ENCINITAS — The California Coastal Commission must approve Proposition A for it to take effect in most of the city. That’s according to staff members from the coastal commission who issued the ruling on Monday.
Prop A will become law for a slice of the eastern part of the city July 21, states an Encinitas City Council agenda released on Wednesday.
But in the roughly 80 percent of the city that’s in the coastal zone, Prop A still requires the green light from the coastal commission.
For Prop A to go onto the books in the coastal zone, the city will have to submit an amendment to its local coastal program.
Eventually, that amendment will need majority approval from the 12-member coastal commission board during a public hearing. The date of the hearing hasn’t been set.
It can take more than a year to process an amendment, according to Eric Stevens, an analyst with the coastal commission.
But he said the commission would try and “expedite” the amendment considering Prop A has significant implications for land use.
The coastal commission ruled that it has legal jurisdiction over Prop A because it establishes a 30-foot height limit in the coastal zone.
Also, the initiative changes how building heights are measured when it comes to pad heights.
Stevens said the coastal commission’s legal department, as well as three coastal commission staff members, analyzed Prop A. He noted the ruling is subject to a legal challenge.
The city sent the coastal commission a letter in May asking if Prop A requires any coastal commission action. Previously, the coastal commission said it would weigh in on Prop A by June 11, prior to the June 18 election. Stevens said the delay could be attributed to coastal commission staff dealing with a heavy workload.
Before Monday’s decision, there was uncertainty over whether Prop A demanded coastal commission ratification.
A city-ordered report from the law firm Rutan and Tucker at the beginning of the year stated Prop A would result in different zoning rules for Encinitas. The City Council cited the reasoning in its argument against Prop A that appeared with the ballot.
However, Sara Wan, former chair of the coastal commission, previously said the coastal commission has never certified an initiative, and doesn’t have the authority to do so. She declined to comment for the article.
City Planning Director Jeff Murphy said he’s still grappling with how exactly the recent decision will affect zoning in the coastal zone.
“I’ll likely know more by the next council meeting,” Murphy said, referring to a July 10 meeting when city officials will certify the Prop A election results.
Prop A was drafted to eliminate the City Council’s ability to “up-zone” beyond height and density limits with a four-out-five councilmember vote.
Prop A won victory two weeks ago with 51.85 percent of ballots cast, roughly 6,700 votes, in favor.
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