‘Update’ plan is more ‘extreme makeover’

Encinitas is rewriting city zoning calling it the “General Plan Update.” Residents who went to city workshops call it the “General Plan Up-Zone,” saying land use changes threaten property values by allowing high density, destroying small town character, and increasing traffic.
When government calls things what they are not, we notice. It usually means taxpayers are about to lose something of value, and someone else, let’s say a developer or campaign contributor, is about to strike it rich with a government handout. It looks like Encinitas is calling things what they aren’t.
For 25 years the Encinitas General Plan has protected property values. The General Plan is referred to as the Constitution and sets the standards for community development. Because of the current General Plan we have a small town. That may soon change.
Will the city allow the Henry’s-Sprouts Market on El Camino Real to become a 3-story parking garage next to a 4- to 7-story mixed use building? Residents call it “The Irvinization” of Encinitas. El Camino Real could increase in density by 400 percent. Where will the cars go?
Any homeowner can tell you “updating” a house means keeping the things you love while adding some new paint or a few fixtures. What the city is proposing isn’t an “update,” it’s an “extreme makeover.” City Hall wants to scrap the current General Plan that protects residents and replace it with a New General Plan that promotes urban density like Oakland.
When the city updated zoning in other parts of the city, like the Cardiff Specific Plan, they made a copy of the original current zoning document, along with the proposed changes, available to the public. Residents were able to update the zoning line by line. Those with an interest can learn more at savecardiff.com.
The city, Encinitas Planning Director Patrick Murphy, and consultant Iacofano must make a copy of the current General Plan, with any proposed changes, available to the public. This lets the public go through the current General Plan, with the proposed changes, word by word, so the current General Plan is “updated” not scrapped. The council must demand this. So far Murphy and Iacofano have refused.
Failing to release the current plan, with the proposed changes, keeps the public in the dark. We need to see the current zoning to compare with the proposed updates. We need to know that Henry’s is currently zoned for a 2-story building, before it is approved to become a taller building that increases traffic and reduces property values.
Much is at stake. Council members like Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks, who the Encinitas Taxpayers Association reports received some 70 percent, of his campaign contributions from the real estate and development industry, may find themselves between a rock and hard place. Bureaucrats in Sacramento and SANDAG tell us what to do calling it a “housing element,” but if they are such great planners, why is the state in such a mess?
We don’t have to follow their direction. Developers want loose language and “loopholes,” while residents want tightly worded language, like the US Constitution, that protect property rights. It is time the city comes clean with the public.
If their intent is to write a New General Plan they should tell us, and stop calling it the General Plan Update. If that’s the case then a new General Plan that threatens property values and quality of life needs to be voted on by all 60,000 residents of the city, not just a few council members who might happen to get campaign money and support from developers.

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  1. Ned Kelly says:

    In this particular case, the ‘developers’ ARE the planners! The folks who own the properties along Encinitas Boulevard and El Camino Real have organized a resistance against this ‘planner’s dream’; Councilwoman Kristin Gaspar has been haunting the Planning Department in an attempt to to determine just ‘How’ things got so far afoot from a simple update. While this is con-job is not a simple as it looks at first sight, just looking at all the planners and architects appointed by the Planners to the citizens advisory board should have set off alarm bells; the curious thing is that the coastal town councils signed off on flooding New Encinitas with low-income housing. Not very neighborly.
    Supposedly someone is going to press the re-start button on this; eyewitnesses of the last citizen meeting reported that members of the Leucadia Council were asking harder questions and that Mr. Murphy was less than forthcoming.MIG made an embarrassing admission that it didn’t really know Encinitas very well, after all; see Joint-Venture libraries. Apparently MIG refused to answer a question about whether they ever worked with a beachtown before?
    Get up and show up at the next General Plan hearing; read the Land zoning and public health parts of the Comprehensive General Plan before you attend.

  2. Ted Bell says:

    Everyone involved in hiring MIG in the first place should be fired.

  3. Another Madoff says:

    I think that Daniel Iocafano has one of the most impressive resumes out there. I don’t actually blame people for being sucked into his scheme since he has an advanced degree from Berkeley and an impressive list of clients. (Notice that there are few REPEAT customers!)

    The problem is, that with all of his background, he is not interested in doing what is right for Encinitas as much as doing what is right for Iocafano.

    What he sells is not a toolkit for community involvement, but a toolkit for FAKE community involvement. People surveys that are manipulated or ignored, and the people on the steering committee were subjected to his endless blabbing and their recommendations, were written down on sheets and disappeared into some black hole.

    Fake community involvement means that someone named Pat Murphy goes to him with a Housing Element that was already rejected by Encinitas citizens, and asks Iocafano to make it look like survey results concluded that we now wanted it.

    If Iocafano was really interested in finding out who we are and understanding the actual needs of the community, he would have done that first, and from that information, selected survey questions that would refine our needs and preferences.

    He mixed up a fake needs assessment with other surveys that he uses everywhere from Burbank to Richmond. He has mixed the original General Plan with the NEW General Plan (Andrew is spot on here).

    We are Encinitas. Why would we want to change anything?

  4. In reality says:

    "Apparently MIG refused to answer a question about whether they ever worked with a beachtown before? "
    Well, that is not what occurred.
    I heard the answer clearly stated as, "YES", There was no refusal to answer, as you stated.

  5. Not Long Beach says:

    Did you notice that the observer stated that Iocafano didn’t identify WHICH beach town, but only said "yes?" Was it Long Beach docks that they worked with, one of the towns on Lake Erie’s polluted beaches?

    The ‘housing expert’ that Iacafano brought with him for the project roll out, was very proud of working in South Gate, a suburb of LA, where they had housing projects to serve a majority population of low-income residents with density of over 80 units per acre.

    What makes them experts on Encinitas, when they are so poud of the work that they did in South Gate, which is a completely different type of community? Did the South Gate citizens REALLY communicate that they wanted to live this type of high density? Is this what is meant by "walkability and bike friendly?"

    Based on our experience, they give surveys and hold meetings as a demonstration, yet throw out any rational opinion or factual information that contradicts the plan that they had prior to even meeting with citizens. Doing so is NOT research, it is not community participation but it is propaganda in its ugliest form!

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