Update on the City of Encinitas Affordable Housing Element Plan

Posted on: December 22nd, 2017

Dick Stern, Board President, attended a four hour meeting on Saturday, December 16th with the city council to monitor progress with the city’s Affordable Housing Element Plan. As of mid 2015 there had been discussions concerning the use of a city owned parcel of land on Quail Gardens Drive for inclusion in the plan. That could have implications for additional traffic on that road and home values in surrounding areas such as Encinitas Ranch.

There were upwards of 100 people in attendance at the Senior Center including the entire city council, the Housing Element Plan Task Force and city staff. Dick attended simply as an interested resident to be sure that the community was current on the affordable housing plan that Encinitas must pass and implement. He did not attend as a formal board member of our HOA nor did he speak.

The following are the key points made in the meeting:
  • The city is required to develop and implement an affordable housing plan by the end of 2018 if not sooner. This calls for adding and constructing 1093 units. However, they are aiming to get to 1600 units because of how the state Housing & Community Development (HCD) operates and vets such plans.
  • A recently pass state bill (SB166) directs cities to look at prioritizing open and vacant land as opposed to fully developed land.
  • We learned that if a parcel of land is zoned as R30 (30 units/acre) that the state will only count a maximum of 25 so, you obviously need more land to get to 1600 units.
  • There were no examples or evidence suggesting that any plan would support 30 units in two stories.
  • Given that the land is so expensive in Encinitas the city will need to subsidize not only parts of the actual development but subsidize the eventual tenants of these units. There is the potential to take advantage of state tax credits.
  • If the city as a whole cannot pass an affordable housing element plan through a vote of all residents then it is likely that the courts will mandate the city to implement a plan.  That would leave it to the city council to develop.
  • The city needs to finalize their plan including selection of all parcels of land by next month. Then there is a lot of back and forth with the state before it goes out to a vote in November of next year.
  • The council reviewed each parcel of land identified in the file that I sent you. That file based all of the development unit calculations on 30 units/acre. However, given the state will only count 25 units/acre the city staff and consultants have created a new version based on that criteria. That plan can be found on the city website.
  • Lastly, L-7 (the parcel of vacant land owned by the city on Quail Gardens Drive) was discussed at length. Council member Tony Kranz was very aggressive to pushing to remove L-7 from the proposed plan. The other council members and the task force members all agreed after some lengthy dialogue. I believe that there was recognition that this type of development did not belong in that area. 
  • The two large lots of land at the intersection of Quail Gardens Drive including Sunshine Gardens stayed on the proposed plan.
  • At the very end the council agreed that they are short parcels of land in New Encinitas. They are attempting to try and spread the locations across all five parts of Encinitas. So, they directed staff to explore other opportunities in New Encinitas.
If you are interested you can watch the entire meeting by going to the city website. The meeting was broadcast for replay.

A summary of the meeting was just recently written in the San Diego Union Tribune on Thursday, December 21st. Follow the link below to view the article.