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A group of residents hold signs outside of Encinitas City Hall on Wednesday night in opposition to the city’s proposed relocation of the Safe Parking Lot to the Encinitas Community and Senior Center. The council approved the relocation site. Photo by Bill Slane
A group of residents hold signs outside of Encinitas City Hall on Wednesday night in opposition to the city’s proposed relocation of the Safe Parking Lot to the Encinitas Community and Senior Center. The council approved the relocation site. Photo by Bill Slane
Cities Community Encinitas News Region

Encinitas City Council approves relocation of Safe Parking Lot

ENCINITAS — Despite public resistance, a school board resolution in opposition and a reported lack of public outreach by local officials, the Encinitas City Council approved relocation of the city’s Safe Parking Lot to the Encinitas Community and Senior Center after a split 3-2 vote.

The parking lot will move from the Leichtag Commons on Saxony Road to the new site on Dec. 1, according to the city.

Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz and Councilmember Joy Lyndes voted against the motion.

Many of those in opposition to the relocation were upset with the process the city took to reach its decision. San Dieguito Union High School District passed a resolution this week formally opposing the relocation, which would put the safe parking lot across the street from Oak Crest Middle School and near Saint John School.

Other residents wished to have more say and knowledge of how the site at the city’s Community and Senior Center was chosen.

Kranz said the school board’s resolution was correct.

“We share a driveway,” Kranz said. “It’s their road and we have our community center on the property adjacent to them. The city did not communicate effectively with the school district, nor did we communicate effectively with Saint John’s School which operated a K-8 school just to the west.”

At a rally against the Safe Parking Lot’s relocation before the council meeting, former city Planning Commissioner Rubén Flores told The Coast News the process lacked transparency.

“Why do we have a safe parking lot program in the first place? Do we need it, is that the right answer for Encinitas? I’m all in favor of helping our fellow citizens who are less fortunate but we need to look at many other programs,” Flores said.

Others expressed fears that the parking lot, which is monitored by security during operating hours and has strong restrictions against the use of alcohol and drugs, will bring more crime and drug use into the area.

Mayor Catherine Blakespear, who made the motion to approve the relocation, made her feelings known on the rhetoric.

“This idea that it shouldn’t be near a middle school or near a preschool, to me, they’re not dangerous so that is an irrelevant statement,” Blakespear said.

The parking lot will operate, as it has at its current location on Saxony Road, from the hours of 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. Those in the program must commit to working closely with a caseworker to find more permanent housing.

According to statistics provided by the city, since the program’s inception in February 2020, the program has resulted in 50 households finding more permanent housing, a rate of 65%.

3 comments

jmcom111 October 3, 2021 at 2:41 pm

If there are going to be any homeless parking lots then there MUST be hired security at each lot and a roving patrol near for the protection of the legitimate people and the surrounding residents. I for one demand that protection of our citizens. If there is any ‘incident’ related to that lot, I strongly recommend that those hurt sue the city and those who voted for it for not taking proper precautions to insure OUR safety as well as those unfortunate to have to park there. I feel for them but we all know that not all are upstanding people.

Zorgi September 30, 2021 at 8:15 pm

What a totally one-sided and inaccurate report! In fact, there were twice as many people speaking in favor of the Safe Parking Program (SPP) as there were opposed to it. The people against the SPP implied that the clients of this program were dangerous criminals, when in fact there has been no criminal behavior associated with the existing program. Over 60% of the participants were placed in permanent housing. We should be proud of our mayor, the members of the City Council, and Jewish Family Services for bringing out the best in Encinitas and not succumbing to fear and misinformation.

Rusty September 30, 2021 at 3:08 pm

This mayor should be ashamed of herself as should the council members that follow her every move without thinking for themselves. The residents are resoundingly opposed to this parking lot. It establishes Encinitas as a magnet for the homeless which includes many drug addicts and criminals. The mayor is simply creating a social justice platform to help get her elected to the next job she is running for. She has never understood the concept that she works for the residents and doesn’t just get to do whatever she wants.

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