ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Planning Commission approved a minor use permit for the Alila Marea Beach Resort at last Thursday’s meeting, allowing the 130-room resort to serve alcohol on-site and conduct valet car service on the property.
The resort, under construction at 2100 North Coast Highway 101 in northern Leucadia, requested the commission approve the property for alcohol services to accommodate a poolside bar, an event ballroom and a restaurant inside the establishment as well as valet car services. The permit was granted, but altered the hours for alcohol service on the property.
Concerns were raised by the board and members of the public around how the resort would affect the neighborhood. Encinitas resident Desiré Smith believes the city and neighborhood that drew her here several years ago is changing too fast. She’s worried the additional traffic from the new resort, combined with future projects, is more than the La Costa corridor can handle.
“We already have a speeding problem in Leucadia. Now, we are going to add more people and I don’t see how things are going to improve,” Smith said. “‘I think it’s important to grow, I totally believe in that. But I think you have to do it with respect for the community. You have to respect the residents, that’s what makes a community.”
The board agreed to limit the hours of the pool patio and live music to 8 p.m. to be considerate to the residents of Seabluffe, a residential community directly south of the resort. Several residents voiced concerns about resort guests spilling out of the hotel bar or ballroom for a breath of fresh air and then onto the beach.
The concerns were echoed by several board members, including Amy Flicker, who was concerned about the new resort setting a bad precedent.
“With what’s coming down our pipeline, with what’s coming down La Costa, please guys, please, for the Leucadians that live here, please be a little bit more conservative than not,” Flicker said.
Planning Commission Chair Bruce Ehlers said the board will continue to do what it believes is right for the people of Encinitas.
“This is protecting the community character, but it’s really protecting the neighboring community of Leucadia,” Ehlers said. “I think we did what those people would want.”