Having read Mr. Doug Fiske’s “community commentary” in The Coast News (dated Jan. 25), we had to wonder where this person is getting his false information and interpretation about the Leucadia Streetscape Plan.
Let’s get the facts straight:
The Streetscape’s purpose is not about “gentrifying” the North Coast Highway Corridor Highway 101. City Council and Main Street organizations don’t “gentrify” anything, anywhere and Leucadia is not a “redevelopment” district where gentrification is an objective typically.
A “Streetscape” is about improving a “main street.” This is the case with the Leucadia Streetscape Plan. It’s about beautifying and improving upon our Highway 101 Leucadia “main street” and infrastructure: sidewalks, curbs, gutters, roads, medians, bike ways, trees (+900 planned), greenery, even parking facilities.
It is also about making the “main street” safer and more usable by a variety of user types, that is, pedestrians, bicyclists, families, residents, visitors and even pets! It has nothing to do with private property.
Private property owners do what they want with their properties. They can’t touch the street. The city can’t touch private property as a rule and by law. An enhanced Leucadia “Streetscape” and “main street” will create the “facelift” you may be speaking about in your commentary — we can only hope — and provided the vocal minority, which seems to be on a letter writing crusade in an attempt to squelch what the majority of Leucadians are in favor of, is not able to do away with this positive, fully vetted, Leucadia vision plan (Leucadia Streetscape Plan) already in place and embraced by the community majority at large.
The Leucadia Main Street Association (L101) is not a group of commercial real estate owners and developers from out of town and is not significantly subsidized by the city of Encinitas.
To the contrary, the L101 is comprised of an all-volunteer board of directors, consisting of local residents (also business owners) who graciously volunteer their time trying to help Leucadia become a better place.
Only two of the 13 board members own real estate on Highway 101. Two of our board members rented space and found they could not make it in Leucadia, as other businesses have as well (too many to name), given the hostile road conditions and current physical environment that does not encourage buying enough local business.
The volunteer (unpaid) president of L101 is William Morrison, a landscape architect, also a Leucadian, who has served tirelessly as board president and is a founding member of the group.
He is not paid for his position and holds no contract with the city of Encinitas nor has he ever. The board members are all quality of life advocates, have lived in the immediate community for years and love their Leucadia/Encinitas and want to see it improve along with the majority of the community. No one from the board wants a Starbucks, the GAP or three-to-five story office buildings along our main street Highway 101.
The Streetscape concept was not imposed by outsiders.
It has been fully vetted, a number of times and over the years by the community dating back to 1992 when the Leucadia Specific Plan was adopted by the community and approved by the past City Council.
The same feedback (from the Leucadia Specific Plan/vision plan from 1992) was received when the Streetscape community meetings and workshops began in 2007 leading up to the Streetscape Plan concept 4A being adopted by the City Council in January 2010 (note: four council members voted for it, not three as as was suggested) in January 2010 with heavy support by the community.
This is not a plan that was stuffed down anyone’s throats at any point in time. It is in fact the culmination of decades of feedback and goal setting/visioning from the public and business owners on Highway 101.
As usual, there will always be people who prefer to see no change in Leucadia and to “keep it funky.”
Finally, this is no “trendy, generic plan” being imposed on your (or my) neighborhood. It’s what the majority of Leucadians and businesses want for the downtown Leucadia area.
Even residents of surrounding cities want an improved Leucadia downtown they can safely visit and enjoy. After decades of paying property taxes with few to no improvements in our seaside town, it’s now Leucadia’s time.
The vision is for a more beautiful coastal highway corridor, where visitors and residents alike can come to recreate, relax, shop and dine without concern for their safety, and where businesses thrive.
It’s about preserving the good of what we have and enhancing what no longer works! I hope this sets the record straight. Thank you.
Patricia Bell is a Leucadia 101 MainStreet Association board member and Leucadia resident.