ENCINITAS — The Goodson Project, a proposed housing development currently under review by the Encinitas Planning Commission, has recently drawn considerable ire from residents citing equity and public safety concerns.
The proposed 277-unit apartment complex at 2220, 2228 and 2230 Encinitas Boulevard, named after applicant Randy Goodson, president of Foley Development, is designated for by-right approval.
Of the 277 planned units within the proposal, 41 are designated for low-income households, meeting the 20% requirement for low-income units.
Speaking at the city’s Equity Committee meeting this week, resident Lyle Donovan expressed his apprehensions about whether the Goodson Project and similar projects go far enough in addressing problems with housing equity in the city.
“Many large, multi-unit housing projects are underway in Encinitas,” Donovan said. “They have been made possible due to the flawed assumption that large, dense developments will provide more affordable housing options. The Goodson Project stands as a prime example. The project site was initially upzoned under the assumption it would deliver 149 affordable units. That number now stands at 41.”
And nearly half of the units designated for low-income households are 495-square-foot studio apartments that will not be able to accommodate families, Donovan said.
“In these units, the bedroom has no windows and no walls. The units have no balcony and no storage unit. They are so small that one can reach the stove from the bed,” Donovan added. “They exist to satisfy the affordable unit count rather than the welfare of the tenants.”
The Planning Commission also received innumerable written comments and heard from 47 speakers about the project during its last meeting.
“The grossly exaggerated scale of this project is an affront to the surrounding community of Olivenhain,” Encinitas resident Amy McCord wrote. “The submitted plans fly in the face of all that the State of California and the City of Encinitas claim to be attempting to achieve.”
Also of concern is the public safety impact of the development, particularly when it comes to fire safety and evacuation plans.
“A recent fire study shows the city’s evacuation plan for Olivenhain is woefully inadequate,” McCord wrote to the Planning Commission. “Using current population numbers, it is projected that evacuation of all residents and animals could take 11 hours.
“A wildfire driven by Santa Ana winds could burn through Olivenhain valley in one hour. The evacuation route relies on flow through the two ends of Rancho Santa Fe Road. The Goodson project would create a severe bottleneck at one of these two main evacuation points.”
Denny Neville, an Olivenhain resident and former Rancho Santa Fe deputy fire chief with three decades of fire safety experience, called the plan of adding this big of an apartment complex with a 477-car garage absurd from a public safety standpoint.
“Logical thinking would indicate that adding even 10 cars at that point would have a negative impact on those further down the line,” Neville said. “From the standpoint of evacuation alone, it produced potential catastrophic impacts on the community of Olivenhain and portions of Rancho Santa Fe.”
After hearing from all public speakers this week, the Planning Commission did not have enough time for full deliberations on the project to make a vote on the item. A motion was agreed to continue discussions to the commission’s first in-person public meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic on August 19.
No more comments will be heard at that meeting as the public comment portion of the item was closed.