The Coast News Group
Bruce Ehlers is running for the District 4 seat on the Encinitas City Council.
Commissioner Bruce Ehlers is running for the District 4 seat on the Encinitas City Council. Courtesy photo/The Coast News graphic
Community Commentary Opinion

Ehlers: Has Encinitas lost its way?

I am Bruce Ehlers and I am running for Encinitas City Council District 4 (New Encinitas and Olivenhain) in November and hope you will join me in restoring a Council majority that will protect Encinitas from overdevelopment and fulfill the reason we incorporated in 1986.

Under the direction of our current City Council, Encinitas has undergone enormous changes that endanger the character of our community. 

If you’re like me, you want to preserve the things that attracted you to live and stay in Encinitas: our beautiful coast, small beach town ambiance, overall quality of life and the special characteristics of our five unique communities.

Encinitas was incorporated because land-use decisions were being made by the County Board of Supervisors that were disconnected from and unaccountable to local voters. 

Recent decisions by our own City Council and the State have seriously eroded and overridden local control of land use and development. 

In a matter of a few short years, low-density zoning has been replaced by three, four and even six-story housing proposals with 30 to 45 units per acre. 

Environmental protections are being circumvented on many of these projects through new state laws and inaction by the council.

As of January 1, the state also approved SB9 which granted a windfall to landowners and developers and overrode local zoning, allowing single-family lots to be split into two and permitting two houses and two accessory dwelling units on each split lot, thereby creating 8 units where only one unit was previously permitted. 

If you live in a single-family neighborhood, your neighboring lots could be redeveloped using this new law thereby creating higher density, more cars, less green space and more traffic throughout much of the city.   

This new law does not require any affordable housing.

In response to this onslaught, our current City Council majority has been silent.  They could have opposed SB9 like many other California cities but chose not to. 

Some on the council have even expressed full support of “densifying the suburbs.”  I oppose this and have worked diligently for the past 20-plus years to protect Encinitas.

We need to stop the onslaught in November and elect new leadership. 

My priorities on the council will be:

1. Protect Encinitas from over-development and restore local control.   

2. Preserve the unique character of our five communities.

3. Protect our coastal environment, beaches and lagoons.

4. Improve traffic.  Keep it flowing on main arterials and out of our neighborhoods.

5. Support local law enforcement and ensure public spaces are always safe.

I have lived in Encinitas for 38 years and have been an activist involved in local issues for over 20 years.   

I am currently the chairperson of the Planning Commission and have a front-row seat to the new laws and their impact on our community.

I believe in the voice of the people and was the primary author and spokesperson for Proposition A, “The Encinitas Right to Vote” initiative. 

This initiative was approved by Encinitas voters in 2013 and requires a public vote on any increases in zoning density or height increases above 2 stories or 30 feet. 

Because of the adoption of Prop A, two ill-conceived, council-initiated attempts to increase zoning density (Measures T and U) were defeated. 

More recently I joined other proponents of Prop A to defend it against a lawsuit filed by the City asking for relief from Prop A.  Fortunately, we prevailed, and Prop A remains in force.    

I look forward to sharing more of my background and goals in the coming months. 

I want to hear from you and welcome questions and comments at [email protected].

Bruce Ehlers is the chairman of the Encinitas Planning Commission. He is running for the District 4 seat representing the communities of New Encinitas and Olivenhain.

2 comments

steve333 April 18, 2022 at 5:42 pm

Bruce Ehlers for District 4, Julie Thunder for District 3, Cindy Cremona or Jeff Morris for Mayor.
Let’s take back Encinitas from Corrupt Catherine and her lapdogs
Matt Gunderson for State Senate. If you must vote Democrat the only real Democrat running is Joe Kerr.
Blakespear is a DNC (Developer National Committee) endorsed DINO

JohnEldon March 20, 2022 at 11:37 am

Bruce Ehlers, whom I have known professionally and in community activities, has my enthusiastic endorsement for city council. He is highly intelligent, ethical, and personable, and very thorough in doing his homework. We need city government of the residents, not the developers, i.e., city government that is unabashedly pro-neighborhood, not pro-SB9 and pro-stack-and-pack. Ehlers would be a vast improvement over Mosca, who has endorsed Senate Bill 9 instead of opposing it.

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