Encinitas Council Approves $10 Million Bond To Buy Pacific View
The site of the old Pacific View school in Encinitas is a block from nearby bluffs that have a terrific ocean view. The City Council voted to buy it in March, arguing it’s an historic property that should be maintained for public use. But the vote was split 3-2, with the council minority arguing the price was too steep.
The council majority this week approved a $10 million bond, to cover the cost negotiated with the school district to purchase the site. The annual cost to the city to pay back the bond is more than $800,000.
Encinitas’ appointed mayor, Kristin Gaspar, has said the price is too high, and she was one of two council members who chose not to vote for the bond.
Gaspar is running to become the city’s first elected mayor in November. She is challenged by four other candidates, including City Councilman Tony Kranz, who has been a prime mover in the long process of reaching an agreement to buy Pacific View.
Kranz said the purchase is worth it to preserve the site from private development. He added that land values are high in Encinitas and this will always remain a good investment for the city.
Several ideas have been floated for the property, including putting an arts center there.
Kranz said the city is looking for private or nonprofit investment to manifest the vision. In the meantime, he said, “There’s some great ideas that we can model and turn that site into a gathering place without investing a whole lot of money."
An engineering survey of the old school buildings still on the site will determine whether they can be fixed up and repurposed, or if any new vision would require a completely new building.
This year is the first time Encinitas residents will elect a mayor, who until now was appointed by the council. This has been a divisive issue among the candidates this election.