Mid-Encinitas
The needs of the “Mid-Encinitas” community are not spelled out in the Design Guidelines and are actually violated by the effort to shoehorn this area into planning for older areas to the west of I5.
Mid-Encinitas includes the tract developments North of Encinitas Blvd and between I5 and El Camino Real, especially Encinitas Ranch and the developments near Quail Gardens Drive. It includes a few areas that were sold as divided lots as well as some larger custom housing units.
The region of Cardiff East of I5 may also be included in Mid-Encinitas. The character of this area is markedly different from “Old Cardiff” with many streets named after composers.
This community is characterized by canyon and ridge topography, ocean influence and Coastal Commission requirements, with most homes built since 1975. This was the agricultural core of the “flower capital”. There are no significant shops, but many current or former small agricultural sites. Ocean or canyon views are common.
This is almost entirely a residential area with mostly detached family homes. Homes are well maintained and some of the older properties have been or are being re-divided within the existing zoning, often converting from greenhouses to home sites. Most existing homes are tract built, but there are a scattering of custom homes, some with unique design features.
Existing homes are 1 or 2-story with larger yards, as was the standard when they were built. The tract houses have curbs and sidewalks, and trees and lawns are common landscape features. Some lawns are used for recreation, many homes have swimming pools.
Zoning is almost entirely residential with some public uses along and Saxony Road and a few other uses along or near Saxony and Encinitas Blvd. The nearest markets and other retail uses are along El Camino Real and Encinitas Blvd, and small retail areas near each of the I5 ramps. Quail Gardens Drive supports the community with the San Diego Botanic Garden, the Encinitas Heritage Museum, and the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course which is the only place you can buy a beer and a sandwich in this community.
Amenities include the Community Center and Oak Crest Elementary and park, the Dieguito Academy, and many places of worship. Mid-Encinitas is a true American suburb. Walking your dog is a common social activity. Due to lack of public transit, driving a car is the primary mode of transportation.
The sample design guidelines are drawn on flat land and don’t apply well to Mid-Encinitas.
Development in this area should reflect its special character rather than the character of Downtown Encinitas and coastal Leucadia and Cardiff.
Suggested Context-Sensitive Design for Mid-Encinitas
Development in Mid-Encinitas Should:
a. Recognize that this area provides access to  the the community benefits along Quail Gardens Drive, Balour Dr., and Santa Fe Dr.;
b. Support the YMCA and nearby community facilities;
c. Maintain and maximize existing views;
d. Include architecture and landscape that is in harmony with the existing neighborhoods;
e. Create pleasant transitions between floating zones and established single family areas;
f. Not increase the traffic and parking burden on existing streets.
Does the Draft Proposed Encinitas Housing Element recognize this region?

Just west of I5 and North of Encinitas Blvd.

Plus Factors:

*  Proximity to Services

*  Restaurant across the street, also fast food and bar on the site

*  Walking distance to park, Y, beach, and transit

*  On an arterial serviced by a bus line

*  Near to freeway transit

Minus Factors:

*  Existing productive businesses will need to be preserved under mixed use or relocated

These include a restaurant, bar, gas station, and other storefront businesses

*  Noise from 24-hour gas station and other existing businesses is a concern

*  Will add to and be impacted by traffic on Encinitas Blvd and I5

Conclusion: These facts might make this site suitable for High Density Housing

This site is the commercial area west of Westlake, east of Encinitas Blvd.

Many factors are similar to factors for site OE-7.

Additional minus factors include:

*  Existing productive businesses will need to be preserved under mixed use or relocated.

Conclusion: These facts make this site suitable for High Density Mixed Use Housing or Senior Housing
Regarding site L-7 on Quail Gardens Drive north of the botanic garden. This site had been discussed for a Shea affordable senior housing project by council member Kranz in February 2015.
This site has some plus factors and minus factors.
Plus factors:
*  Site is vacant land
*  Site is owned by the city and could either be quickly developed  or sold
*  “Seniors” don’t do a lot of rush hour driving. That helps with traffic.
*  The site is an easy walk to the E3 group sites – Heritage Museum and Quail Garden itself.
*  Common room and garden spaces appropriate for seniors would be a desirable amenity.
*  The site is not that far from the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course but tenants would probably want to get there in a vehicle.
*  Unutilized spaces could be temporarily rented to students or guests, if the bylaws allow.
Minus factors that seem to outweigh the plusses:
*  There’s no public transportation on QGD, and the site is kind of far from the City’s Senior Center.
*  Traffic on QGD is an issue, both the speed and volume are risks.
*  There are no markets or shops within easy walking distance of the site.
*  Commercial senior apartment complexes these days are usually associated with a senior medical facility, it has a captive customer base and helps build profits, and the medical needs of elderly folks are addressed.
*  Not on an Arterial
*  No On-Street Parking or loading area
*  Surrounded on all 4 sides by detached homes of lower density
         Neighbors are concerned about Noise, Parking and Traffic

*  Where is the nearest Fire/Rescue?

