COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Encinitas Comprehensive General Plan Update is a communitywide effort

Residents are urged to attend the Encinitas General Plan Workshop from 6 to 9 p.m. March 28. The workshop will be held at the Encinitas Community and Senior Center, 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive, Encinitas.
Community participation is an essential component of the process, and it is this participation that will ensure that citizens’ quality of life concerns are addressed.
General plans are often called a city’s constitution … a statement of who we are and what we value as a community. It is a document that provides City Council, city commissions, city staff and the entire community, with a guide for the city’s future decision making and development process.
In January 2010, the city of Encinitas initiated the two-year comprehensive planning process to update its General Plan and address new policies and strengthen existing policies.  
The Encinitas General Plan has not undergone a major comprehensive update since its adoption in 1989. To ensure our General Plan continues to be a useful tool, the city has embarked on a Comprehensive General Plan Update to provide workable solutions to the issues facing the city, such as sustainable communities, economic development, land use planning, transportation, changing demographics, public health and increased housing needs.
The state of California requires all cities to adopt a general plan that includes required elements including land use, housing, circulation, resource management (open space and conservation), noise and public safety. The city currently has one optional element — recreation. Each of these elements addresses issues that directly affect our community and quality of life.
During the first phase of the process, community participants raised a number of issues during the outreach process. The public input has been consolidated into a Vision Summary Report that summarizes issues, opportunities and/or concerns.
Some of the stated desired characteristics include “A sustainable community that embraces everyone’s quality of life … supports healthy and active lifestyles … a leader in green living and environmental stewardship … supports its local culture and promotes artistic creativity … a city where local history is remembered and respected … a complete city for working, shopping and living … a place where one can live their entire life.
It is critical that the community stay informed and engaged in this process. Visit the General Plan Update website to review the information that was presented at previous workshops, and the educational lecture series. The complete Vision Summary Report is available on the website.
From this website you can also subscribe to city e-alerts to receive e-mail notifications of upcoming events. Visit www.encinitas2035.info for more information.
The next community workshop will focus on policy development to address current and future needs such as community character, walkability, the arts, transportation, historic preservation, open space and other quality of life issues identified in the Vision Summary Report.
The final goal is to create a community-driven vision for the city and to develop policies and goals to help guide land use and citywide decisions now and in the future.
Over time there will be some areas of change but by working together we can ensure that this will still be Encinitas … only better.
Teresa Barth is an Encinitas council member.

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