ENCINITAS — Despite a groundswell of support, online petitions and local commentaries, the City of Encinitas will not join other North County cities’ endorsement of a grassroots ballot initiative seeking to give municipalities more authority in land use matters.
Our Neighborhood Voices is a statewide group formed in response to a pair of controversial California housing bills (Senate Bill 9 and Senate Bill 10) that aim to make it easier for cities to build high-density units without local review. The initiative, known as the “Brand-Huang-Mendoza Tripartisan Land Use Initiative,” would amend California’s constitution to allow local jurisdictions to override state housing laws.
Backers of the proposal are currently pushing to get the initiative on the ballot for the 2022 election.
Councilmember Tony Kranz brought the item to the Encinitas City Council this week and was the lone voice in support of the initiative.
“I’ve been at this now for almost 10 full years and some of the more difficult issues that I’ve had to deal with have to do with land use matters,” Kranz said. “And I think it’s critical that as a city we retain local control over land use issues. It seems most often when there is significant opposition, it is related to something that was imposed upon the city by the state.”
“I think it’s the wrong policy for the City of Encinitas, and I think it’s the wrong policy for the State of California,” Deputy Mayor Joe Mosca said. “Housing, and focusing on housing opportunities at all income levels is exactly what we need to do as a state.”
Mayor Catherine Blakespear also strongly expressed her opposition to the measure.
Blakespear, who is running for a seat in the California State Senate, was recently endorsed by the YIMBY Democrats of San Diego County, a group in support of more developments to bring affordable housing to municipalities.
“I see affordable housing as a public good. I see a well-integrated community as a public good. I see dealing with homelessness as a public good,” Blakespear said. “To me, these societal problems should be worked on at all levels.”
Blakespear added she believes the state and local government should be more involved in housing matters, particularly when it comes to funding.
Kranz, who continued to show strong support for the initiative in the face of staunch opposition from his colleagues on the council, said while he agreed state and federal governments should provide more resources to cities, he still believes the new state housing laws are bad for Encinitas.
“We are a very creative bunch,” Kranz said. “We have some very creative people in our community. And we’re all very dedicated to building more housing to address the housing shortage.”
Kranz added he would be collecting signatures himself for the petition before declining to make a motion on the support of Our Neighborhood Voices.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Senate bills 9 & 10 made it easier for cities to build affordable housing units. However, the new housing laws make it easier for cities to build high density units without affordability requirements or local review.