Friday, January 31, 2020

Scott Wiener's AB 50 stalls again

Desert Sun:
California’s controversial housing bill, which would have required cities and counties to change local zoning laws to allow for new, denser housing near job centers and public transportation, died in the state Senate Thursday morning, four votes shy of the support needed to advance the legislation to the Assembly.

The measure has deeply divided stakeholders for more than a year, and lively debate on the Senate floor before an initial vote was taken on Wednesday stretched to two hours. The bill was narrowly defeated 18-15 on Wednesday afternoon, with six senators declining to vote, including Republican leader Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, who was in Washington, D.C. It was re-introduced Thursday morning in a final effort to get the bill through before the Jan. 31 deadline, but still failed.
I haven't looked into the local implementation details, but it sounds like the bill would allow at least four-story buildings near the downtown 101 transit hub. Perhaps higher than four stories, and perhaps further along transportation corridors.

HT: Bubbleinfo.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

1/29/20 City Council meeting open thread

Special meeting tonight on the Pacific View debacle, held at the Senior Center.

Please use the comments to record your observations.

Monday, January 27, 2020

City feud with Surfing Madonna puts future events at risk


We know many of you have been emailing us and wondering why the Surfing Madonna Beach Run registration isn’t open yet for 2020. We have kept quiet about it with respect to our City Council, however, we can no longer remain silent.

The problem stemmed from us catching the city on a “clerical error” last October that led to Surfing Madonna getting over billed on our lifeguard fees by thousands of dollars. We tried multiple times to get the fees resolved, but to no avail. We asked the City of Encinitas Parks & Recreation Dept to remove our events (Surfing Madonna Beach Run & Encinitas Half Marathon) from the city events calendar, if the lifeguard fees couldn’t be corrected. Through a public records request and a letter from a lawyer, the fees were then corrected and we received an apology letter, but now we are no longer approved for future events.

Our last event could be the upcoming Encinitas Half Marathon & 5K on March 29th. Jennifer Campbell (Parks Director) said they have new policies and procedures for special events that will be put in place, however, these new policies could end the Surfing Madonna Events and nonprofit. They will not share any details with us.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Arts group still in way over its head on Pacific View

Back in 2014, the City Council, led by Tony Kranz, borrowed $10 million in high-cost taxable bonds to buy the abandoned Pacific View elementary school. Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer offered a vision of a thriving arts center despite most arts uses being expressly prohibited by the zoning.

Nevertheless, a new vastly underfunded but panglossian arts group was hastily formed to receive the taxpayer largess and promised to turn the dilapidated buildings into something of use.

Six years and millions of taxpayer dollars later...

On this week's council agenda.
EACEA [Encinitas Arts, Culture and Ecology Alliance] did not ask to extend the ROEL [Right of Entry and License Agreement] and it expired on December 19, 2019.


In order to use the current buildings, they would need to be improved to make them safe and clean for public use. In September 2015, a Preliminary Design Report was completed by Westberg+White for the rehabilitation of the Pacific View site. The design report provided three options with estimated costs. The cost estimate at that time to restore the Pacific View school buildings and site ranged from $3.9 million to $4.4 million.
More history of the Pacific View fiasco can be found in the Encinitas Undercover archives.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

1/22/20 City Council meeting open thread

Big homeless parking lot meeting tonight! Both sides will be out in force.

Please use the comments to record your observations.

UPDATE: Cardiff activist Julie Thunder announces run for mayor.

Blakespear fears violence from her Encinitas constituents

Voice of San Diego:

Neither Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear nor any of the four Council members who voted in favor of the Safe Parking Program in November attended the forum, nor did anyone from Jewish Family Service. Blakespear told VOSD in an email she was advised by the sheriff not to go to a different community meeting Tuesday about the safe parking lot for her own safety.
Even at the height of "Dump Stocks" anger, I don't remember Jerome Stocks ever hiding from the public.

HT: Jim the Realtor

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

We're #23!

... on WalletHub's best places to raise a family in California.

Not quite as good as Poway, but much better than Carlsbad.

We score high on "affordability" not because housing or the cost of living is cheap, but because we're all rich!

HT: Jim the Realtor.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Surfing Madonna charity criticized for executive pay

U-T Watchdog:
According to the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project most recent federal tax filing, nearly one-third of the charity’s proceeds in 2018 were paid to board Chairman Robert Nichols and his wife, Megan McCarthy, who serves as the board secretary.

The tax-exempt organization reported income of $676,986 in 2018 , a decline of more than $77,000 from what it collected in 2017.

Meanwhile, Nichols’ salary climbed by more than $27,000, to a total of $112,249, a 31 percent raise. McCarthy, a friend and coworker who married Nichols in 2017, in 2018 received a 34 percent pay raise for a salary of $97,700.

Combined, the husband-and-wife nonprofit leaders took home 31 percent of the charity’s revenue for the year.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Homeless forum at library tonight

It should be quite a rumble as both advocates and opponents of the Leichtag homeless parking lot are aggressively trying to turn out their partisans.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Goodson 277 Gone for Good?

Developer Randy Goodson's 277-unit, 69' tall density bonus plan has been withdrawn.  Considering his original "by right" assertions, what are the odds this plan is really gone for good?


From: Anna Colamussi <>
Date: January 2, 2020 at 10:52:35 PST
To: Anna Colamussi <>
Cc: Roy Sapau <>, Maria Gremban <>
Subject: Encinitas Boulevard Apartments
Good Morning Blind Copied Interested Parties,

You are receiving this email because you expressed interest in the Encinitas Boulevard Apartments project (MULTI-003427-2019) proposed by Goodson/Gaffney located at Encinitas Boulevard and Rancho Santa Fe Road.

The applicant requested to withdraw the application on December 27, 2019. The project is no longer active.

Thank you,
Anna Colamussi

ANNA COLAMUSSI, Principal Planner
(760)633-2724 Direct Line
(760)633-2710 Planning Main Line
505 S. Vulcan Avenue
Encinitas, CA 92024

Correpondents should be aware that all communications to and from this address are subject to public disclosure and may be reviewed by third parties.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Leichtag has long planned to get around "agricultural in perpetuity" zoning

This is making the rounds in the fight over the Leichtag Foundation's plan to get zoning changes to allow a parking lot for homeless families.

In 2018, the Urban Land Institute prepared a report for Leichtag on Leichtag's history and future development opportunities:
In 1994, the Ecke’s got approval to develop their 950-acre poinsettia ranch into shopping centers and housing developments. The City carved out the 67.5 acres to remain agricultural.

The Leichtag Foundation purchased the property in 2012, known today at Leichtag Commons.
In 2014, Leichtag got the city council to change the definition of agricultural zoning to allow non-agricultural office buildings. And according to the report, that's only the beginning.
• The city of Encinitas is not compliant with the state mandated housing element. The Foundation is in a unique position to work with the city of Encinitas to address local housing affordability on a portion of the Coastal Roots property.

• The TAP recommends preserving a portion of the property for agriculture, food production and the greenhouse program. The site has an agricultural legacy. The Foundation can establish a farmer apprentice program, which offers a new opportunity to deliver the mission. The greenhouse program can become a center for innovation in food production and research.

• Finally, the TAP recommends the expansion of the Hive to become a more public and high profile programmatic element. It can grow to include a retreat or conference center, expansion of the non-profit hub, and an educational / cultural destination linked to the mission.
I guess we should have seen this coming. Founder Lee Leichtag's granddaughter, Heather Greene:
My grandfather always had the attitude of, "if you can't get in through the front door, you go around and you go in the back door."