After Encinitas’ approval of the massive 6 story apartment building on our doorstep (original background story here), Goodson submitted grading plans and grading approval is expected before the end of this year. Which means we have precious little time left to do anything at all to stop this project.
The only on-going effort that has any hope of stopping the Goodson project is a lawsuit launched by the community group Encinitas Residents for Responsible Development (ERRD) against the city of Encinitas.
Their lawsuit challenges Encinitas’ approval of the Goodson project on technical grounds concerning the incorrect use of density bonus law (that allowed the developer to bypass CEQA review which would have included review of threats to public safety), and an incorrect lot consolidation process (click here to download the complaint).
Wildfire Evacuation Concerns
The biggest concern project opponents have is the increased danger the project will impose upon surrounding residents during a Santa Ana fueled wildfire. As I previously wrote, there is a danger of being trapped during a fast moving wildfire.
In making their determination, the City relied on a flawed fire evacuation study that:
- Only considered evacuation of Olivenhain residents, not taking into account the northern RSF residents that would be flowing into the exact same evacuation route.
- Didn’t take into account the extra burden the three schools at the Manchester/RSF Rd/Encinitas Blvd intersection would impose since parents would all be arriving at the same time to pick up their kids during a fast moving wildfire evacuation in progress.¹
- Didn’t take into account horse evacuation. No barns have trailer capacity to evacuate all their horses in one go, necessitating many back and forth trips. The study assumed that horse owners would start moving horses in advance of an evacuation order based on Santa Ana wind forecasts, which is ludicrous.²
These and other points are made in this detailed letter written to Encinitas City Council by ERRD.
Given this is a City of Encinitas matter, there is little the RSF Association can do. However, we did meet with our new County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer to advocate for the development of a proper wildfire evacuation study for our general area that is cross-jurisdictional since wildfires don’t respect political boundaries.
ERRD has been raising money mostly from Olivenhain residents to pay for the lawsuit. I was shocked to hear that only five or so Rancho Santa Fe community members, of which I am one, have donated. Considering the massive amount of traffic this will impose on our access to Encinitas (they’ll have to build a new traffic light just west of the current traffic light, bottling up Encinitas Blvd even more), as well as the huge wildfire evacuation safety risk, I can’t think of why more people aren’t donating.
People say they don’t want increased densification, but that doesn’t mean much. Directly fighting back against a developer via a lawsuit is the only way this project gets stopped.
Donations to ERRD occur through a 501(c)(3) tax deductible donation to North County Advocates which pass on all money so designated to ERRD.
Click on the Donate link top right of this ERRD page to make a donation via Paypal (put ERRD in the message line).
Make out a check payable to North County Advocates, write ERRD in the memo line and mail to:
2240 Encinitas Blvd., Suite D-336
Encinitas, CA 92024
- Problems with school evacuations in a fast moving Santa Ana fueled wildfire isn’t a theoretical danger. During the 2014 wildfire that hit Carlsbad, fires were on both sides of the Pacific Ridge school where I had to drive back to twice to pick up kids. The main, normal route to the school was blocked, so I had to travel through a more back country route to get to it.
- The 2017 Lilac fire in nearby Bonsall (this side of the 15 freeway) killed at least 46 horses when dedicated trainers, owners and riders couldn’t evacuate the horses in time, even after letting a number of them free.