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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Editorial: Community is no fifth wheel

The old Encinitas adage is apparently wrong – there is life east of Interstate 5.

The community of New Encinitas is flexing its political muscles, and while it might be the fifth and arguably newest of the city’s communities, activists in the area are showing that it’s no fifth wheel.

The community encompasses an area dominated by tract housing dating back to the 1970s and a business corridor along El Camino Real that is one of the busiest in North County. Marked by shopping centers, car dealerships and big-box retailers, New Encinitas generally lacks the quirky character of Leucadia, the old soul of the original beach-side downtown or Cardiff-by-the-Sea, or the rural charm of Olivenhain. Aside from a namesake mobile-home neighborhood, an area historically known as Green Valley is barely an afterthought among New Encinitas’ frenetic pace.

But New Encinitas is a vital hub of the city, and community activists know it.

New Encinitas activists entered center stage earlier this year when the city announced its vision for housing along the El Camino Real corridor. Blogs were ablaze about a proposed General Plan update to significantly increase the density of housing along El Camino Real to help accommodate low-income residents. Whether residents agreed with the vision or not, activists felt that the proposal was overkill with little community input.

One group, Citizens for Saving New Encinitas, circulated fliers in neighborhoods and pushed online for the city to reconsider its vision for the El Camino Real corridor.

“We know city planners have obligations to the state and must submit a plan, however we didn’t like the idea of increased density in our New Encinitas area,” Citizens for Saving New Encinitas spokesman Duff Pickering said in an interview.

The re-examination of the update, which led to a recent new round of community meetings, has been credited in part to the group’s push-back.

Most importantly, in the North Coast Current’s view, the General Plan controversy has highlighted what could be a significant shift in Encinitas politics.

The blog Encinitas You Need Us noted this in a March 12 post.

“Duff Pickering and Olivier Canler … are part of the awakening passion in New Encinitas. Right now they only see the issue of El Camino Real as the Smart Growth locus in the General Plan Update draft,” the blog post states. “What is important is these men, their families and many others are mobilizing to protest their own perspective isn’t being honored or protected. They have a website, a petition and are dedicated to seeing this GPU process through.”

New Encinitas is a vital community within the greater city. As a newer community, building character and history takes time. If the recent debate over the city’s General Plan is any indication, New Encinitas’ role in the city’s future is now coming into focus. And that’s as it should be.

Editorials solely represent the opinions of North Coast Current ownership

 

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Editorial: Community is no fifth wheel