The Coast News Group
Community Commentary

Don’t mess with Crest?

No disrespect intended toward Irene as I quote from her letter to the editor from August 31: 

“At the west end of Birmingham we have shopping, restaurants,” … and a traffic jam! Ditto on Santa Fe, Lake Drive, Windsor, Melba, Balour, etc. in the morning as commuters crawl from east Encinitas to Interstate 5 and south, then back in the afternoon. Bumper-to-bumper.

“At the east end of Birmingham we have country with birds, animals, and lovely trees.” How nice. Peaceful and quiet, no traffic, people and pets leisurely strolling down the middle of the street, with what used to be a volleyball court now garden-like open space blocking transit into Sandy Point at the south end.

Large ocean view lots with McMansions built out to the max, or modest and countrified dwellings, some about to fall down. Many old nurseries, now looking neglected. Regardless, I doubt there’s anything under a mil.

“Encinitas is unique in having two such different areas just a few blocks apart.” In my opinion, there has always been questionable ethics in play on Crest Drive. Perhaps you weren’t here when this controversy tore our young city to shreds as powerful individuals entrusted with our General Plan cut deals with each other seeking to protect and increase their property values in the late 80s by creating what is virtually a private section of that street. It was nasty. I won’t mention any names. Lake Drive versus Crest.

Cerro and Willowspring protested with their traffic stats and concerns about the safety of their kids and seniors. Wouldn’t we all like to have private streets in front of our homes preventing others from ingress and egress through use of speed bumps, limits of 15 miles per hour, and striping the pavement to discourage access? No traffic, noise, or disruption. Except for one little problem — we all pay taxes to the city and county for services and maintenance.

I don’t know of anyone advocating for sidewalks and curbs on south Crest.

The city engineers weighed in, as well they should, in keeping with their policies because someone applied for a building permit on a corner lot up there.

It seems to me that all development plans should be fully disclosed, consistent, and equitable, as much as possible for all taxpayers, citizens, and neighborhoods. Actually, speed bumps tend to detract from property values, but in this case, Crest is unique and special and the bumps are so very gentle. Wouldn’t want to disturb the birds and the bees and all that tranquility. Or damage an expensive vehicle.

The bigger issue of forcing low-income housing into certain neighborhoods based on inaccurate SANDAG data and a prolonged sticker campaign (Are we children?) is one I continue to question. How much money did we waste on that? Someone recently told me, “We haven’t complied with state mandates for decades.” Wrong. We complied by counting our numerous granny flats and accessory units. Everyone has one, or two. And, there is a ton of additional low-income housing in this town. Shall I count them for you? We also have no control over how many persons inhabit each dwelling.

Who benefits from development? Shall we consider allowing the new owners of the Ralphs shopping center (the El Camino Corridor) to build out their property with mixed-use space similar to Whole Foods on 101? Do we have anything to say about it? In this economy, shops are closing daily, while we get a Walmart!

Back to South Fork, I mean South Crest. There are many vacant lots there where a 30 unit apartment complex would allow residents to bike and walk and enjoy the good life with easy access to those shops and restaurants mentioned in Irene’s letter just a few blocks to the west. Maybe nursery owners there should be allowed to develop their land as they see fit.

What will become of vacant nursery land on Lake Drive? Just my two cents (in less than 700 words), but if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them. Don’t mess with any neighborhood — unfairly.

Celia Kiewit is an Encinitas resident.