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Why I’m voting no on Prop A

By Lisa Shaffer

DISCLAIMER: Consistent with government code 54965, no public resources were used in the preparation or dissemination of this statement. I prepared it on my personal computer, as a personal statement. 

I want to limit development in Encinitas, so I’m going to vote no on Prop A. I appreciate that the proponents believe the initiative will be good for our community. I understand that they are responding to past decisions and trying to close what they see as loopholes. But they also want to impose city-wide development rules that would undo some locally-defined choices made by residents about their own individual communities, and I don’t agree with that. I also have concerns about possible unintended consequences of the initiative.

I plan to vote no because:

Prop A is not needed to fix the major loophole in the General Plan. The council is in the process of eliminating the General Plan provision that allows four-fifths of the council to approve any change in density by declaring a “public benefit” without a public vote. We plan to submit this change and the whole updated General Plan to a public vote in 2014 so a future council can’t undo the changes. Prop A is not needed to fix this problem.

Prop A would override the “specific plans” that were worked out by community groups to enable unique zoning arrangements that serve the specific area (Leucadia, Downtown, Cardiff). Prop A would impact historic preservation plans and undermine unique community character decisions made by residents in each neighborhood.

The requirement that more projects would have to be decided by a public vote is likely to result in more high density development rather than less, regardless of a public vote (see below).

I want the council to have time to develop a thoughtful, coherent updated General Plan that will be submitted to a public vote once.

This will enable us to incorporate community input and fix problems from the past without burdening either property owners or voters with special elections on specific projects.

Why do I think the initiative could lead to more development? The reason: state density bonus law. Regardless of what the General Plan and the initiative may say, if a developer includes one or more affordable units in a development, the city must allow higher density and grant waivers of development standards in most cases, if requested. The harder we make it for property owners to build within our existing land use policies, the more likely they are to use the density bonus law to circumvent our constraints. Density bonus waivers do not need a public vote regardless of Prop. A.

There is uncertainty about the impact of the initiative on height limits, but there is no question that state density bonus law trumps local codes. There are already several density bonus projects in our community that do not fit well in their neighborhoods. Prop A will not prevent such projects – in fact it could encourage more of them. That would not be good for Encinitas.

Encinitas has a new planning director and a new council. Give us a chance to fix the problems of the past and set us on a strong, clear path that encourages only development that enhances quality of life. Your voices are being heard. Things are changing. Let’s not make it any more difficult to do the right thing.

I am voting no on Proposition A.

-Lisa Shaffer is the deputy mayor of the city of Encinitas

Setting the record straight on Prop A

I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Leucadia-Encinitas Town Council (L-ETC). We are anxious to clarify a statement that was printed in the May 3, 2013 edition of The Coast News.

In her community commentary encouraging people to “Vote Yes on Prop A” (pages 4 and 26), Lynn Marr misrepresents the position of the board of the L-ETC when she states, “That’s why Leucadia Town Council members, including Fred Caldwell who’s also on the board of Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association…”. Fred Caldwell is a valued member of long standing on our board and he would never presume to speak for the entire board. Neither would he speak for the entire board of the L101 without their approval.

We would like to make our position clear. The L-ETC is a nonprofit organization and it is our long-standing policy for the board not to take a stand, either way, on candidates or political issues. Instead, we provide information about the issues to our members and Encinitas citizens in general. We trust that a well-informed public is able to make their own decisions. That is why L-ETC is hosting a community forum to discuss this issue.

The public is invited to hear the pros and cons of Prop A, the Right-to-Vote Initiative, on Thursday, May 16,in the Community Room at the Encinitas Library located at 540 Cornish Drive. The program will offer two subjects. At 6:30, Councilman Tony Kranz will present a North County Transit District update on at-grade crossings and other Railroad Corridor issues. At 7:15, Bruce Ehlers and Steve Shackelton will present the pro and con sides of Prop A, the Right-to-Vote Initiative. There will be an opportunity for questions from the audience at both presentations.

The L-ETC board of directors appreciates your efforts to keep the public accurately well informed on local issues.

Yours sincerely,

Kathleen Lees

Secretary to the Board

Leucadia-Encinitas Town Council

Leucadia 101 Main Street’s stance on Prop A

Leucadia 101 never agreed to have our logo, our name or any of our communication be used by the No on Prop A organization and we have asked them to refrain from using it in the future. We do not have a budget to send out flyers, put ads in the paper or have legal representation to dispel rumors and we have submitted this letter to the Coast News for our larger public explanation of our position.

