbers. There was more than one scenario developed to distribute the numbers with the ultimate one approved by everyone (although I don't know if the vote was unanimous).

      An overlay, if done correctly, isn't spot zoning but in certain situations it does come awfully close. So far no one has challenged it. Encinitas won't get HCD certification without some rezoning and an affordable housing overlay, while not perfect, appears to be the best solution. Don't forget the Encinitas number includes the previous RHNA cycle.

    2. 7:36 PM
      Yes, SANDAG was out to get Encinitas. Check your file. You will find information that shows planning objected when the RHNA allocation method was changed. Actually, planning must make an analysis on why the overlay wouldn't work in Encinitas. Murphy and Ranu won't do that.
      Simple solution - Murphy and Ranu should find work in another city with a council that won't question them.

    3. 8:46 PM

      Just because Encinitas objected to a certain methodology doesn't mean SANDAG was out to get us. Other cities wanted to use a different methodology as well. The methodology that was adopted got the most votes.

      Do I consider the adopted methodology the best one? I don't know off the top of my head. I'd have to go back and review the various options and I don't have the time.

      But whichever methodology is used, Encinitas would still be required to provide a number of adequate locations for low and very low income housing which means rezoning.

      So is this yet another argument against the housing element update? We be for it if they only made us take our "fair share".

    4. "Adequate locations...for rezoning" to produce market-rate sham affordable housing will go down in flames at the polls. City needs to sell us a real plan that does what they claim we're doing all this for.

    5. O wise person pray tell us what that "real plan" should look like. No shams please.

  16. Why did Rancho Summit LLC, a subsidiary of Lennar Homes, buy the Wine Steals building? Mixed-use?

  17. Quick council. Raise your hand if Murphy and Ranu have been updating you on the new Lennar housing development out by Fortuna Ranch Road. The subdivision is 112.36 acres. The Lennar subdivision will have an 8 foot wide recreation trail that will connect with the existing City of Encinitas recreational trail system. Will the city of Encinitas annex this new subdivision?

    1. Why would they?

      Is it all private roads, water, and Sewer and do they have their own fire department?

      Otherwise - Hell No.

  18. Quick thought on accessory units, and Bob Bonde's suggestion that our accessory unit by right should be proposed as already meeting future needs for affordable housing.

    I think Bob estimated 1000 such units already exist (although he readily admitted that figure was a guess). For purposes of argument, let's assume Bob's estimate is correct. Further, let's assume that 100% of these units could be discovered, and that 100%!of them can be proved to the satisfaction of HCD to be affordable.

    Let's also assume that 100% of those units were created after Incorporation in 1986. I know this isn't so, but it is the most generous assumption possible in the thought experiment that follows.

    The state tends to look at historical track record where possible to test affordable housing proposals to determine if they are likely to result in the realization of built units.

    So here's our best case scenario track record:

    If 1000 units have been created in the 29 years since incorporation, then under the most generous assumptions possible, we are creating affordable accessory units at a rate of 34 per year.

    The current HEU cycle is for the eight-year period 2013-2021. So under the most generous assumptions, our current "by right" accessory unit policy can be expected to produce 272 affordable units during the current eight-year planning cycle.

    That's only 21% of the 1,282 units we need.

    Every unit counts, but with more realistic assumptions, I think it's unlikely that the accessory units will play a major role in our ability to cornfirm to state housing law.

    1. The housing element is about NEW units only.

    2. 7:52, true. Or units that have a new affordable covenant placed on them.

      My point was, even if we make far fetched assumptions, including 100% affordability (via covenant), it still doesn't do much for us.

  19. 6:44 - I don't think the overlay is a silver bullet, the freaking council does, with Tony and developer lovin' O'Grady leading the pack.

    1. 5:42 PM

      So what is the silver bullet? Accessory units? Here is an excerpt from the actual Housing Element statute Government Code:


      "(a)  The Department of Housing and Community Development, in evaluating a proposed or adopted housing element for substantial compliance with this article, may allow a city or county to identify adequate sites, as required pursuant to Section 65583, by a variety of methods, including, but not limited to, redesignation of property to a more intense land use category and increasing the density allowed within one or more categories. The department may also allow a city or county to identify sites for second units based on the number of second units developed in the prior housing element planning period whether or not the units are permitted by right, the need for these units in the community, the resources or incentives available for their development, and any other relevant factors, as determined by the department. Nothing in this section reduces the responsibility of a city or county to identify, by income category, the total number of sites for residential development as required by this article."

      The statute explicitly states "identify sites for second units based on the number of second units developed in the prior housing element planning period". So all the city can do is use the very low number of permitted second units developed or permitted in the past few years (previous RHNA cycle) as an estimate for this cycle.

      Bonde can find all the accessory units he wants and it's not going to matter this go round.

      So what freaking do you propose to do?

    2. Continue to say "No" until the City freaking figures out how to guarantee affordability, not check a freaking box on the State's list of "mandates."

  20. 10:33 AM

    So what you're saying is you have no freaking idea what to do. What does the council have to do to guarantee affordability? Buy the properties? Change the properties base zoning to a higher density but only for affordable units that have to be sold/rented no higher than the low income limits? No affordable units, no development.

    If you're so sure what won't work then you should have an idea what will.

    Let's hear your solution.