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Encinitas’ Right To Vote Initiative May Set Precedent

The success of Encinitas' Proposition A, also known as the Right to Vote initiative, means Encinitas residents will be able to vote on future development projects that are more dense or higher than the city’s current general plan allows.

Cars cruise beneath the Encinitas sign on South Coast Highway, 2013

Aired 6/21/13 on KPBS News.

Encinitas' Proposition A, which passed this week, could set a precedent for other communities looking for more local control over future growth. Some, however, worry about the effects of ballot box planning.

Proponent Bruce Ehler said the vote proves residents want more local control.

“I think it’s going to save the small beach town community character of Encinitas for many years to come and hopefully in perpetuity,” he said.

But Susan Tinsky of the San Diego Housing Federation said the result will make it very hard for Encinitas to meet its state-mandated goals to build affordable housing

“The ability for folks to come in and develop affordable housing in an economical way is going to be very, very difficult,” Tinsky said. “It’s going to be subject to voter whimsy. So, I think there’s a real threat of litigation at this point.”

Tinsky said she believes ballot box planning is a bad idea.

But Ehlers said he believes the initiative sends a signal to elected officials that it’s time for the city to start pushing back against regional goals for growth and California state mandated goals for affordable housing.

He said a couple of other coastal cities have already approached him to ask about putting a similar measure on the ballot in their communities.

The Urban Land Institute will hold a debate on ballot box planning July 9th, using Proposition A as a case study.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | June 21, 2013 at 5:51 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

It will be interesting to see where this trend goes. Expect the building industry to sink big money into trying to kill the next initiative.

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Avatar for user 'Leucadian'

Leucadian | June 22, 2013 at 6:35 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Escondido already set precedent with a similar initiative more than 10 years ago. Also, I completely disagree with Tinsky's dire prognosis. It WON'T be hard for Encinitas to meet its affordable housing mandate if SANDAG's numbers are readjusted to reflect, accurately, our population and it's growth curve, and an AMNESTY is initiated, as Encinitas had in the early 90's, to bring the Granny Flats that are all over our city onto the books as affordable housing units. At this point, the City has not wanted to consider another amnesty program, that could be subsidized by the City, because it has "partnered" with development interests, who wanted to be able to build up to five story mixed use high density projects, when there would still be no guarantee of the final number of affordable units brought into the system, only "potential units." Encinitas already has a huge potential for affordable housing, if existing or potential accessory dwelling units are counted.

Mayor Barth has been told about and asked about reinstating an amnesty program, repeatedly. She has failed to address the suggestion, which was also brought to her, and all of Council by the Encinitas Taxpayer Association. Our City officials worked against the people, not for us, by writing arguments against Prop A. We will remember at the ballot box, in November of 2014.

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Avatar for user 'wcvarones'

wcvarones | June 23, 2013 at 6:44 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Interesting that Susan Tinsky of the "San Diego Housing Federation" was chosen to represent the opposing view.

Who funds the San Diego Housing Federation? Developers, realtors, attorneys, and crony capitalist redevelopment agencies.

High-density development does not equal affordable housing, and one does not require the other.

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | June 23, 2013 at 7:46 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

I've never seen a housing sector anywhere provide affordable housing. That's why the working class rents. Especially in a beach town where real estate prices will always naturally be higher.

The disappointment comes from the myopic greed of developers wanting to make extremely high profits at the expense of the resident's quality of life.

Hopefully, the courts will honor the will of the people and see through the BS that will surely be coming their way. Talk about frivolous lawsuits!

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