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Community Commentary Opinion

Opinion: One plan, two faces

By Susan Turney

Measure U Units per Acre Buildable Acres Total Units
Number shown residents 25 63 1,504
Number given developers 30 86 2,484

Measure U is two-faced. One side is for residents and the other for developers. In a sleight of hand not divulged to residents, Measure U gave developers 65% more units above what voters were told.  Measure U is not 1,504 units but instead 2,566.

Understanding the math is simple, with just two factors. One is the number of units per acre and the second the amount of land available for building on a parcel. 

Units per acre is dictated at R30 (30 units per acre) by the department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). That is the first factor: 30 units per acre.

The second factor is the amount of land available to build on a parcel. This amount is reduced from “gross buildable” to “net buildable” after excluding unbuildable areas because of any number of issues (swampland, steep hills). 

The Measure U face the city showed residents was 1,504 high-density units. 

This was based on R25 – unacceptable under state law – and net buildable acreage. The face the city showed developers was based on R30 and gross buildable acreage. 

Let’s use a couple of actual examples, the Seacoast Church and Baldwin & Sons properties. For Seacoast, residents were told the buildable acreage was 1.4 acres, but the developer was given 4.5 acres. 

This results in 134 units for the builder versus 35 presented to residents. The Baldwin & Sons density bonus project off Quail Gardens Dr. proposes 485 units versus the 225 quoted to residents.

It gets even worse: the 1,504 plan shown residents assumes zero density bonus units even though most Measure U sites will use density bonus. Add another 35% for density bonus on top of 2,484 for a whopping 3,354 potential units. The Goodson project in Olivenhain, first out of the Measure U chute, turns 151 units promised residents into 283.

This is a preview of what to expect from this two-faced plan.   

I had to piece together data from two city documents and exchange several emails with city staff to put this information together. Most residents will not make this effort and the City counts on that. All sitting Council members approved this two-faced plan. Encinitas is now committed legally to allowing the potential for double the units told to residents.

Now this Council has taken Proposition A to court, asking a judge to eliminate our Prop A right to vote on zoning increases for all future Housing Element Updates. 

When the 2021 housing cycle numbers must be met, imagine how many units this Council will give developers once they remove our Prop A vote and get to wear only one face, the one shown developers.

This Council showed one face to residents and another to developers. Three of these Council members are asking for your vote in November. Which face will they show you to get your vote?

Susan Turney is a candidate for the District 2 seat on the Encinitas City Council

14 comments

John Joseph Helly June 20, 2020 at 12:21 pm

What can be done to prevent this? This double-dealing is typical of patterns of behavior that often reveal other self-dealing strategies for related deceptions. Liars have a distorted view of their self-importance and this frequently leads to corruption in public officials.

Eileen June 15, 2020 at 5:55 pm

Thank you, now on to a StreetScape expose

Ron Ranson June 15, 2020 at 5:54 pm

Is this deal set in stone? What can be done, if anything, to stop it?

John Eldon July 6, 2020 at 5:35 am

Join me at LivableCalifornia.org. Most of the upzoning pressure is coming from the Democrat-controlled state legislature and its rubber stamp governor. There are currently at least 9 bills being rushed through the senate and assembly, without the usual series of committee hearings, to usurp local control and push high density everywhere in the state.

In Encinitas we need a city council that is committed to standing with other cities up and down the California coast to oppose the Wiener/Atkins developer-driven juggernaut. There are BIA forces out there that covet the very land your house sits on, who would like nothing better than to herd all of us into high rises where they can control us, and where we cannot generate our own solar power, grow our own food, work on our own cars, or otherwise enjoy a modicum of elbow room and peace and quiet. The City of Encinitas was founded in 1986 specifically to seize zoning control from then-supervisor Paul Eckert, who was hell-bent on upzoning as much of Encinitas as he possibly could, to the benefit of his developer buddies. I coauthored our original 1989 general plan, which envision growth that was compatible with its surroundings, with our infrastructure limitations, with our water supply realities, etc.

Geri June 15, 2020 at 1:22 pm

Thank you, Susan. You three have our family’s votes and we will pass the word to save Encinitas. Every pass the word: Thunder, Turney and Riley!

Denise June 14, 2020 at 8:46 am

Thank you Susan. Let’s overhaul the current city council and inject efficiency and transparency into Encinitas government!

Kym McQuiston June 13, 2020 at 7:16 am

Thank you Susan! Finally, logically written & explained for all of us. You know you have our vote!

Bonzer June 12, 2020 at 6:05 pm

We are in a battle for the soul of Encinitas. Thunder, Turney and Riley are the residents Candidates and our only hope for a sustainable, residents first Future.

The current Council and Mayor are in the pocket of the Builders.

Blackespear, Kranz, Mosca *who embezzled money from Pasadena and was ran out of town*, and Hinze should just move to Huntington/Newport. If they want to create Orange county just move there! They want to create a town that looks like Huntington, with the prices of Newport while the Builders are walking away LAUGHING counting their money at how inept and spineless Encinitas is.

How many of our current council members have even BOUGHT their own homes? *Maybe 2*, yet they are experts on housing?

Jennifer Benedict June 12, 2020 at 4:34 pm

THANKYOU Susan ! How annoying that you EVEN had to do all this work, but we sure appreciate it and you have my vote!!!

Julie Thunder June 12, 2020 at 4:32 pm

Susan Turney’s work here reveals the fundamental problem with Measure “U” and our Housing Plan – dishonesty by our City leaders and overreach by our State Government. Many thanks for the hard work she put into this so that people will know what is really being done while we are all busy making a living so we can pay our taxes that fund this city.
Signed, Julie Thunder, candidate for Mayor of Encinitas

Sheila S. Cameron June 12, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Thank you Susan for your research, your intelligence, and integrity in pointing out how this Mayor Blakespear and Council Members Kranz, Mosca, Hubbard and Hinze are partnering with the Building Industry Association (BIA) but suing their own Citizens to allow the destruction of our Community Character and Quality of Life. If you love Encinitas, vote for Thunder, Turney, and Riley in November.

Tree Hugger June 12, 2020 at 2:57 pm

Great explanation!

MMM June 12, 2020 at 2:02 pm

Susan, you have our vote! Nice work on this and you are EXACTLY what Encinitas needs.

Janis Smith June 12, 2020 at 12:53 pm

I want to be part of getting new people on our city cancel and have them stop the actions of the current members. The three need to be replaced.

Comments are closed.