The Coast News Group

Council balks at two-day Fall Festival proposal

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council voted against a proposal to expand the Encinitas 101 Main Street Association’s Fall Festival from a one-day event to a two-day event, citing the impact it would have on businesses and motorists.

The Main Street Association requested the additional day for its signature fall event as a means to pay for Christmas decorations for downtown.

“I have not polled the business owners, but I would guess they would be willing to give up that one day to have Christmas decorations during the holidays,” said Thora Guthrie, the executive director of the Main Street Association.

But the council unanimously expressed hesitancy about shutting down Coast Highway 101 for an additional day on top of the six days it is already closed for special events.

“I think seven days of closures seems like a lot,” Mayor Kristin Gaspar said. “While we would all like another day of festivities, we need to be mindful of what those closures do to our residents and those service businesses.”

Gaspar said while she understands that some businesses — such as restaurants, bars and retailers, benefit from the foot traffic street festivals bring — other businesses like accountants, auto mechanics and salons, are hurt because their customers don’t have access to the street or parking.

“You’re not seeing your accountant if you don’t have access to the street,” she said.

The council also voted to delay a proposal by the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce to move Oktoberfest from its current location on Mountain Vista Drive in New Encinitas to the Encinitas Community Park. The council said they needed more details about the plan, which includes a proposal to expand the festival to two days to accommodate setup and breakdown.

City staff expressed concern about the event’s size and the associated traffic and parking impacts on the surrounding neighborhood.