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Commission supports naming of plaques

A philanthropist’s proposal to install two monuments along the Lot 15 trail in Encinitas Ranch and name them after his family won the unanimous support of the Encinitas Parks and Recreation Commission on Feb. 22.

Steve Mizel of the Mizel Family Foundation, which has donated $640,000 to local causes since 2007, submitted the application for two rock monuments with attached plaques to honor his family. Each monument would be about two feet by four feet, and they would go at the northern and middle portion of the Lot 15 trail, east of Lynwood Drive in Encinitas Ranch.

Under city policy, naming or renaming requests for city-owned land or amenities are considered on a case-by-case basis, with six guiding criteria. Mizel’s proposal meets two of those: significant financial contributions to the city and community support, according to a staff report.

To get the final green light, the project also needs the backing of the Encinitas Planning Commission and Encinitas City Council. A date hasn’t been set for when the item will go before the commission and council.

Commissioner John Giata said he was leery of the appearance of a quid pro quo, but added he could support the item because the Mizel Family Foundation’s generous donations have been ongoing for years.

“I’ve seen firsthand the kind of good their funding does,” Giata said.

Giata also said he’s concerned a plethora of monument applications will spring up, yet that hasn’t been the case thus far.

Public speaker Sheila Cameron criticized the city staff report for seemingly lumping the plan for the two monuments with Mizel’s separate proposal to rename the Encinitas Library in honor of his wife. He has offered a $2 million donation to the city for that privilege.

“It’s an entirely separate issue,” Cameron said.

The Mizel Family Foundation would pay for all monument project costs. Steve Mizel couldn’t make the meeting because he was out of town, according to city staff.


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