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Coastal Commission postpones Leucadia Streetscape hearing

ENCINITAS — The California Coastal Commission has postponed its hearing on a proposed overhaul of Coastal Highway 101 through Leucadia and an appeal filed to block the approval.

The Coastal Commission was scheduled to hear both matters involving the North Coast Highway 101 Streetscape at a meeting today in Redondo Beach, but abruptly pulled them from the calendar this week.

Encinitas officials said they requested the hearing be moved to October when the commission will hold its meeting in San Diego. The commission, which is the state’s land use and public access regulatory body for the California coastal zone, rotates its meeting locations throughout various coastal cities.

“The LCP (Local Coastal Program) amendment is driven by the Leucadia Streetscape project which is pending Coastal Commission review of the Coastal Development Permit appeal,” city spokeswoman Lois Yum said. “The Commissioners will benefit greatly by receiving both items at the same meeting and the San Diego location is more favorable to receive input from the public.”

The project has polarized residents and businesses within the beach community in Encinitas. Supporters believe the project is necessary to make the street safer for non-motorists and will beautify the stretch of highway, making it a more appealing destination.

Opponents, however, said that the plan will further snarl traffic along Coast Highway 101, making it harder for first responders to respond to emergencies, crime incidents and medical calls, as well as making it tougher for visitors to access the beach.

The group of appellants included local residents Doug Fiske, Donna Westbrook, Susan Turney, Lynn Marr and California Coastal Commissioners Effie Turnbull-Sanders and Steve Padilla.

Members of the Commission expressed similar concerns in a staff report on the project, recommending a denial without modifications because of the beach and recreation access concerns.

Staff recommended that the city’s plan include a requirement that any major roadway project includes “quantitative analyses” that shows regional travel times along the corridor won’t be significantly affected by the project, and that significant public benefit enhancements are part of the proposal.

The October hearing will be held Oct. 10-12 at the Wyndham Hotel San Diego Bayside in San Diego.

For more information on the Leucadia Streetscape project proposal and design, click here