Encinitas taking proposals for former fire station property


The Encinitas City Council is looking to sell or lease a small Cardiff property where a shuttered fire station sits empty.

At its Aug. 26 meeting, the council directed staff to draw up a document inviting the public to submit proposals for the land.

“It’s worth exploring and hearing from our residents,” Mayor Kristin Gaspar said.

The site, located at 1867 MacKinnon Avenue, is zoned as public-semi/public, allowing for uses like a hospital or small museum.

Although the council has yet to formally ask for proposals, two residents expressed interest in the property at the meeting.

Patti Smith is the co-founder of H20 Trash Patrol, a local nonprofit that deploys stand-up paddleboarders pick up trash from the ocean.

Smith said the nonprofit would like to buy or lease the property and convert it into an eco-center featuring educational programming. It could also showcase “green” architecture, she added.

Jenelle Zingg of Cardiff proposed the city rent the property as a co-working space for entrepreneurs.

“It would be an opportunity to keep local talent here,” Zingg said.

Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz said he’s concerned the lack of parking in the area could limit the property’s use.

Depending on the type of establishment, the city requires a certain number of accompanying parking spaces.

A council-ordered appraisal of the .17-acre site from Vanguard Realty Advisors pegged the worth at $410,000 under the current zoning. However, if rezoned for housing, the value would increase to $560,000, taking into account demolition and rezoning fees.

A rezone request, though, would have to win voter approval due to Proposition A, the slow-growth initiative that passed last year.

City staff will analyze ideas to see if they fit in the current zoning.

An old fire station on the property closed last year when Fire Station No. 2 debuted on a nearby lot.

The old fire station property was then deemed surplus, leading council to ask for an appraisal.

As part of the same agenda item, the council considered whether it would like an appraisal of a 9.5-acre site at 634 Quail Gardens Drive at a cost of $5,500.

Kranz said it’s premature to ask for an appraisal for that land.

He said it could eventually accommodate park space and possibly senior housing. But he added the council should wait to see how the housing element — a blueprint for growth — shapes up.