The residents of Encinitas have come out in droves to protest a proposed low-income housing project that would be built on an 8-acre tract of city-owned land located on Quail Gardens Drive. Encinitas homeowners, who are normally a very quiet, reserved bunch, responded quickly and vehemently, coming out against the proposed project. Their quick and passionate response exemplifies the intense feelings of most local homeowners.
Studies done by the National Association of Realtors say that low-income housing in a neighborhood does not lower home prices, However, many homeowners believe this study is erroneous and was not performed in the most professional and unbiased manner.
Angry neighbors in the city of Encinitas have started circulating multiple petitions in the hopes that these petition drives can put a halt to the project while it's still in its infancy. Councilman Tony Kranz is the force behind the low-income housing project and has even met with developers to discuss the proposal. Many Encinitas residents say they are angry and feel betrayed by Kranz. During his run for election in 2014, Kranz said that he would support preserving all of Encinitas remaining agricultural acreage.
One neighbor angrily commented saying, “This is totally unacceptable! Kranz promised to help preserve the natural beauty and integrity of our city. Now he's siding with big-money developers! We've been betrayed.”
The property in question is located on Quail Gardens Drive, which is considered one of the most lovely streets in the whole city. It is home to a history museum and botanical garden. It gives the beautiful city of Encinitas its picturesque vistas and stunning panoramas.
In order to move forward with the project, it will be necessary to rezone the area to R-30, which would open the door for all types of high-density apartment buildings. City leaders, of course, said they would never allow this to happen. Kranz defended his position by saying, “I'm advocating a fairly simple project (that would house) senior citizens.”
For now, the project is only mentioned in a few draft versions of the city's planning maps and Kranz admits that there is still a long way to go to ever get the final approvals. The city council would have to approve the zoning change first of all, and many of the council members own property in Encinitas and would not be willing to endanger property values. Even if the zoning changes pass, the public would be able to vote the proposition down in a city-wide election.
One official, who was not in favor of the project, pointed out that Quail Gardens Drive does not offer bus service, so it would make no sense to build low-income housing there. Low income families often need public transportation in order to get around. Kranz added, “I just thought it would be a great place for seniors to live (because) it's in a fairly quiet neighborhood.”
For now, the project is on hold because of the controversy and not expected to move forward anytime soon.