Community advocate, attorney appointed to Planning Commission

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(Karen Billing)

Council members say Christine Ryan will be a level-headed, data-driven and innovative board member


An attorney who’s been active in Leucadia community issues for years will become the newest member of the Planning Commission, the Encinitas City Council unanimously decided Wednesday, Aug. 11.

Picked from a pool of 10 applicants, Christine Ryan will fill the seat previously held by Amy Flicker, who resigned. Her first meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 19, the same night the commission is scheduled to consider permit requests for the controversial, 277-unit Encinitas Boulevard Apartment project proposed for the city’s Olivenhain community.

“For me, the person who rises above all the others is Chris Ryan, so I will be supporting her,” said Councilmember Tony Kranz, whose council district covers the Leucadia region that Ryan will represent on the Planning Commission.

Kranz and other council members praised Ryan’s level-headed nature, her passion for the Leucadia community and the caliber of the many emails she has written to them on various issues, including traffic safety concerns near Paul Ecke Central Elementary School.

“Her emails are always very thought-provoking,” Councilmember Kellie Shay Hinze said, mentioning that she re-read them before the Wednesday, Aug. 11, council meeting.

Hinze said she wanted to select someone for the commission who is “very open” to increasing the city’s very limited supply of apartment housing options, but also detail-oriented enough to make certain the community gets the best possible projects.

Councilmember Joe Mosca, himself an attorney, said he thought Ryan would be excellent at dissecting issues and extremely capable of handling the job’s huge time commitment.

“I think she would do extraordinarily well,” he said.

Mayor Catherine Blakespear, who’s also an attorney, agreed and said Ryan would bring a different perspective to the commission, which already has two architects and an engineer.

Councilmember Joy Lyndes said she had heard good things about fellow candidate Robert Switzler, but said she could support Ryan’s appointment.

“She clearly has come forward in the past to demonstrate her interest in the community,” she said.

A 25-year resident of Leucadia, Ryan has worked as a deputy district attorney for San Diego County since 1996. The mother of three boys, she is president of the La Costa Canyon High School Foundation Athletic Board and she’s a former president of the Paul Ecke Central Elementary School PTA.

She received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Illinois, a master’s degree in finance from Loyola University of Chicago, and a law degree from the University of Colorado.

During the Wednesday, Aug. 11, meeting, she vowed to come well-prepared to commission meetings and said she will provide “thoughtful, well-informed decisions within the legal framework.”

“I don’t have any pre-determined agenda,” she said. “I will approach every decision with an open mind.”

Initially, 11 people applied for the commission post, but one — Brittany Guarino — withdrew her application. In addition to Ryan and Switzler, the people who applied were Charidy Alcoser, Leah Bissonette, Cynthia Cremona, Dennis Crimmins, John Eldon, Dana Siegel and Dana Weekes.

Ryan will fill out the remainder of Flicker’s term, which was scheduled to end in March 2023.