Against Prop. A: Planning process will be thrown into chaos

Tony Kranz

The “Right to Vote” initiative, now known as Proposition A, will be decided in a special election on June 18, and I urge you to vote no.

Prop. A seems straightforward and simple to support: what could be wrong with letting the public ratify land-use policy changes that include upzoning? However, as legal analysis of the initiative has shown, the authors of Prop. A went beyond the “Right to Vote” and added sections to the initiative that have nothing to do with upzoning. These provisions will introduce uncertainty into the land-use planning process, in addition to undoing key provisions of previously approved Specific Plans for the Highway 101 corridor.

Proposition A – Pro / Con

Editor’s Note

In an effort to foster constructive debate on the merits of Proposition A, the Encinitas Right to Vote Initiative, the North Coast Current invited members of the public on both sides to contribute perspectives in a pro/con format. In keeping with pro/con tradition, the “pro” side of the argument is presented first, followed by the “con” side. The order of these perspectives does not indicate particular favor by the North Coast Current. This piece represents views against Prop. A. Community commentaries are solely the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the North Coast Current or other individuals or agencies involved in the debate.

In my opinion, it is this little-known “nullification” of decisions made years ago that makes Prop. A bad for our city. Whether you like or dislike the specific plans for the 101 corridor, they were adopted following an extensive public planning process. This initiative would change that without the benefit of public hearings or thorough consideration of the many impacts. And with three quarters of our city under the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission, we would be opening a can of worms by hastily changing these approved specific plans if this initiative were to pass.

The impetus for this initiative was a draft General Plan Update process that went awry by trying to comply with state law for affordable housing by making significant zoning changes to parts of our community already heavily impacted by growth in our region. Residents felt that they were left out of the process and responded with a voter initiative that was intended to ensure that the community would have a chance to ratify Planning Commission and City Council decisions that increased zoning in their neighborhoods.

And as the proponents of Prop. A point out, our current General Plan intended for us to have the right to vote on upzoning. However, there’s a “loophole” which allows for a super-majority of the City Council to find a “public benefit” to changes in zoning, bypassing a vote of the people. In fact, I support removing this “loophole” and will be voting with the rest of the City Council to do that before the special election is held. I will also support putting this question on the next general election ballot so that, if passed, it could only be changed with another vote of the people.

As a newly elected member of the City Council, I am looking forward to getting the General Plan Update back on track. I would also support looking at the 101 corridor specific plans to see if we need to make changes that would address any issues that have developed during the many years they’ve been in effect. But I would ask that you not further complicate this process by forcing the city to attempt to implement an initiative that will result in uncertainty and, most likely, lawsuits that will determine how development will take place in our community.

Please join me in voting no on Prop. A.

Encinitas City Councilman Tony Kranz has written this perspective as an individual resident. The views expressed in this perspective reflect the personal opinion of the writer and do not represent those of the City Council or other government agency.