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Housing Element revs back up in Encinitas

ENCINITAS — With a year left before voters could potentially decide the fate of Encinitas proposed housing element update, the city kicks off a critical phase of the process with a series of public meetings in the month of November.

The housing element is the city’s first comprehensive overhaul of its housing and residential zoning map in more than 20 years, and will map out where an anticipated 1,300 units of affordable housing will be placed within the city. Voters are expected to vote on the plan in 2016.

Encinitas is the only community in San Diego without an updated housing element, a dubious distinction that city officials say hurts them when competing for certain regional grants.

The upcoming phase of public outreach is the first since the City Council canceled its contract with a Berkeley-based online civic engagement platform provider, after decidedly critical reviews of the eTown Hall format that guided the first round of public engagement in 2014.

The first phase netted comments from about 500 residents, which Mayor Kristin Gaspar at the time said was unacceptable for a city of 63,000 people.

Phase 2 of “At Home in Encinitas”— the formal name of the housing element process — kicks of with five workshops — one in each of the city’s five communities — during which the public will be able to comment on the design guidelines and proposed zoning code updates that will guide how affordable housing will look.

The first workshop is Nov. 5 at Cardiff Elementary School from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Old Encinitas will host the second workshop from noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Encinitas library; Leucadia will host the third workshop from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 16 at Paul Ecke Central Elementary; New Encinitas hosts workshop No. 4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Park Dale Lane Elementary and the final workshop will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Ranch View Baptist Church in Olivenhain.

Following the workshops, the city enters into the final stage of the process of getting the housing element on the Nov. 8 ballot as it reviews the environmental and policy documents, potentially certifies the environmental impact report and selects one of more housing element maps to be presented to the public on the ballot.

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