Skip to main content

Ruling: Encinitas Required To Adopt A State-Approved Housing Plan

Single-family homes in Encinitas were built as a result of a density bonus th...

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Above: Single-family homes in Encinitas were built as a result of a density bonus that permits the developer to build more homes per acre in return for including a home categorized as affordable, Oct. 20, 2016.

A Superior Court judge issued his final ruling this week that the Encinitas City Council must come up with a housing plan that meets state approved targets for affordable housing within the next four months.

The ruling comes after years of litigation as Encinitas residents argued their local proposition outweighed state law.

Encinitas is the only city in San Diego County without a state-approved housing plan. In 2013, Encinitas residents voted for Proposition A, that required zoning changes like higher density housing or increased height limits to go to a vote of the people. Since then, the voters have rejected a number of higher density housing plans, even after months of public input.

Measure U, a final attempt to reach consensus, failed at the polls this November, and Judge Ronald Frazier ruled that the city has reached an impasse. He did not order the city to adopt Measure U, which might not meet state housing goals anyway. Frazier ordered the city council to work with the California Department of Housing and Community Development to adopt a state-approved plan within 120 days.

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said the ruling puts the power to adopt a housing plan back in the hands of the city council.

“It’s going to continue to be a struggle to balance the people who are opposed to adding housing with the need to add it because it’s state law and we have a housing crisis and there’s a homelessness epidemic,” Blakespear said. “It’s not an easy position to be in, but really that’s what we are elected to do.”

Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi is a pro-bono attorney for Tenants United, one of the plaintiffs.

“As a result of this ruling, the city must take steps to rezone adequate sites to accommodate the affordable housing needs of low-income residents, which is something the city has not done for decades,” Ijadi-Maghsoodi said. “Ao we are closer to getting the city to follow the law and accommodate the needs of its most vulnerable residents.”

Frazier did not completely overrule Proposition A. A public vote on zoning changes could be allowed in the next housing cycle that begins in 2021.

Video by Roland Lizarondo

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.