Two Ballot Measures Could Change The Future Of Housing In North County Markets
Two ballot measures will be presented to voters Nov. 8 that will affect the future of housing in North San Diego County. Encinitas voters will decide if they agree with the city’s strategy to comply with the state’s Housing Element law, which ultimately requires cities to provide housing affordable for all income groups. Measure T asks voters to approve a plan that identifies areas where high-density and affordable housing could be developed, while seeking to limit the impact on public services and maintain the suburban character of the city.
Encinitas has been sued by developers in the past for its handling of the state Density Bonus program, which rounded down calculations rather than rounding up to limit the number of units allowed, reports Voice of San Diego. The density bonus program allows developers to build higher-density projects than zoning permits when they include a certain number of affordable units. Encinitas had argued the state didn’t dictate where cities should round up or down, but a new bill passed by the Legislature requires cities to round up, which caused the city to update its policies.
San Diego County’s Measure B, also on the Nov. 8 ballot, will decide the fate of Lilac Hills Ranch, a proposed 608-acre master planned community with 1,746 residential units (multifamily and single-family), 90k SF of retail and office space, and a country inn, as well as recreational uses, like the recreation center pictured. The parcel is about 10 miles north of Escondido in the county’s Valley Center and Bonsall Community Plan areas. Locally based developer Accretive Investments has been trying to win approval for the development for a decade.
Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar, who is a county supervisor candidate, told VOSD this project could impact planning and policy throughout the county. “We have an increasing need in housing stock for the county as the county continues to grow…Lilac Hills will come and go, and then there will be other projects behind it.
"In weighing in on Measure B, voters are not just rendering a decision on Lilac Hills Ranch, they may also be setting two major precedents about development in the county. The first is a burgeoning trend of developers going to the ballot to bypass planning processes by local governments and local regulations.” Gaspar also said, “Lilac Hills Ranch is also the first of several projects being proposed in the northeastern part of the county, where there hasn’t been a lot of development and where the county hasn’t planned for development.” [VOSD]