The Coast News Group
Community CommentaryOpinion

Letter: Olivenhain connects to Elfin Forest?

Are Encinitas residents aware that a privately funded, two-lane paved road has recently been completed, providing a direct path between Olivenhain and Elfin Forest?

If not, you are not alone.

Apparently,  few, if any, people in our city government had any knowledge that this “private” road was being constructed. Or that it crossed Encinitas-controlled property. Or that it connects directly to an Encinitas-controlled city street.

So why is this new road important?

Because it significantly impacts fire evacuation safety for the residents of Olivenhain!

This new, fully paved road replaces a rustic 4WD-only path (Canyon De Oro) that previously existed.

With this road, during a wildfire evacuation, people (and horses) from this area will flood onto Olivenhain’s primary paved route (Lone Jack Road to Rancho Santa Fe Road) for evacuation.

As was pointed out in the August newsletter of the Olivenhain Fire Safe Council (which summarized the Aug. 22 Wild Fire Evacuation Workshop), the city-sponsored Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), performed by Fitch and Associates, “didn’t account for the new road that was recently paved between Elfin Forest and Olivenhain, which already has significantly increased traffic on Lone Jack.”   

My primary question is:  How can a “private” road paid for by non-Encinitas homeowners be constructed over land controlled by Encinitas and San Diego County (per the city map of parcels, roads and rights-of-way), that impacts the wildfire evacuation safety of a major portion of Encinitas and surrounding communities.

How could such a new road affecting the safety of hundreds of Encinitas residents have been constructed without any oversight of our Planning Commission or City Council?

Why is no one in our city government apparently worried about this?

At a minimum, I believe the Encinitas Fire Department would be well within its rights to install a gate (that it would control) where this new road intersects Encinitas’ Fortuna Ranch Road, similar to the one that currently exists on LL Ranch.

I urge city government officials to take a serious look at this issue and work to ameliorate the negative impacts of this unplanned and unapproved fire safety hazard.

Gary Koop


1 comment

Bart Salatka September 30, 2022 at 4:49 pm

To my mind, this road is another way out of Olivenhain. It should be advertised and considered a benefit to all who might need to get out quickly in case of a fire.

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