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Quality of Life

Encinitas Elects A New Mayor, Says No To Measure T

Encinitas city councilwoman and mayoral candidate Catherine Blakespear, Oct. 20, 2016
Katie Schoolov
Encinitas city councilwoman and mayoral candidate Catherine Blakespear, Oct. 20, 2016

The city of Encinitas will have a new mayor. Catherine Blakespear defeated her challenger, Paul Gaspar, the husband of the current mayor, Kristin Gaspar.

One of Blakespear‘s first priorities will be to try — yet again — to get consensus on where to build more housing in the coastal city.

Encinitas residents rejected Measure T, a plan that would have finally brought the city into compliance with state law requiring every jurisdiction to have an approved "Housing Element." The city is the only one in San Diego County without a plan defining where new housing can be built in the future.

Mayor-elect Catherine Blakespear said, without passing a plan, the city is vulnerable to ongoing lawsuits from developers and environmental advocates.

“The voters have spoken,” she said. “So we need to still comply with state law somehow. I don’t know how we are going to get compliant with state law, but we need to get compliant with state law."

Attorney Marco Gonzales of the Coast Law Group wrote in an email that he will delay filing a lawsuit to see what the Encinitas City Council will do next. He wants the council to declare that state law pre-empts a local initiative, Proposition A, passed in 2013, which requires a public vote on new projects in Encinitas that increase density and height limits.

“Given that Catherine Blakespear was elected mayor, the council now has to decide when (and) how to fill her seat. I will be letting the city know that I will wait on filing suit until it has filled her seat and considered my demand in closed session as a full council,” he wrote. “If the city is unwilling to agree this is true, we’ll sue."

Blakespear was elected mayor with 67 percent of the vote. Kristin Gaspar, who appears to have lost her race to unseat incumbent County Supervisor Dave Roberts, will give up the seat in mid December.