As a Board, Leucadia 101 voted to support our City Council on their stance on Prop A. While the result was not unanimous, the overall majority approved the support of the Council’s position. The “one size fits all” approach of Prop A creates problems in Leucadia and doesn’t solve the predicaments that really affect our district. These issues center around reduced parking and increased density that recently and even under Prop A would be allowed through the state bonus density law. State law trumps local planning controls like those proposed under Prop A. Small business owned by people like Fred Caldwell need parking for their business and due to the current state law they has lost some valuable street parking. At this time we believe that the current City Council that was elected by the citizens of Encinitas will incorporate the parts of Prop A that can be successful throughout all of Encinitas.

As the Board discussed the Right-to-Vote language and the city prepared documents the question was raised, “Is now the time to look at the North 101 Specific Plan to see if some of Prop A can be incorporated, are there other incentives that can be offer to stop the state bonus density efforts that reduce parking requirements, increase density and reduce setbacks, what is the vision for Leucadia since the N101SP was completed in 1997?” We as a Board will be discussing the possibility of a revision to N101SP amongst ourselves, with our membership and friends. N101SP was drafted by Leucadians for Leucadia and that is how Leucadia should be guided toward the future.

— William Morrison

President, Leucadia Main Street



MeForWe June 17, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Prop A – not “B” – upholds the current General Plan, which definitely does not make it “recessive.” Those who do not want to vote alongside developers and building industry interests from as far away as Chicago will vote “YES” on A.

Let’s have residents and not special interests decide our growth. Threats of Encinitas becoming a slum are about as far-fetched as it comes.

Harry June 17, 2013 at 11:05 am


Thankfully, for the first time in years, we have a City Council that is acting like adults and can agree on important city issues..

It is strange that this almost overnight change has been brought about by one of the most recessive propositions ever to make it to the ballot. Proposition A is simply – “:bad law”. Perrhaps its intentions are good; but its results will end Encinitas as we know it.

Although its framers would have us believe it creates a more democratic environment for the progress of the city, it is, in reality, a sure impediment to intelligent, well-planned, carefully considered growth. If we fail to keep pace with improvements in the other surrounding cities, Encinitas will become a slum neighborhood for the entire North County with ever decreasing property values and ever increasing attractions for low wage workers. I am very much for thoughtful planning and progress within the guide lines already established but, as written, Proposation B, if passed, will begin an era of zero growth, zero progress and zero improvement within ALL areas of our city. PLEASE consider carefully and VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION B. Join the Council, unanimously agreed, and all intelligent citizens to rid ourselves of this attempt by a group of malcontents who fail to see the error of their thinking and have already cost the City way too much in time and funds

Most important – PLEASE VOTE … this is NOT an issue to be dismissed lightly .. and please VOITE “NO”

Lynn Marr May 15, 2013 at 11:44 pm

While Kathleen Lees has apologized and admitted her mistake to me, privately; she had already “done the deed” by incorrectly chastising me, publicly, in her May 10 Community Commentary, detailed above. I did not misrepresent anything. Kathleen Lees simply misunderstood and blamed her confusion and apprehension on me. I stand by my statement, and add the following edit, to clarify:

Past Encinitas Councilmembers didn’t support the neighbors involved in the process, but overrode the CAB’s (Community Advisory Board’s) and the SPARC’s (Specific Plan Action Review Committee’s) recommendations for the North 101 Specific Plan to be capped at 30 ft, two stories, in order to remain consistent with our General Plan. That’s one of many reasons why Leucadia Town Council members, including Kathleen Lindemann, Rachelle Collier, and Fred Caldwell, who’s also on the board of Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association, support the right-to-vote-on-upzoning initiative, Prop A. We will be voting YES!

kathleen2 May 13, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Norm, I respectfully disagree with you. I wonder what makes you believe that the people supporting Yes on A are not highly informed individuals. Norm, do you read council agendas, planning commsion agendas, traffic agendas and their associated reports? Do you double check all information? We do.
I do not think we should rely on a smaller group of more informed people to make land use decisions. I beleive that we should rely on a large group of informed people to make good land use decisions.
As I interact with people throughout this city I am continuely impressed with the informed inteligent people I meet.

Norm Miller May 13, 2013 at 7:23 pm

I believe that the right to vote in Encinitas movement is misguided and will not help the long run economic viability or efficiency of government in our modest city. We need a group of representatives to learn in depth about every land use proposal and not rely on sound bite slogans as is the case with this mis-named right to vote label. It is a right to create a barrage of ads and ill informed people deciding on what is important in every community. We should rely on a smaller albeit more informed group to make land use decisions in Encinitas.

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