Letter to the editor: Your voice needed in housing element
This month, the city of Encinitas began an effort to update its Housing Plan to ensure that we are prepared to meet our future housing needs. This plan has not been updated since the 1990s, and a lot has changed.
Our population is growing, housing prices are rising and we do not have the variety of housing choices to meet these needs. Like it or not, our city is evolving and growing. Between now and 2035, our senior population is projected to double. Many of these seniors will seek to downsize their homes.
On the other end of the demographic spectrum, our younger residents are having a hard time entering the housing market financially, and many of them are looking for something different. They are driving less and want to live in pedestrian- and bike-friendly neighborhoods close to entertainment, shops and transit.
We have to provide choices that meet their needs.
While the situation is not simple, it is very clear. We must adopt an updated Housing Plan. It is state law, period. While I don’t always agree or embrace all the laws we face, Encinitas (as a city) must comply.
If we don’t, we face severe consequences, including losing the right to decide how our local land is used. The voters adopted Prop A to have more control over how our land is used. Losing it to the state would take us many steps backward by overriding Prop A.
Also, without an adopted Housing Plan, we are losing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and regional grants that could pay for infrastructure improvements such as roads, parks, bicycle facilities, etc. The consequences of not complying are just too great.
Updating our Housing Plan does not mean that the whole city needs to change, nor should it. We will need to plan for less than 1,300 residences. The key word here is “plan.”
The marketplace will determine if they are actually built. Depending on design and distribution, it would rezone less than 2 percent of Encinitas. But we need your help.
Community participation is critical — full disclosure/full participation! We want to hear from residents, businesses and other stakeholders to decide the best locations for future housing.
The city is hosting a series of Community Dialogue Sessions in each of Encinitas’ five communities. Be a part of the process and create a Housing Plan that benefits all of Encinitas!
-Kurt Groseclose, chairman of the Encinitas Planning Commission and resident of Old Encinitas.