The Coast News Group
The Encinitas City Council agreed to enter into negotiations with the Encinitas Union School District with the goal of buying the dilapidated Pacific View site. Some residents maintain that the site should be used as an arts center. File photo

Encinitas to look at buying Pacific View site

ENCINITAS — City Council voted unanimously at Wednesday night’s meeting to consider purchasing the Pacific View school site from the EUSD (Encinitas Union School District). 

“There’s no question that it would be great if we could acquire the property on terms that make sense,” Deputy Mayor Lisa Shaffer said.

Shaffer added that she would like the city to have a communitywide discussion on the possible uses of the Pacific View property outside of the limits of council meetings. Dates and the exact format of those future discussions weren’t set.

In a letter dated March 4, EUSD Superintendent Tim Baird asked the city to entertain the idea of buying Pacific View at fair market value. Baird’s letter went on to say that if the city doesn’t want to enter into negotiations, the district would like to sell the property on the open market.

A dozen public speakers said that they would like to see the Pacific View property transformed into a community arts center. Echoing others, resident David Chase said that’s more likely to happen if the city buys the property.

“I hope that you keep in mind how many artists we have, and how many in the public we have who want to see and hear those artists,” Chase said.

Piper Lacy said that Pacific View should be transformed into an arts center to preserve Encinitas’ cultural heritage. She said an arts center would benefit children, because there aren’t many kid-friendly places in downtown Encinitas.

“It’s very important — and it’s been brought up throughout this — the children need a place,” Lacy said.

Several speakers said Pacific View could host a charter school, though some residents weren’t crazy about the idea.

The property, which is located along Third Street in downtown, was gifted to the city in 1883 as a school site.

In 2003, it closed due to declining enrollment. Since then, various plans for the property have fizzled out.

Most recently, Art Pulse, a regional arts group, wanted to create an arts complex and build as many as seven homes on the property.

Doing so required council to rezone the property by Oct. 30 of last year. But the zoning change wasn’t put on a council agenda before the Oct. 30 deadline agreed upon by Art Pulse and EUSD. Consequently, the $7.5 million deal fell through.

In the aftermath, EUSD officials said that the city knew about the Oct. 30 cutoff and failed to act. In response, city staff said that they weren’t aware of the deadline and that council planned to hear the zoning proposal Nov. 14.

On Wednesday, Councilman Tony Kranz praised EUSD for reaching out to the city and “shifting gears.”

“It didn’t work out how they envisioned, but perhaps that’s for the best,” Kranz added.

As part of council’s motion, the city will gauge how much the property is worth with an independent appraisal.

The city didn’t specify when Pacific View will appear on the agenda next.

1 comment

Fred Caldwell April 12, 2013 at 11:32 am

As a pupil at Pacific View from ’62 – ’67, it holds a lot of great memories for me. I’m one of the lucky kids with a happy childhood who remembers every teacher and most peers there, instead of like people I’ve met from other schools, having to block it all out and need therapy. It’s where I also learned most of the words I can spell correctly, (so yes, without PV I wouldn’t be able to type and gripe on this thread). But what a drag for such a great piece of property to have been allotted for free to the community by our founding fathers for the specific purpose of education, only to be sold out to 21st century developers. It is short-sighted weighing real estate as more valuable for the short term gain of a few rather than decades of much learning for many. Little did the people who named the school originally realize the view of the Pacific would be the first thing to go. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the school district sold off a 60′ wide slice of the bluff area for homes to be built there in the 40’s.
A recent rumor was that a developer wanted to make a sweetheart deal with the city, if he could “share” costs by buying the next layer of it with the city. Namely, the slice of property facing the ocean for more than likely 3 story Pacific View condos. So if ever a new school was built behind that, the name “Pacific View” would no longer fit.
It’s also curious why the school closed to begin with. Some say: “There are not enough children living on that side of the tracks who can fill the school anymore.” A little hard to swallow, and sounds more like a strategic plan go into the real estate business by selling it. Really? You double the population of an area and have half the kids you used to?
Growing up in Encinitas and working for a school district for 5 years, the whine has always been “We don’t have enough money for classrooms!” Capri, Torrey Pines and Digueno were built to accommodate more students locally. Still, (and as I was told by a SDHS employee) cheap “modular” classrooms we’re erected in the FRONT of the school to remind everyone driving by how strapped schools were for educational space.
I guess the EUSD has the right to sell the property. I would like to see it remain for education, but at the same time I’d like to see a school that maintained a positive cash flow and not become yet another city funded high maintenance Frankenplan monster money pit. Too bad EUSD can’t keep it and think more about how it could become once again a school / art center that did more than what it was designed to do originally. It sure has the potential, but that will be gone forever if McMansions take root.
The millions that EUSD would accept for the property would probably only equal the millions they receive from the California State lottery in 10 years or less, seeing that just the San Dieguito Academy has collectively received over 20 million from the California State Lottery since it began and continues to receive one million each passing year.
Hats off to David Chase, local Leucadian for decades (and teacher extraodinaire)who spoke up for keeping Pacific View educational. I learned a LOT from Mr. Chase when I took more than one course he taught at Palomar College. Thanks David! (I even just remembered he’s the first David I met who hates to be called “Dave”! – So nobody do that, OK?)

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