Encinitas council denies Seabluffe residents’ appeal, approves Alila Marea sister project

A look at the proposed Marea Village.
(SDA Architects)

Plans call for 94 apartments, restaurants, shops and a 34-room hotel building that will be connected via bridge to beach resort


Plans to build a mix of apartments, shops and hotel rooms just south of the luxury Alila Marea Beach Resort are exceptional and the development will provide a huge community benefit, Encinitas City Council members said Wednesday, Aug. 10, as they denied an appeal filed by an opponents’ group.

“I’m not finding any grounds for this appeal at all,” Councilman Joe Mosca said at the evening council meeting, calling the proposed development a “thoughtful project that’s really going to fit into the community.”

Councilwoman Joy Lyndes said it would be a “positive contribution to the quality of life in our community,” while Councilman Tony Kranz noted that two-thirds of the dozen public speakers Wednesday, Aug. 10, strongly supported the development plans, as did many people who sent e-mails to the city in the days before the hearing.

“I can’t think of any other project that’s had this outpouring of support,” he said.

Mayor Catherine Blakespear said project developer Larry Jackel provided a great description of the plans.

“As Mr. Jackel said, it’s the right project for the right area,” she said.

Jackel has proposed building 94 apartments, including 19 that will be set aside for low-income people, plus a two-story underground parking garage, some retail shops and restaurants, and a 34-unit hotel that will be connected via bridge to the Alila Marea Resort. The structures will go on a 3.79-acre, mostly vacant parcel along North Coast Highway 101, just south of the beach resort and bordered to the west and south by the gated Seabluffe community of townhomes.

Residents of Seabluffe have been divided over the development plans, and that was evident at the meeting on Aug. 10. A series of residents who support the proposal spoke during the public comment period, while the council considered an appeal filed by Friends of Seabluffe, an opponents’ group. The group was appealing the city Planning Commission’s decision in June to certify the project’s Environmental Impact Report and approve various city permits, including a coastal development permit.

A rendering of Marea Village.
(SDA Architects)

The opponents’ attorney, Isabela Rodriguez, told the council that portions of the project don’t comply with city development standards and the city should require the developer to do more to reduce its likely traffic impacts to local roadways.

“We are asking that you please take (Seabluffe residents’) health, their safety … into consideration when denying this appeal,” she said.

Opponents also asked for the city to require monitoring equipment and observers to track whether construction activity makes the sandy coastal bluffs unstable.

Marco Gonzalez, the developer’s attorney, told the council that there was no need for this, saying their experts have found that the railroad trains passing nearby have far more of an impact.

For their part, council members focused on an issue that wasn’t part of the appeal. They repeatedly asked city staff and consultants whether all of the interested tribal groups had been given proper notification of the development plans.

Their questions came after a representative for the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians said that his group had been left out of the process until fairly recently and asked the council to either deny the project or delay the vote.

A city consultant said that the city has worked with another tribal group throughout the process, but this one wasn’t initially included in the notification paperwork because the city wasn’t aware it had an interest in what occurred at the site. The city has since invited San Pasqual representatives to tour the site and provide comments, the consultant said.

Council members said they were glad the tribe had called attention to the issue.

“We will do better (next time),” Kranz promised.