by Julie Thunder
After the Mayor and City Council voted to add 15 Encinitas properties to the city’s Housing Element, Mayor Blakespear said that approval “does not necessarily mean they [upzoned parcels] will be built right away…I don’t think we’ll have a bonanza of building.”
But shortly after that, when the Housing Element was certified by the state, it took less than 2 weeks for the developer of the property called the “Gaffney/Goodson” site at 200 Rancho Santa Fe Road, to submit plans for a 277-unit, 69-foot tall apartment complex.
The site is actually four connected parcels that wrap around the back of the 7-11 store at Rancho Santa Fe Road and Encinitas Boulevard. The Housing Element overlay zoning changed each parcel from the RR2 zone (Rural Residential, 2 homes per acre) to R30 (no longer rural, and now 30 homes per acre). The developer, Randy Goodson, is trying to increase density to even higher than R30 by claiming ‘by-right’ status.
Goodson’s attorney claims that by-right status allows the increased height and density, as well as dropping the traffic studies and greenhouse gas study. He also states that they are exceeding the 3-story height limit and will build a 4-story complex.
At last week’s Planning Commission hearing, several Olivenhain residents showed up to oppose the Goodson project. One of them, Julianna Maxim, said that the opponents are ‘neither against affordable housing nor against densification, but are simply against bad development.’
In fact, when planning is done well, it preserves the best aspects of a city and changes its worst. The Goodson project does the opposite – it destroys the neighborhood’s character and amplifies the existing traffic problems. Mr Goodson, whose land became 15 times more valuable overnight, is the clear winner in this project. Good planning would tame the monster you spawned through your arbitrary rezoning. If we are to live with the density of the big city, your planning should also deliver some of its benefits, such as richer public spaces and better streets. This project bulldozes its way through a bird sanctuary where owls nest. Finally, I’m here because despite everything, I still believe in the political process, which should give the constituents some say over the future of their neighborhoods. Your housing element may prove very profitable for one owner. You now have a public duty to make its development better for us all.Julianna Maxim to the Planning Commission, November 21, 2019
After the opponents spoke, the City Attorney said that a development application has been submitted and staff is reviewing it. He went on to point out that the City is required to “process the application in accordance with its entitlement procedures. Once the application is complete, there will be a public hearing in front of the planning commission”, but he gave no indication of when that would be.
Zoning Map of Encinitas by parcel
(useful interactive map tool that hasn’t been updated with the Housing Element R30 parcels, yet)