Our First Agrihood is Coming to Encinitas!

January 29, 2021

I’m excited to share that our first “agrihood” is coming to the City of Encinitas! 

The Encinitas City Council unanimously approved a project known as Fox Point Farms, rejecting an appeal alleging inadequate environmental review.

The photo above shows a rendering of how Fox Point Farms will look.

Located on about 21 acres of Leucadia land, just west of the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course where there’s currently one house and a large greenhouse, the project will have 250 living units, with 40 of them available to those who are very-low income. Under the law, the developer was only required to build 25 low-income units – so we’re very happy to get additional affordable homes to more fully integrate our community. 

An artist’s rendition of the farm-to-table restaurant planned for Fox Point.

The project is an exciting example of connecting different sizes and price points of living spaces with the city’s historic agricultural use. In addition to homes for sale and apartments for rent, there will be a farm stand, an outdoor farm animal area, a trail through a fruit tree forest, a farm-to-table restaurant, and row crops for the restaurant to grow food and provide vegetables for CSA boxes. 

Near the end of the appeal at our City Council meeting, the project applicant, who is a longtime Encinitas resident and civically active, offered additional community and environmental enhancements as a gesture of good will.

Some of these additions included contributing $100,000 to purchase California carbon offset credits and investing in micro-transit in Encinitas, purchasing a 12-passenger van and agreeing to shuttle students to local elementary schools for at least five years, and $10,000 to a local nonprofit, Encinitas for Equality, to monitor and market the shuttle program to best serve those who live in the new community. Finally, they’ll donate $75,000 to the local water district to evaluate new water supply options and promote conservation and reuse.

The construction should start this August, with the homes ready for the first phase of occupancy in late summer 2022. If you want more information, check out Friday’s San Diego Union-Tribune article.

This development is the first one to come before the City Council from the 15 sites that the city designated for upzoning as part of the state requirement to provide the opportunity for more affordable housing in Encinitas. I sincerely hope that this project will be a model for the other 14 landowners! 

It’s a wonderful example of how a project can be embraced by a community when the applicant is willing to work sincerely, closely and deeply with nearby neighbors to design a project that raises the bar for livability and affordability in Encinitas. 

Outdoor dining is back, and COVID vaccinations are progressing

Customers at the 101 Diner in downtown Encinitas on Thursday are among those enjoying outdoor eating once again at local restaurants. 

Just this week, the governor lifted the stay-at-home order, allowing restaurants to serve customers outdoors again. We’re all happy to see infections and hospitalizations trending down. Our restaurants and other businesses need a lifeline in order to make it through the pandemic, and I’m so relieved that there’s once again light at the end of the tunnel. Adding to the good news, every day more vaccines are distributed into people’s arms, and they remain effective against the emerging new virus strains.

In another great development, a vaccine superstation similar to the one at Petco Park is likely opening at the Del Mar Fairgrounds sometime in February. Our new supervisor, Terra Lawson-Remer, has been working hard on this. We’re grateful to Scripps Hospital for working with the county and the fairgrounds to staff and manage the distribution site.   

I’ve been part of several conversations about vaccination distribution sites and fully support the Del Mar Fairgrounds location, given its close proximity to the freeway and its huge parking lot. It would be the closest superstation site for Encinitas residents. 

In general, the vaccine distribution remains a major focus at all levels; but it’s still de-centralized. Both the public and private sector are distributing vaccine. 

The City of Encinitas, which does not have a health department, relies on the county’s health department and the information they provide, although our fire chief is closely coordinating with CalFire on doing vaccinations.

The State of California has launched My Turn, where you can sign up to be notified when it’s your turn to be vaccinated and to see what local options are available. If you don’t see the availability you want, it’s recommended that you revisit the site until you do.

Applications being taken for Council seat representing Cardiff

The City Council is accepting applications to fill the District 3 seat, which includes Cardiff, after the resignation of Jody Hubbard due to health issues. The people of Encinitas wish her well!

Jody was elected about two years ago, so the successful applicant will serve the final two years of Jody’s term before the November 2022 election for that seat.

Only those who live in District 3 (see map above) may apply. City Councilmembers earn $1,719.70 per month for their service to the city. (The mayor’s salary is the same, plus an extra $100, if you’re curious). You can apply at this link and the application is due Feb. 11.

Streetscape Phase One begins!

The city’s largest infrastructure project – the railroad undercrossing at El Portal and the first phase of Leucadia Streetscape – is underway. The map above shows the location of certain improvements. More information about the project is here

50-year beach sand replenishment project getting closer

(Photo by Bill Wechter / San Diego Union-Tribune.)

A federal project that if fully funded would put sand on Encinitas and Solana Beach beaches every five or so years for 50 years is moving forward after receiving a $1.5 million federal allocation. I give our Congressman Mike Levin substantial credit for getting this project moving. Here’s the Encinitas Advocate story.

Two outstanding young Encinitans celebrated

Gracie Howard, National Youth Arts’ 2020 Junior Artist of the Year. (Photo by Bradie Kvinsland Photography.)

A big shoutout to a local youth thespian, 13-year-old Gracie Howard, for being named Junior Artist of the Year at the National Youth Arts Awards Competition. My daughter shared several grade school classes with Gracie and as a very young child she was always impressively motivated with acting, song and dance. Her accomplishments are well deserved! This Coast News story recognizes her achievements.

Marco Alvarez is surrounded by some of the sports equipment purchased by his Free Throwz effort.

I also want to recognize Marco Alvarez of San Dieguito Academy, who got the community behind ensuring that every child who wants a ball can have one during these pandemic times. I applaud this impressive young man’s efforts in identifying something so important to his youth during a pandemic and finding a way to make that happen for others. The Encinitas Advocate article is here.

Our essential connection

And finally, a brief note on these newsletters I’ve written to you for the more than six years that I’ve been serving in elected office. They have consistently arrived in your inbox, usually on Sunday mornings, and even more frequently during campaign time. 

The connection I have with you through these newsletters is profound, and it’s very important to me. Writing them helps me step back and reflect on the progress we’re making, the ideas we pursue and the compromises we make.

Thousands of readers open them and I often get fantastic, inspiring feedback. I love reading your responses and my only regret is that I’m unable to become a back-and-forth pen-pal to those of you who share deeply personal and informative responses with me.

As you can imagine, this is a tremendously active time for policymakers, with new leadership at every level and the sense that we’ve turned a corner. There are new ideas, many more meetings and an embrace of new possibilities. It’s truthfully a seriously exciting and energizing time to be a policy maker.

In order to better manage my many competing time commitments during this period, I’ve begun to write these newsletters somewhat less frequently. (I know you’reprobably busier nowadays, too!) Our ongoing conversation is one of my greatest pleasures, and I hope you’ll stay with me in my new every-couple-week schedule.

I remain truly grateful for your engagement and interest in what I have to share. 

In service,

P.S. I was sad to hear about the passing of Cloris Leachman this week at her home here in Encinitas. Many local residents have encountered her around town and were touched by her warm and unpretentious demeanor. She was 94.

The acclaimed Oscar-winning actress was equally proficient in comedic and dramatic roles. Her son reflected, “She had the best life beginning to end that you could wish for someone. She left everyone with a lot of love.”

Here’s an appreciation from media critic Gene Seymour, “Cloris Leachman’s Secret Gift.”

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