Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ugly Baby is back!

When the city paid out-of-town consultants MIG more than $1 million to run a series of workshops and create a high-density development plan, the result was so widely reviled that former mayor Jerome Stocks famously called it an "ugly baby" and the entire plan was scrapped.

Until now, apparently.

From the Inbox:
The Council meeting this Wed. will have new information that wasn't revealed by Jeff Murphy.

1. The housing element draft contains much of the rejected MIG housing element update material.

2. The old MIG sites inventory is now part of the housing element draft that will be included in the packet going to HCD.

Here is the link:


Jeff Murphy, Manjeet Ranu, and Mike Strong provide no reason why they have included the old MIG work.


  1. Murphy went rogue some time ago and no Council intervention yet.

    Funny how he incorporated the discarded MIG plan, yet won't have time to go over the resident plans. He's already made noises about not having time to review what the residents submit before he sends our maps up to HCD?..not that that's a surprise.

  2. The Bonde plan is a non-plan!

    1. The City's plan is not very good for the community, Bonde's plan might be better for us. Why do you call it a "non-plan"?

    2. The Bonde plan relies on a lot of analysis saying all the extra units and affordable housing pretty much already exist, and then suggest that city owned land may be used for additional housing. I call it a non-plan since it does not come with a map showing parcels being zoned differently to accommodate the full housing mandates (for both increased housing and affordable housing). Perhaps it's unfair to call it a "non-plan", but it does seem to be a plan that changes the rules vs. responding to the rules as stated.

    3. 12:04 PM
      You are confused about the up zoning for the RHNA numbers. Encinitas has "met" its moderate and above moderate income housing numbers in construction. The up zoning concerns the HCD's idea that more density will bring in more apartments and ergo, more low income housing. The low income housing is the "affordable housing" described by Murphy, Ranu, and Strong.

      Renters of affordable, low income units can earn no more than $47,500 for a family of four (60% of income) to qualify for the apartment lottery list.

      Murphy and his staff have lied to the residents of Encinitas.

    4. ". . . HCD's idea that more density will bring in more apartments and ergo, more low income housing."

      HCD's idea, or State housing law?

    5. It's unfortunate that the strange bedfellows of developers and low income housing advocates created this equation of high density with affordability, but it is the law.

      Recalculating what we have today does not address the RHNA targets, which are about accomodating future growth. Many of us don't like that concept, but that is how the law is written.

      The most fundamental choice we have to make as a community is this: is the future of Encinitas brighter with compliance or non-compliance? If we decide to comply with state law, that means maps, R30, and a voter-approved HEU that accommodates growth projections. Alternately, we can decide that the increased traffic and development is so onerous that we are willing to risk the unknown legal, financial, and political consequences of non-compliance.

      The law is usually pretty clear. Usually, there isn't much room to be creative with plans that create the appearance of compliance without the substance and consequences of accepting a growth plan. If we are honest, that's what Bob's plan (and others) boil down to--window dressing.

      It's time to get honest with your neighbors about a black and white decision.

    6. Please see 1:34's comment below.

      Local governments must EITHER provide an analysis demonstrating... OR use "default density standards."

      It may be the case the the first option is impossible or otherwise not as attractive as the second option, but nobody has made that case to the public yet.

    7. Good point. My understanding is that the analysis is only useful in inland counties that can show a track record of actual affordable unit creation on larger lots. Example, high desert communities have very low cost of land, so the lot cost is not an inhibitor to affordable home construction. It would be absurd to require R30 in Needles to qualify for affordable housing. Generally, the closer you get to the coast, the less viable that analysis becomes. On the coast, forget it.

      But I could be wrong. Always open to new information.

    8. Our city has taken grant money to actually DO an analysis of our housing needs, and while they kept the money, they have not been able to produce any valid results that explains how they used data to reach their conclusions. This is all made up by the planners and consultants based on opinion. Goverment agencies should get grant money back, and Encinitas Planning should never be allowed any more grant funds since they wasted it with no valid results to show for the money that was provided.

    9. The analysis referenced above isn't to determine our housing needs. Our housing growth requirements are established by population growth estimates which are approtioned to regional planning agencies by the State. The regional agencies, in our case SANDAG then apportion a share to municipalities and unincorporated areas. The allocation is segmented into income groups.

      The analysis refered to above is very specific. It attempts to prove a case that the default densities are not required to achieve the growth targets for all income groups in a given city. For such a case to be approved by the state it must rely on documented historical examples and actual achieved run rates of affordable unit creation. Example: if Encinitas were able to document all residential development of R8 zoned property over the last 20 years, and we could prove that 50% of that construction fit the definition of affordable to the lowest income group; and if we could calculate the long term average annual unit production of affordable units from that analysis; and if we could demonstrate that we still have enough undeveloped R8 land to project that run rate forward for the 8-year housing cycle; and we could show that the projected run rate of affordable unit construction would satisfy our allocation of affordable growth units from SANDAG--THEN, we could avoid using the alternate track, which requires R30. It's a little more complicated than that, because the slope of the historical run rate can be bent by adding more acreage at certain zoning densities, or by adding incentives or policy changes to encourage more affordable unit production.

