The Coast News Group

Hymettus Estates gets final map approval

ENCINITAS — Six months after the city prevailed in a lawsuit over its approval of a nine-home density bonus project in Leucadia, the Planning Commission approved the final map for the project.

The Planning Commission voted 4-0 in favor of the final map for Hymettus Estates on a lush lot off of Fulvia Street just south of Leucadia Boulevard.

The commission approved CityMark Communities’ project over the objection of community members who have opposed the project every step of the way, largely over concerns over how storm water would be dealt with in the flood-prone area. 

Residents reiterated their concerns at the Oct. 19 meeting.

The commission, however, felt that the developer had addressed those concerns.

“I think the developer has done everything we’ve asked,” Commissioner Al Apuzzo said.

Density bonus projects, like Hymettus Estates, are governed by a state code that allows developers to build denser-than-usual projects in exchange for providing at least one affordable housing unit. They have been controversial in Encinitas as residents have complained that the densely packed projects clash with existing communities.

Hymettus Estates was one of six so-called density bonus projects that were part of the city’s settlement of a lawsuit filed by the BIA over the council’s 2014 vote to change how it interpreted state density bonus law. The lawsuit requires the city to expeditiously process the projects that were already in the pipeline, including Hymettus.

The City Council voted 4-1 in May 2016 to deny an appeal filed by neighbors contesting the Planning Commission’s approval of the project’s tentative map.

A group of neighbors sued the city shortly thereafter, arguing that the BIA settlement illegally handcuffed the city into an approval in spite of concerns over the project’s environmental impact report.

Superior Court Judge Earl Maas ruled against the neighbors’ complaint in its entirety.

Planning Commissioner Bruce Ehlers, who was critical of the project before joining the commission, recused himself from the discussion.