Encinitas Boulevard Apartments developer collects public input
Up to 268 people attended a virtual meeting on July 23 to hear more about the plans for Encinitas Boulevard Apartments, a five-story, multi-family apartment complex proposed on Encinitas Boulevard and Rancho Santa Fe Road.
The meeting was not affiliated with the Encinitas Planning Commission or City Council, but was rather an informational Citizen Participation Plan (CPP) meeting for the developers to provide an opportunity for people to submit questions or comments on the proposed project. Developer Randy Goodson said all questions received during the meeting and via virtual comment cards will be addressed in a final CPP report to city staff, which will be made public.
“We hope that you can see the benefits that this will bring to the community. We know that any time there’s change, people are fearful of what that change might bring,” Goodson said. “We really believe this will be very positive…and provide for a much broader range of housing for the city.”
Due to technical difficulties, about 150 people were left in the waiting room of the Zoom call for about 15 minutes. When they were allowed into the call, Goodson went back over the portion of the presentation that had been missed.
On July 29, the Olivenhain Town Council (OTC) submitted a letter to the planning commission and the city council stating they were “outraged” by how the meeting was conducted by the project applicant.
“The project applicant refused to answer questions directly from any participants on the call which was primarily comprised of Olivenhain residents including hundreds of OTC members,” stated the letter.
The OTC supported the Encinitas Residents for Responsible Development’s request that the July 23 meeting be deemed invalid and proposed another meeting conducted by a neutral party.
“Mr. Goodson distorted the truth about the project, its legal context, and its implications without any possibility for the public to offer a rebuttal or reaction,” read the Encinitas Residents for Responsible Development letter to the planning commission and city council.
Goodson purchased the 6.95-acre property in 2005 and has been working on developing the project ever since—it has gone through various iterations, including a version with retail and office space and single-family homes. His last application withdrawn in December 2019 was for 277 apartments.
Goodson said the zoning is already approved and it is a “by right” project with a non-discretionary process for a design review permit. The developer also stated that the project is outside of the Coastal Zone and is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act review.
“This is the perfect location for an apartment community and affordable housing,” Goodson said of the development’s proximity to retail, restaurants and services, MiraCosta College and public transit with the NCTD bus line. “We think it’s really going to serve the community well.”
The proposed project just above the Olivenhain Platz center that is anchored by 7-Eleven, consists of 283 apartment homes wrapped around a 472-stall parking structure. Resident-serving amenities include a clubhouse and pool deck on top of the garage, ground-level courtyards, rooftop terraces, a dog park and a resident garden and orchard.
The complex includes 42 units of affordable housing among the market-rate apartments. The apartments will be a mix of one to three bedrooms—the majority, 150 units, will be one bedroom with 16 three-bedroom units to accommodate a larger family.
Goodson said the five-story building will be stepped up the hill and architectural details will break up the massing—the parking garage will be hidden from view. According to the city’s review, there are some portions of the building that are six stories.
Goodson said the garage’s parking is 60 stalls in excess of one per bedroom, “In our experience in the market we do not expect to have one car per bedroom so we believe this is very adequately parked and exceeds the market demand.”
Before the chat feature on the call was disabled, one person wrote they were doubtful that there will be one car per bedroom or less. Another was skeptical of the developer’s commitment to affordable housing as only the “bare minimum” has been proposed.
Of the comments received that night, increased traffic was one the major concerns, particularly Rancho Santa Fe Road as it serves as an evacuation route in the event of a wildfire or other emergency.
Goodson said that he does not believe the project will have a negative impact on traffic.
“The traffic has been studied extensively by the city of Encinitas and the city has prepared several traffic studies,” Goodson said. “ This project does not make the traffic on Rancho Santa Fe Road worse and it does not make the intersection’s level of service worse. That has been verified.”
The project’s only access from Encinitas Boulevard will be on McCain Lane with a new signalized intersection. The only access on Rancho Santa Fe Road will be for emergency access.
Goodson said they plan to improve the frontage on Rancho Santa Fe Road with street parking, sidewalks and streetlights. Residents had questions about the streetlights, given Olivenhain’s “Dark Skies” policy which limits outdoor lighting, a policy shared by neighboring Rancho Santa Fe. Goodson said they have to follow the city code which includes the streetlights as well as curb, gutter and sidewalk but they are open to keeping the road more rural, such as incorporating a decomposed granite trail along the street.
He said if that is something the community wants, it could be requested at the Planning Commission level.
The developers said they will be coordinating with city staff on the next steps in the process, which may include another CPP meeting held in conjunction with city staff. For questions or to submit comments, email EncinitasBlvdApts@gmail.com.
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