rules Prop. A proponents can't intervene in two housing lawsuits
Barbara Henry, March 18, 2019
citizens' group of growth-control advocates will not be permitted
to intervene in two housing-related lawsuits against the city
of Encinitas that were filed two years ago, a Superior Court
judge has ruled.
the Preserve Proposition A group to have a voice in the court
process now as an official "intervener" would unnecessarily
delay litigation that finally is headed toward resolution,
Judge Robert Dahlquist wrote Friday as he rejected the group's
recent request to participate.
members and their attorney could have made their request back
when the first lawsuit was filed, but "they elected to
sit on the sidelines and watch as the lawsuit has unfolded,"
after the merits of the lawsuit have been fully adjudicated,
(the group) wants to jump into the fray and re-litigate the
case all over again. There is no good reason for the court
to allow this to happen, and there are very compelling reasons
not to allow it to happen."
key compelling reason, the judge wrote, is that Encinitas
has been out of compliance for years with state housing law
and needs to resolve this situation immediately.
is the only city in San Diego County that lacks a valid Housing
Element, a state-mandated planning document that spells out
how a city proposes to handle its future growth, particularly
the housing needs of low-income people.
city is currently being sued by the both the Building Industry
Association of San Diego and San Diego Tenants United over
its lack of compliance with state law.
order to meet the state planning requirement, Encinitas must
agree to designate a group of properties as spots for additional
housing and increase those properties' zoning so that denser
projects, particularly lower-cost, multi-family apartment
complexes can be built. Building higher-density housing in
town has been very controversial and that's been a problem
because the city has to obtain voter approval for the proposed
of the provisions of the Prop. A growth-control measure, Encinitas
needs voter approval for any proposed increases in housing
density or building height. Voters have turned down two of
the city's proposed housing plans, including the Measure U
plan which was rejected in November.
that plan failed to win voter approval, the judge overseeing
the two court cases ordered the city to submit a housing plan
to the state within 120 days and said Encinitas would be allowed
to temporarily exempt itself from the voter requirements of
Prop. A to get its planning project done.
was this court directive that led the Prop. A group to file
its intervener request, Everett DeLano, the group's attorney,
said Monday. Prior to that point, Prop. A supporters believed
the city was following Prop. A's voter approval requirements.
until that moment, they were doing their duty," he said,
calling the new directive a "sea change."
added that he found Dahlquist's decision to reject Preserve
Proposition A's new intervener request "interesting"
reading, saying the judge essentially told his group that
it shouldn't intervene now, but could file its own lawsuit
later if the city's housing plan isn't acceptable.
the judge is saying you have your rights .... bring a case
against the city," he said, adding that group members
haven't yet decided what steps they'll take next.
latest housing plan proposal that's working its way through
the review process is a modified version of the Measure U
plan that voters rejected in November. The new plan contains
slightly higher building height limits and some changes to
the way building density is calculated. The City Council gave
its initial stamp of approval to this plan earlier this month,
and it is scheduled to be sent to the state for its review
before an April 11, court-ordered deadline.