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A view of Pipes Beach in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. The Encinitas City Council recently voted to declare a climate emergency. File photo
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Encinitas City Council declares ‘climate emergency’

ENCINITAS — Wrapping up a hectic year, the Encinitas City Council voted unanimously last month to declare a “climate emergency” within the city, in addition to further regulating group sober living homes, among other actions during the month of December.

During the Dec. 16 meeting, the council unanimously passed an ordinance regulating group homes, including sober living facilities, received a staff report on the 2020 citywide pavement survey, as well as unanimously passed a proposed Climate Emergency Declaration.

Presented by Commissioner Jim Wang, the Climate Emergency Declaration was written with city staff assistance to “assure consistency with the city’s Climate Action Plan as well as to provide emphasis on the ongoing implementation of the plan’s measures and strategies” presented in a Nov. 18 council meeting.

Councilmember Joe Mosca applauded the Environmental Commission and local volunteer’s work in bringing the declaration to fruition.

“It’s quite clear what we have to be doing. We have to call it what it is,” Mosca said. “We’re living in a moment when we’re quickly approaching devastating effects from climate change … and we don’t have to look any further than our own backyard in California.”

While the declaration is largely symbolic and has no financial impact on the city, according to the council, its passing will reinforce a standard for operations within the city.

The council also unanimously adopted the city’s first series of regulations for group homes and sober living facilities.

The ordinance, discussed in length during the Nov. 18 meeting, establishes a permitting fee, land use and operating standards for group homes, as well as requires written notice of all property owners within 500 feet of the property.

However, as heard in previous council discussions, sober living facility operators are opposed to the new ordinance, warning of pending litigation.

During public comment, resident Robert Crawford asked, “why would the city approve this ordinance knowing the issue will demand very long litigation that will last several years and cost millions of dollars?”

The city’s ordinance is based on a similar City of Coast Mesa ordinance, resulting in litigation in the federal courts ultimately upholding the city’s sober living home regulations.

Furthermore, the staff presented the 2020 Citywide Pavement Survey, rating the overall condition of Encinitas’ road system.

Ranking fourth highest in the region behind Carlsbad, Poway, and Vista, the city of Encinitas’ road system received a Pavement Condition Index rating of 74 in the context of a statewide average of 64.

The neighboring cities of Del Mar ranked at 73 and Solana Beach at 67.

Mayor Catherine Blakespear supported increasing funding to the city’s annual Pavement Rehabilitation Projects stating, “this is truly one of the most important things we continue to fund. At $3 million dollars we can add a bit more money to and still manage the city’s budget effectively.”

In recent weeks, the city’s roadside safety measures have been publicly questioned following the death of Dr. Jennings Worley, a cyclist killed in a traffic collision at the intersection of Leucadia Blvd. and Moonstone Court.

According to Blakespear, the city is focused on changing pedestrian and cyclist safety measures.

“We are restriping and repaving, focusing on biking and walking,” Blakespear said. “Of course, we can always be improving things and working towards the standards as they change, [being] physically protected bike lanes instead of just paint barriers.”

During a Dec. 8 meeting, the City of Encinitas certified its election results, re-swearing in representatives Mayor Catherine Blakespear as well as council members Kellie Hinze of District 2, and newly appointed Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz of District 1, next voting on 2021 regional board and committee assignments.

In addition, the council voted to appoint all current sitting council members, Blakespear, Kranz, Hinze, Mosca and Hubbard, 2021 committee assignments which can be viewed online.

The full video and agenda for the Dec. 16 council meeting can be found at https://encinitas.granicus.com/player/clip/2296?view_id=7&redirect=true.

3 comments

saveleucadia December 30, 2020 at 8:37 am

A climate “emergency”. The bluffs collapsed 2 years ago and killed folks. What have you done for that “emergency”. Sit around and “declare” an emergency and then pat yourselves on the back for being climate activists. Classic. Maybe if you all moved somewhere else, you could help us save the methane you continue to spew on our communities every time you open your mouths.

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concerned December 31, 2020 at 11:18 pm

Anyone who has driven on the streets in Encinitas would know that the 74 score recorded by the city staff is part of the city’s imagination to hype their subpar work. Drive downtown and look at the crumbling 101 that will required a complete removal of the pavement that should have been done 10 years ago. El Camino Real from Manchester to Encinitas Blvd. has deep cracks in parts of the lanes. The correct score should be closer to 20 pavement condition.
How could 55% of Encinitas voters put Blakespear back into office after she ignores residents when she is put on notice of the dangerous changes she is making to Encinitas roads. On south 101 over 22 bicycle accidents have happened in the short months in which she has changed the road for families and toddlers to ride next to vehicles (her wants). The tragic death on Leucadia happened with another change she wanted for families and toddlers. Blakespear has no concept of safety nor consideration of Encinitas residents. She is focused on being the chairperson of SANDAG, the regional transportation agency that was found to be wasting money.

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steve333 January 1, 2021 at 1:49 pm

So Blakespear’s solution is to make vehicle lanes not wide enough next to a very wide bike lane? On Willowspring they just did this and large SUVs and trucks have to swerve into the bike lane because the vehicle lane isn’t wide enough.
Just brilliant, how did voters re-elect this incompetent?

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