The Coast News Group
Cities Community Encinitas

Encinitas approves homeless plans, supports Waldorf School build

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council voted unanimously approving several homeless action plans, a motion proposing a pedestrian railroad crossing in Northwest Leucadia, and supporting the construction of Sanderling Waldorf School during two meetings occurring the week of June 24.

In the first meeting occurring on June 24th, dozens of public letters from residents were read aloud expressing their frustration with a lack of Leucadia railroad crossings, the council opened discussion on the issue.

Councilman Tony Kranz recalled his time as a member of the Leucadia Town Council, organizing petitions calling for the installation of crossings.

“My hope is that during the next couple of months, we can put together numbers that allow us to advance a few ideas to the city council and consider possibilities that would include an under crossing at certain locations,” Kranz said.

Mayor Catherine Blakespear was in full support of adding a motion directing the City Manager to organize a report and timeline for such a project.

“This is 100% in line with the goals of this council and the mobility improvements that we are aiming for throughout the city,” Blakespear said. “Staff will put together a plan and talk to SANDAG… evaluating the circumstances around the area and data already collected.”

In regards to residents’ complaints that no crossing has been built years, Councilwoman Kellie Shay Hinze remarked how Encinitas’ most recent budget finally allowed for a backlog of projects to be completed, thus making space for a future project such as rail crossings.

“That’s what I like about this budget,” Hinze said, “It’s a conservative budget based on the projects we want to know and knowing the next area to focus on is Northwestern Leucadia.”

In addition, the council heard a presentation on Encinitas’ Homelessness Action Plan detailing the city’s demographics and gaps in social services as well as the different methods of breaking down those statistics.

For example, in 2019 the CRC reported 572 homeless-family “household” units in Encinitas, totaling 860 total people. Of those, the most frequently provided service included food and medical benefits as well as counseling and domestic violence services.

The council also discussed the public’s wish to include faith organizations already involved in aiding the homeless in future discussions.

“There are a lot of folks in our community that really want to be a part of this,” Councilman Joe Mosca said. “We need to bring folks from faith-based organizations into the fold and really strengthen these partnerships we’re going to be talking about under the action plan.”

The other commissioners and the Mayor agreed, future community conversations on solutions for Encinitas’ homelessness problem will be open to the public.

The next step for the City of Encinitas is to finalize draft a plan based on said presentation. Then, present the draft plan to the community, receive their input, and resubmit a final plan to the City Council for implementation.

For further details on the Homeless Action Plan and statistics presented at the June 24th City Council meeting, the agenda is available here.

The council also approved a series of City Hall renovations including replacing segments of an outdated fire sprinkler system as well as removing mold and asbestos.

In a second session on June 29, the City Council heard four appeals to the Planning Commission’s previous decisions approving the construction of Sanderling Waldorf School.

The four residents’ appeals covered environmental concerns, the impact on local species, and traffic among other issues. After the applicant, discussion, the council voted unanimously supported the Planning Commission’s decision and determining the project in compliance with CEQA requirements.

The council also authorized the Acting City Manager Jennifer Campbell to execute a series of possible contracts for storm drain construction on Eolus Avenue.