      The problem is, in Encinitas, given our cost of land and our run rate of affordable unit production, and our dwindling supply of undeveloped land--that analysis just doesn't work.

      It might work in Hesperia or Barstow, but not here. Not even close. I'll bet anyone a shiny new nickel that not one city that touches the ocean has even attempted to use the analysis, much less succeeded.

    10. 5:12 PM
      You have a fixation about the desert. If and that is a big if, Encinitas had a competent planning director with his sidekick an incompetent deputy director, that analysis would have been finished and waiting for the City Council to read.
      Instead, he offers on Wednesday an incomplete plagiarized voluminous tome he labels a housing element draft.
      5:12 PM
      Stop belaboring the analysis. Do the analysis.

    11. 7:20,

      I would be willing to take an unpaid leave from work for a few months to do the analysis if I thought it had a snowball's chance of success. It would be my honor and privledge to make such a contribution .

      Unfortunately, the data simply do not support the argument that our natural run rate of affordable unit construction under existing zoning will create enough affordable units to satisfy the RHNA targets. Maybe there is someone reading this who is smarter and more talented and can make that analysis work. I'd happily buy them a frosty beverage and shake their hand.

  3. 12:56 PM
    HCD's idea. HCD pushes local governments to up zone to the max which is not required.
    Even HCD has a memo on the use of the default densities.
    "Background Information: Pursuant to Government Code Section 65583.2(c)(3), the housing element must include analysis of identified sites which must demonstrate density standards to accommodate a jurisdiction’s regional need for all income levels, including lower-income households.
    To meet this statutory requirement, local governments should provide an analysis demonstrating how adopted densities accommodate the regional housing need for lower income households. The analysis shall include, but is not limited to, factors such as market demand, financial feasibility, or information based on development project experience within a zone or zones that provide housing for lower income households.
    As an option and alternative to preparing the analysis described above, Government Code Section 65583.2(c)(3)(B) allows local governments to elect the option of utilizing “default” density standards that are “deemed appropriate to accommodate housing for lower income households.” The default density option is not a mandated density. The default density standard provides a streamlined option for local governments to meet the density requirement. No analysis to establish the appropriateness of the default density is required and the Department must accept that density as appropriate in its review."
    Notice that the default density (in San Diego county 30 units per acre) isn't a mandatory density.

  4. Thank you for that comment, 1:34. So it appears that staff, and through Planning, the City is taking what it must feel is the easy way out. It is pushing the "default density" as a proxy for affordable housing, which is allowed, but NOT MANDATORY.

    Council should be informed of this differentiation, so that instead of using the "default density" affordability proxy, staff can be instructed to "provide an analysis demonstrating how adopted densities accommodate the regional housing need for lower income households. The analysis shall include, but is not limited to, factors such as market demand, financial feasibility, or information based on development project experience within a zone or zones that provide housing for lower income households."

    It is disingenuous, a form of lying by omission, for the Director of Planning to constantly push, and to market to the citizens through Peak Democracy, before, through community meetings, and through material put out by the Communications Specialist, trying to persuade the pubic that if we don't upzone citywide, we will all be law breakers, and we will be sued.

    I never recall Jeff Murphy saying anything to Council regarding an analysis of identified sites, which includes market demand, financial feasibility, etc. There was some progress made when Council, including Barth, did vote that developers must show financial need for the density bonus allowances requested.

    Another example when the City does not require financial analysis is through the Facade Grant program, where businesses are directly subsidized for improvements to their property, at taxpayer expense, without the business owners' showing any financial need for the subsidization. Because a development needs physical improvements does not mean the City should subsidize those improvements, especially without providing similar subsidies for homeowners who are considering making improvements, or who are going through an expensive permitting process for a remodel.

    There is a pattern in this City of favoring, and subsidizing business interests over the interests of individual residents and private homeowners. We support our local businesses, and a thriving business community, but not favoritism based on political affiliations.

    Council should be well aware that many more fees come in through residential property taxes than business sales taxes, although sales taxes have increased with the number of alcohol serving establishments on the rise.

    1. 1:59-Excellent post and excellent points. I know that members of DEMA can ask for grants from the City to improve their facade. COast Law Group got $3000.00 in either 2012-2013 or 2014 to have some of their face life on the outside down. Cannot remember the exact year but it happened to be in a CPRA request I had asked for.

  5. "Ugly baby"? Did $tock$ borrow Stewie's time machine ?