News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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Encinitas aims to increase engagement on Strategic Plan

Encinitas is changing its plan of attack when it comes to tackling city issues by implementing the first of a set of Strategic Plan City Council special meetings beginning Oct. 30.

The meetings will be held at 6 p.m. at the Encinitas Community Center, 1140 Oakcrest Drive.

The public is encouraged to attend the special variation of City Council meetings.

“It’s a planning session primarily for council and the public as well,” said Gus Vina, Encinitas city manager. “A big component of this is education and getting up to speed on the big issues.”

Vina presented the Strategic Plan Agenda Report to the City Council in a meeting in September, outlining the then-proposed meetings for carrying out city strategic planning.

“I’m a real believer in strategic planning; it’s like a business plan,” Vina said. “This is, at my core, a real belief — that you have to organize your vision and engage the community. “

The first of the meetings will focus on transportation, a significant topic in Encinitas with the trains that run through the city. The city recently finished construction on one underground pedestrian walkway for the rails, but four more are planned.

Representatives from agencies such as Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments will be present at the meeting. Another transportation issue high on the list is the expected widening of Interstate 5, a project Vina says “has been in the works for a while.”

After the strategic planning meetings are conducted, the city’s communities of Old Encinitas, New Encinitas, Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Olivenhain will meet to discuss the progress made in the initial citywide meetings.

The tentative strategic planning meeting schedule (check the website for updates) is:

  • Oct. 30: Transportation, Part I
  • Nov. 6: Arts and Culture
  • Dec. 4: Transportation, Part II
  • Jan. 29: Environment
  • Feb. 26: Economic Development
  • March 5: Recreation
  • April 2: Public Safety
  • May 7: Community Planning
  • June (to be announced): Organizational Efficiency and Effectiveness

The method of planning is altogether new to the city. Before, a few days in City Council meetings would be dedicated to relying on speakers who contributed their feedback about changes that needed to be made in the city.

“Relying on people coming to the microphone that would then only get three minutes to speak is just not a good way for civic engagement,” Vina said.

Civic engagement is a continuous goal for the city, even turning to technology to include more community members . More convenient online methods of allowing community members to engage and enhance city council meetings are being considered, according to Vina.

“We’re working hard to create that open architecture with the government to give people opportunity to get involved,” Vina said.

Jessica LaFontaine is a North County freelance writer

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Encinitas aims to increase engagement on Strategic Plan