Understanding Encinitas Proposition A

Encinitas proposes Proposition A, where residents of Encinitas would be able to vote on future development. 

As a resident of Encinitas it is important that you know about Proposition A and what it may mean for you.

What is Proposition A?

Proposition A is a “Right to Vote” ballot initiative that would require a majority vote in order for changes to planning policy to be made. The initiative is being spearheaded by Encinitas residents to have any development that may significantly change the look of the city to be put to a vote of the people, specifically any structures that would be over 30 feet.

While Encinitas city council members have been less pro-development than other their predecessors, some in the community, such as former city planning commissioner Bruce Ehlers, are concerned about the ability of the city council to stand up to the interests of developers when current members leave and newly elected officials are appointed.

Controversy Over Proposition A

Ehlers, a key proponent of the new proposition, believes that this “Right to Vote” initiative will help the citizens of Encinitas decide how their city looks in the years to come and prevent developers from building structures that impede the overall aesthetic of the city.

In an interview with Encinitas Patch, Ehlers stated:

“We end up with developer money chasing development opportunities, resulting in taller and taller buildings and more and more density, not for the benefit of the community but for the benefit of the developers.”

A resident of over 30 years, Ehlers understands that there has been significant growth throughout Encinitas, but that the essence of a small town community has withstood expansion, and he hopes that Proposition A will allow that to continue.

Members of the Encinitas city council are concerned, however, that by putting to a vote all structures over 30 feet tall, will restrict development of Encinitas in the manner that perhaps it needs to grow.

Mayor Teresa Barth proposes Proposition A, as do the members of the Encinitas city council, as it could impede development too much and potentially limit growth in a community that expects the population to grow by 15,000 over the next three decades.

City council members hope that instead of a project-by-project vote, that input on a new city plan general update could be more effective without limiting development. Mayor Barth explained her concerns regarding developers’ ability to build taller buildings through density bonuses should Prop. A pass and how the initiative may not work:

“It will probably, in my opinion, force more developers to go the route of the density bonus because we’re going to make things so restrictive and add costs by requiring an election. You know, ballot box planning doesn’t always work. It rarely does, in all honesty, because planning is a very complex process.”

What do you think of Proposition A? Are you for or against it? Let me know in the Comments below.

By Linda Moore

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