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Voters reject senior care facility

Above: Under Proposition T, zoning changes in the city that alter or increase the density usage of a lot are subject to a vote of the people.

SOLANA BEACH — The official vote is in: a ballot measure meant to allow for a second senior care facility in Solana Beach received a final “no” stamp from voters.

Measure B has been in the making for years, with developer RhodesMoore LLC aiming to bring a senior care facility with up to 99 beds to a lot off of Genevieve Street, just east of the I-5.

A special election held in early May solicited voter input on the project’s specific plan overlay — a “yes” vote on the measure would have allowed for an increase in the 2.9-acre lot’s allowed density.

The lot is currently zoned for one to two dwelling units per acre (“estate residential”) — and for now, will remain that way.

The project drew criticism and condemnation from the surrounding Marine View Avenue neighborhood, a quiet and rural corner of the coastal city. Residents’ primary concern was that the facility would bring overwhelming traffic to the neighborhood.

In a relatively close vote, 51.52% of participating Solana Beach voters marked “no” on their mail-in ballots. The final vote came out at 1,727 Solana Beach residents voting “no,” and 1,625 voting “yes.”

The project’s developer, John DeWald, said the turnout of 36% of eligible voters participating was “far more than we expected.”

The cost of the special election was incurred by the developer, at a total of $125,000.

DeWald said the election’s outcome is a representation of “why ballot box voting isn’t a good idea.”

“It doesn’t allow a true analysis of the issue,” he said. “There were a lot of misperceptions and false information out there.”

DeWald told The Coast News that the lot’s owners are gauging alternative uses.

“Something will be built there,” he said. “… I think that’s the risk that the neighbors are willing to take, is that it could be high density housing.”

Rosemary Linden, a member of the Marine View Homeowners Association, said residents voted to “preserve the current, sensible ER-2 zoning,” and if faced with another potential zoning change in the future?

“We’re confident that we’d be able to mobilize against it even more quickly and effectively,” she said in an email to The Coast News.

Under Proposition T, zoning changes in the city that alter or up the density usage of a lot are subject to a vote of the people.

In the two months leading up to the election, Linden and other neighbors “spent countless hours” delivering “No on Measure B” flyers in Solana Beach, communicating with area residents, building an informational website and holding up signs at freeway entrances in order to oppose the project.

Linden called the outcome a “win for Solana Beach residents and a win for grassroots activism.”