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Encinitas Planning Commission denies waivers for Goodson Project

ENCINITAS — Following staff recommendation, the Encinitas Planning Commission denied density bonus waivers and a design review permit for a planned apartment complex in Olivenhain known as the Goodson Project.

The commission cited issues with the project’s lack of family-friendly affordable housing units, the height of the proposed building and lighting issues in their decision to deny the request.

The project was requesting the complex be built at six stories where the city only allows three-story buildings.

“The size and scale, by going up that high, it’s inconsistent without the General Plan,” Commissioner Susan Sherrod said during deliberations.

The commissioners were also concerned the project would violate the Fair Housing Act and the state Fair Employment and Housing Act.

“I had concerns from the very beginning regarding the size of the units that are available in the low-income rate and I really thought it precluded families from renting these units,” Commissioner Chris Ryan said.

Under the proposed plan the only units available with a low-income designation are single bedroom or studio units.

“I have a family of three kids and I don’t see how anyone could put a family of four or five people into a one-bedroom or junior one-bedroom apartment,” Ryan added.

The commissioner agreed that having only small units available at low-income rates discriminate against families who wished to rent a unit in the building. The proposed development includes 41 low-income units out of a total of 277.

The project has received widespread criticism from residents who have also been concerned with the effect the development would have on fire safety and evacuations as well as the general flow of traffic.

Public comment was closed during the last meeting about the project but numerous written comments in opposition to the development were still received before the meeting this week.

Amy McCord, an Encinitas resident, says what is of most concern to local residents is public safety.

“The grossly exaggerated scale of this project is an affront to the surrounding community of Olivenhain,” McCord wrote to the Planning Commission. “The submitted plans fly in the face of all that the State of California and the City of Encinitas claim to be attempting to achieve. To say that adding 500 cars at the heavily-trafficked intersection of Rancho Santa Fe Road and Encinitas Boulevard will not make the intersection worse is a complete abandonment of logic and reason.”

The project will still be sent to the Encinitas City Council with the recommendation from the planning commission to deny the requests of the developer.

The council will also be hearing from developers from another project this week in Leucadia that local residents have also strongly opposed citing public safety concerns. Similarly, the Planning Commission denied permits for that development.