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Encinitas ADUs
The Encinitas City Council passed a resolution to encourage new construction of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs. Rendering by Crest Backyard Homes
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Encinitas council adopts modified resolution to incentivize new ADUs

ENCINITAS —The Encinitas City Council recently passed a modified resolution to help stimulate the construction of new accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, while continuing negotiations over certain state-recommended replacement parking provisions.

The council will resume talks with the California Coastal Commission on its parking requirements, which include replacement parking spaces for ADUs constructed west of Coast Highway 101 when the dwelling unit eliminates required parking, such as if a garage is converted into an ADU.

“At this time staff proposes to bifurcate the modifications required by the Coastal Commission and allow the city to adopt and implement an ADU ordinance that would incentivize development of new ADUs while allowing more time for the city and Coastal Commission staff to work on options for replacement parking,” said Evan Jedynak, the city’s associate planner.

In November 2020, the council passed a new resolution on ADUs that received modifications from the California Coastal Commission following a lengthy review. The modifications included some changes to setbacks and other nonconforming conditions, but more importantly, changes regarding replacement parking.

The council did not accept the parking modifications when they spoke about the resolution again in September 2021, asking staff to review its options.

Encinitas ADUs
A rendering of a stand-alone accessory dwelling unit. Rendering by DZN Partners

The bifurcated resolution means parking requirements will remain the same as in the existing municipal code. The council also passed a resolution initiating a future amendment to the Local Coastal Plan regarding replacement parking.

The modifications were largely uncontroversial but there are still those in the city who question the increase in ADU construction.

Elena Thompson, a real estate professional and Encinitas resident, wrote the city before the vote to express her concerns regarding the vote and her desire for the city to hold off on all parts of the resolution.

“Parking for ADUs is yet another serious matter and highly realistic concern that must be dealt with relating to the new ADU Law. ADUs do absolutely increase density and are major amendments to our zoning,” Thompson wrote.

Darlene Jacobson, an Encinitas resident who lives near the city’s bluffs, said ADUs have presented a problem to the safety and stability of the bluffs.

“I’m asking you to consider our bluff. We know what happened in 2019,” Jacobson said regarding a bluff collapse in the city that killed three people. “I’m guessing you’re under pressure to have additional residences in Encinitas but they’re going to be digging into our bluffs to provide additional residences and I find that disastrous.”

The city says ADU construction is still required to comply with the coastal bluff overlay regulations, meaning any construction on the bluff would require full Coastal Commission approval as well as any needed geotechnical studies of the area of the bluff.

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