Housing task force to meet July 6

The Housing Element Update Task Force will hold its next public meeting July 6, when the group is expected to hear suggestions for the first time from its recently hired housing consultant.

The Encinitas City Council hired Dave Barquist, project manager for San Diego-based Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., on May 10 in a $54,400 contract to help Encinitas develop its state-mandated Housing Element.

Kimley-Horn is expected to participate in up to three meetings with the task force; conduct community workshops with residents to inform and gather thoughts; consult with the city and stakeholder agencies, including SANDAG and the Coastal Commission; analyze the 15 pre-selected areas and sites developed by the city to demonstrate the relationship between the city’s Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) numbers and dwelling unit capacity; attend city public hearings; and be the city’s liaison with the HCD.

At the May 10 meeting, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear advocated for Barquist.

“He has the right attitude of trying to be creative and understanding what we want as a community,” she said.

Encinitas is the only city in San Diego County without a Housing Element, a required document that spells out how a city proposes to rework its zoning to accommodate its future housing needs, particularly those of low-income people, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. The city’s original plan, which it is still working off of, was created in the 1990s.

State law currently mandates Encinitas should zone for 1,093 high-density units, according to city officials.

The city’s last effort for a Housing Element — Measure T — failed in the November election. The plan called for allowing additional housing on a series of sites along busy roadways in all five communities of Encinitas. In order to meet state targets for new housing growth, the plan proposed easing city height restrictions and allowing 20 to 30 dwelling units per acre on those sites.

The Housing Element Update Task Force — consisting of Mayor Catherine Blakespear; Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz; No on T spokesman and Planning Commissioner Bruce Ehlers; and former Planning Commissioner Kurt Groseclose — have been meeting since February to strategize how to develop a Housing Element. Hiring a consultant was one of its first set priorities. The group is also looking for a city to model a housing plan after.

Residents are invited to provide their input at the July 6 meeting from 5 to 8 p.m. at city hall, 505 S. Vulcan Ave., in the Poinsettia Room.

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