Conclusion: This site not suitable, its best use remains as detached housing.
Hey, wait a minute, I am myself a “senior” and many of us are still quite active. I do my own yard work. I use the Y rather than our Senior Center, walk the lagoon and beach trails, sometimes drive to Phoenix or San Francisco, and don’t right now relish the thought of downsizing and being stuffed into an apartment. Who are the planned tenants?
The dirt bank north of Encinitas Blvd, west from Quail Gardens Drive to the 24-hour animal hospital, and across the street from Smart&Final. The site is already distressed because they cut off the south foot of it to route Encinitas Blvd.
That’s one of the less bad of the proposed sites. There’s a lot of sandy dirt to move out of there, maybe it belongs on the beach. That would be good for a bunch of studio and 1 or 2 bedroom condo units, if a zoning overlay could force them to be used for lower cost housing. It would of course require widening Encinitas Blvd and replacing the I5 overpass accordingly, to prevent gridlock. I lived in tighter quarters than that when I was at college.
Plus Factors:
*  Site is vacant land
*  Proximity to Services
         Within easy walking distance of market, pharmacy, restaurants, urgent care facility, and veterinary
*  Within a mile of recreation – Y and beach
         On an arterial serviced by a bus line
         Adjacent to existing R-25 apartments
Minus Factors for which easy remediation is possible:
*  No On-Street Parking or loading area
*  The site has some topographic issues, careful design and grading will be needed
*  Mixed Use might not work for some mixes of use
Conclusion: These facts make this site quite suitable for High Density Housing or Senior Housing.
There had been an approved plan for the 33 houses at the site. Approval is recorded in the Planning Commission Minutes for March 20 2008. An earlier agenda report from August 2, 2007 provides a significant amount of information about the site and its Community Participation Program.
Development plans for the site had started several years before, an earlier map showed 35 houses, as I recall. The approved plan is still in effect, as it has been since March 20, 2008.
Many of the neighbors feel that such high density housing is not appropriate for that site, but we need to think of how the City can respond to the State Requirement. The site has become a nuisance to the neighborhood and it would be better for this blighted property to be developed as an asset to the community. Regardless, its owner/developer will eventually want to make good on his investment.

Plus Factors:

  • Site is vacant land
  • Bus line barely within walking distance

Minus Factors:

  • No proximity to services
  • Not on an Arterial
  • No On-Street Parking or loading area
  • Surrounded on 3 sides by detached homes of lower density
  • Neighbors are concerned about Parking and Traffic, and other issues
  • On its South Side would leave Sunshine Gardens in a hole, burdened by Proposition A
  • The site has some topographic issues, careful design and grading will be needed
 This is a difficult site, it is crossed East/West by easements for high-tension power lines, and North/South by a branch of Cottonwood Creek, which is shown as a stream on U.S. government maps, and an underground Storm Drain that supports most of the homes in the Encinitas Ranch and part of the Golf Course. The site is in the Coastal zone, this complicates any development. A tract plan for 33 single-family homes, compatible with the existing homes to the west, was approved for this site in 2008, with an agreement to preserve two large Torrey Pine trees on the east side of the site along with the owls residing there. The entrance was to be an eastward extension of Kristen Court. However this tract  has not yet been built.
The site was collected by a developer from original plots zoned as R-3 and R-5. To the east is a tract of modest R-11 twinhomes, to the North are the R-3 homes on Mays Hollow and the Jehova’s Witnesses Church, to the west is Quail Gardens Drive, the San Diego Botanic Garden, and the homes of Kristen Court and Quail Pointe, zoned as R-5. To the South is an office/professional building and the Sunshine Gardens Nursery.
The site is a hollow, low ground, and this complicates drainage and sewer construction. At the current time the site is covered by weeds, dying trees, and the rubble from earlier uses. There is some fencing, but it has gaps and transients sometimes illegally camp there.
The Quail Meadows site is adjacent only to Quail Gardens drive and does not abut Encinitas Blvd. which is the nearest major road.
There’s a longer historic story of how the site came to be the way it is, but that is not pertinent to its future.
Conclusion: These facts make this site not suitable, its best use remains as R-3/R-5 Housing.