Encinitas group sues city over Goodson project


Grassroots group Encinitas Residents for Responsible Development has filed its third lawsuit in two years against the city of Encinitas over a controversial development project.

The most recent, filed Jan. 28 in San Diego County Superior Court, challenges a decision by the city to allow four lots to be consolidated into one on the site of a project proposed by developer R. Randy Goodson. .

The Goodson project, located at the intersection of Encinitas Boulevard and McCain Lane, included 236 market-priced units and 41 for low-income tenants. But last summer the city’s Planning Commission rejected the project, which is now pending a separate lawsuit filed by Goodson in January.

Encinitas Residents for Responsible Development argues in its complaint that lot consolidation “will adversely affect the ERRD, its supporters, and the general public who reside in and around the city.”

The group and Goodson filed their separate lawsuits following a November 2021 city council meeting, when council members rejected appeals from both over the potential development.

Goodson wanted to overturn the Planning Commission’s refusal of his project. He argued that it met all objective standards for it to move forward as a “lawful” project that could circumvent any other city oversight, based on state law.

“The way the laws have worked and progressed for years is not to reduce the potential for great development sites to develop,” Goodson said at the November board meeting. “This is the ideal place to develop apartments in Olivenhain. It is the ideal place for development.

Encinitas residents’ call for responsible development focused on issues such as fire safety and the percentage of affordable housing the project needed to have.

Based on state Department of Housing and Community Development guidelines, the city did not apply a 20% affordable housing requirement to Goodson Project units that were added via bonus density provisions. Therefore, the 41 affordable units in the project would represent approximately 14.8% of the total 277 units.

Encinitas Residents for Responsible Development President Daniel Vaughn, a resident of Olivenhain, said in an interview that the project was providing a “poor return in desperately needed affordable housing.” He said the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development needs to do more to demand the construction of affordable housing.

“Our organization wants there to be responsible development that provides for the people in our community who need it most,” Vaughn said. “We believe there needs to be additional housing available for extremely low and very low income residents.”

Encinitas Councilman Joe Mosca also expressed concern about the percentage of affordable housing.

“Here we have a state agency that errs on the side of less affordable housing, and now we’re taking their lead,” he said. “I would push back and say 20% means 20%, not 14%. I think HCD got it wrong.

Encinitas Residents for Responsible Development, which formed in late 2019, first sued the city in March 2020 over an ordinance that simplified the lot consolidation process. One of the allegations in the lawsuit was that the city failed to properly disclose how the Goodson Project would benefit from the ordinance.

The city denied the ordinance was specifically related to the Goodson project, according to court documents. City attorneys also said many points in that lawsuit were “argumentative, vague, and contained innuendo.”

The second lawsuit, filed in May 2021, alleges that there were violations of California’s Environmental Quality Act in the city’s sixth cycle housing component, which shows how the city plans to zoning for new housing from 2021 to 2029.

The two lawsuits, in addition to the third and last, are pending before the Superior Court.


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