City to address Pacific View this month

ENCINITAS — The City Council will kick off a fresh round of discussion on the Pacific View school site Aug. 21. 

This spring, councilmembers voted to explore purchasing Pacific View from the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD).

City Manager Gus Vina said next Wednesday’s meeting will be two-pronged in regards to Pacific View. First, the City Council will hear a report on how projects like Pacific View and a new Moonlight Beach lifeguard tower could affect the city’s budget.

“To go further, we want to know our fiscal capacity,” Vina said, adding that city staff will also present potential financing strategies.

Then, the City Council will consider ways to gain more public input on potential uses for the Pacific View site.

“They’ll look at a framework for a community-driven process,” Vina said.

Vina noted that negotiations with EUSD over the purchase price of Pacific View are ongoing. The city recently obtained two independent appraisals of the site from Integra Realty Resources and Carlsbad-based James Waldorf Inc. However, they aren’t public record because the item is still in closed session.

On Monday evening, resident Danny Salzhandler invited the community to the Encinitas Library to weigh in with solutions to make buying Pacific View more realistic.

“We need ideas that could help pay for the purchase,” Salzhandler said.

He added that he’s hopeful residents will come up with a business plan for the spot to show the City Council they’re serious.

At the meeting, residents said the site should feature a mix of art, science and educational offerings for the entire community. Many added that they don’t want to see homes built on the property.

Some said a portion of the site could be rented out — to commercial art galleries, for instance — to ease the financial burden for the city.

“You have projects all around town that need to be completed; we need to find revenue (for Pacific View),” resident Michael Murphy said.

Others agreed, but said the city shouldn’t get too caught up in a revenue stream; the arts and the community should remain the focus.

About a decade ago, Pacific View closed after enrollment fell. Since then, various plans for the property have collapsed.

Most recently, Art Pulse wanted to create an arts complex and build as many as seven homes on the property.

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  1. Lynn Marr says:

    The Art Pulse/John DeWald development project was for seven to nine twinhomes, plus a “caretaker’s unit” as part of the monolithic proposed mixed use residential/commercial/art center new zoning category proposed, so up to 19 units, to start. If the property had been rezoned “mixed use,” classrooms could have been legally converted to condo units, in the future.

    Thankfully, with the passage of Prop A, the property cannot be rezoned out of the public domain without a vote of the citizens, now. The City should have considered it’s “fiscal capacity,” before it defunded our open space and habitat acquisition fund, our chronic flooding funds, and many other city funds, to the tune of $7 million for the Hall Property Park and Moonlight Beach Improvements.

    One way for the City to help fund purchase of Pacific View would be for it to drop its plans to hire an unwanted spin doctor, a communications specialist, now being billed as a “community outreach specialist.” We were promised that we could review the defunded accounts and the budget, during goal setting, after Strategic Planning, but the budget is being pushed through without our traditional goal setting sessions, held during hours when most people can attend the open Council Meetings.

    At the meeting, we were informed that the City Manager has stated there were two appraisals, one for $3.5 Million and one for $7 Million. These are the same figures shared by Councilwoman, Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer. These appraisal reports should be included in the Agenda Report for August 21, but they’re not. The Artists Colony, with the help of DEMA had presented a great proposal to the school district, before, Envision the View.

    The public supports art and artists, and a true community arts and learning center. The land was donated. The City needs good negotiators to deal with the Superintendent of EUSD, Tim Baird, who has only been in Encinitas since 2009, or our City Manager, Gus Vina, who has only been with the City for two years. Longtime locals have more understanding of the historical significance of this irreplaceable asset, a precious jewel. Short term profit does not represent the greatest and highest value for the community of Encinitas.

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